What child doesn’t love to play in mud! I have fond childhood memories of making mud pies, decorating mud cakes with flowers from the garden with my brother. Such a simple activity of dirt and water can provide hours of unstructured play. I know its messy and leads to extra washing, but there are so many benefits:
- Stimulates the immune system to release serotonin, making us feel HAPPY
- Increase physical movement
- Opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills
- Creative opportunities
- Assists sensory processing
- STEM experience – experimenting with texture, and consistency as children mix water, dirt or even sand
- Connection with your environment
- It’s fun
When it comes to mud play, it’s pretty obvious I’m an advocate. So, here are 10 simple and engaging invitations to play that you can set up for your child or at your preschool.
- Mud Kitchen – Simply put out a collection of pots, pans, muffin trays with some dirt and water and let the kids go wild
- Mud Pit – Fill a big bucket or inflatable pool with water and dirt and let the kids jump, splash and slide
- Painting – Fill paint pot with mud, and start painting! Maybe paint an old box
- Make Mud Playdoh – Here is our recipe
- Excavation – Fill a bucket with dirt and hide ‘treasures or dinosaurs and let children dig them out
- Mud Ice Cream – Get those stale ice-cream cones out of the pantry, and mud and play
- Rally Car Race – Gather some cars, trucks and make a mud race course
- Construction Site – Gather Rocks, mud and construction vehicles and its, time to start building the roads
- Mud Monsters or Clay Faces – Mold your mud and decorate with foraged nature items from the garden and stick to your favorite tree.
- Mud Drawing – Spread some mud on a surface and practice writing Letters or Draw a picture with your finger
The opportunities for ooey gooey mud play are endless.
Have you played in the mud with your children? I’d love to hear what you did in the comments below!