Happy International Mud Day!
Celebrate with children and early childhood professionals all over the world in celebrating nature and the outdoors with some good, old-fashioned muddy fun!
What you will need:
- Aprons, smocks, or old clothes
- Small garden tools, such as shovels, trowels, rakes, and small buckets
- Small patch of land that can be dug and played in; choose a shady spot on sunny days!
- Warm day
- Water source
What the children will learn:
- To be confident enough to try new activities, initiate ideas, and speak in a familiar group
- To select and use resources independently
- To observe, find out about, and identify features in the place they live and the natural world
- To find out about their environment and talk about those features they like and dislike
- To respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch, and feel
What to do:
- Put the tools and water containers in baskets near the muddy area, so the children can reach them easily.
- Encourage the children to explore the muddy area with their hands and with their feet, too, if they are not wearing boots.
- Make sure that children have easy and free access to the tools and containers so they can use them when they are ready.
- The children will need very little support and will soon be digging holes and channels, making mud pies, and filling up buckets.
- Make sure the children receive positive messages from adults about this experience. It is very easy to convey by your expression, body language, or words that you disapprove of the activity or don't like the mess!
- Provide buckets or bowls of water or access to a hose or the tap, for children to wash themselves and their tools at the end of their play.
- Always check any area the children are going to use. Make sure there are no hazards, such as sharp stones or other debris. Barefoot experiences should always be carried out in new, sterilized soil bought from a garden center or other supplier; otherwise children should wear old shoes or boots.
- This is a messy activity, so make sure the children are wearing old clothes or are well covered up.
- In dry weather, you may need to soften the ground with water ahead of time.
More ideas for muddy fun:
- Tip a bucket of soil on a large sheet of plastic and examine it together. Encourage the children to look closely at the soil and feel it with their fingers. Look for tiny insects and other objects.
- If you are fortunate enough to have a gentle slope in the outdoor area, make part of it into a mud slide. It will provide hours of amusement and children will be learning firsthand about friction and gravity. After a good rain, when the ground is soft, dig out any grass and smooth over the mud to get it ready for sliding!