As a child, I was drawn to MUD. Some of my fondest childhood memories saw me covered in the stuff, head to toe. And while parents may view it as a messy nuisance, kids typically relish being in mud. And it turns out, kids are right: Mud is not only one of the most equitable play materials out there — easily accessible to children around the world — but also, as it turns out, is good for kids’ health and learning.
In honor of mud’s positive attributes, International Mud day was established in 2011 by World Forum Foundation to encourage global community through nature. Celebrated on July 15th by the Jumpstart Preprimary School, it was a call to all the kids to get muddy and celebrate nature and the great outdoors. There were 16 Mud-activities conducted by them. Some to make them understand what mud can be used as, some to explain the underground vegetables, pottery and some were just to get messy. The last bit was thoroughly enjoyed by the kids. With more and more schools encouraging kids to play and participate in Mud, why do parents still hesitate to get their kids dirty?
Did you know that playing in the mud is beneficial to children?
1. Messy or happy!
Scientists have discovered something that children have always known – playing in the mud can lift your mood. Recent studies have revealed that dirt contains microscopic bacteria called Mycobacterium which helps to relax, soothe and calm.
2. Your connection with nature.
If you never know something, it’s hard to care about it. Many kids these days never know the outdoors beyond the school playground or a world beyond their fancy tabs/ mobiles or televisions. Getting kids outside to play creates happy memories with the one most primal element in our world: nature.
3. My baby Strongest:
Step away from the antibacterial hand wipes. Research has shown that playing in the dirt – including very wet dirt – is good for a child’s immune system.
4. Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the smartest of them all:
Throw away the flash cards and sent your child outside to play instead. Studies have found that playing in the dirt can make you smarter. The same release of serotonin that occurs when playing in Mud. Now, that is one way to improve your cognitive function.
5. Learning and development:
Sensory, hands-on play feeds children’s brains. Listing all the ways playing with mud – a delightfully sensory experience – can help children to learn and develop. Look up for ways you can make your child lean more while getting him/her dirty.
6. A happy child:
Having an area outdoors set aside for mud play provides a space for children to draw back to for some time alone in a soothing sensory understanding or to play with parents co-operating, communicating, negotiating and sharing.
7. The artist in making:
Mud can be molded and decorated and it responds differently than sand, clay or play dough. Encourage your child to make more and challenge his creativity.
- My Mud, Your Mud: Mud is an open ended material that meets the different needs and interests of different children. A younger child might be right into the sensory experience while older preschoolers are busy making their own mud bricks. With mud, there is something for everyone.
- The Think-Tank: Playing with open-ended materials like mud stimulate creativity and imagination – things that are hard to jump start later in life.
10. Childhood memories.
Think back to your own childhood. Do you have happy memories of playing outside in the mud and the dirt? After all, making mud pies is one of the iconic images of childhood. We are creating the experiences, the memories and the childhoods of today’s children.
What do we want them to remember?