Children are instinctively drawn to mud. As a parent there’s been many occasions where I’ve asked, even bribed, my children to stay away from the mud and puddles. But I’m also all too aware of the benefits associated with messy play and with International Mud Day approaching we thought it would be a good time to talk about mud. Mud is just wet or damp dirt - so it’s free and readily available for year-round fun.
Why is Mud Play Beneficial?
Mud play provides opportunities for children to be physically active and it encourages them to play outside in the fresh air and sunlight.
Digging, squishing and playing aid in the development and use of fine and gross motor skills and sensory awareness.
Mud play keeps little brains active as it provides endless opportunities for creativity, imagination and problem solving.
Research indicates that mud play can decrease depression and anxiety.
Everyone has a fond childhood memory involving mud!
What Is Mud Play?
The best thing about mud play is that children need limited resources and few structured activities to enjoy.
You’ll find inspiration for activities like mud art and mud car tracks, but most children will be happy pushing mud around, digging for worms and making mud pies.
Mud play is not just for toddlers. Older children should be encouraged to join in with experiments about soil types, pH, compost, sediment and absorbency.
Children with sensory issues may find mud play overwhelming. It can help to provide them with a large bowl or shallow tray to explore.
How To Cope With The Mess?
Allow enough time to dig, squish, jump and slide. If you are short on time or space, keep the mud a little more controlled. Again, a large bowl or shallow tray could be used.