Give a child a pile of toys and a pile of mud and it’s not hard to guess which one they’ll go for first. And why not? It’s a kid’s rite of passage to enjoy getting covered in all things messy and fun and winter is the perfect time to let them get their hands dirty.
There’s no better time to get into a muddy mess than winter, so here are some good reasons from Early Childhood Australia to just let them go and worry about the washing later…
Teaches kids to engage with nature
Mud provides a wonderful opportunity for children to discover and experiment. From drawing with it to moulding it into shapes, creative play is endless with all of the different things it can ‘make’.
Supports physical development
Manipulating mud helps to develop fine motor skills for little hands, and the ever-popular mud slip and slide move is a great one for developing large motor skills. Imaginative play is inspired by mud inventions and social skills are built as children cooperate and play together.
Creates happy smiles
The smile on the face of a muddy child speaks for itself, but a study from the University of Bristol found that bacteria in soil can activate a group of neurons that produce the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin.
It’s not new news that research tells us how good it is for a child’s immune system to play outside and get dirty from a young age. Exposing kids to mud, living creatures and germs as they explore the natural environment around them strengthens the immune system and this can lead to less allergies and a body that can fight off bugs as they grow.
So, let them create happy mud memories, smiling and free playing in their natural environment and tell them about the hidden developmental benefits later.
Mud pies anyone?