Many of us have fond memories of creating mud pies, digging for worms, or making streams and valleys in the mud. But it’s not just about fun. Children benefit from messy, muddy play.
5 Benefits of mud play…
✔ Exposure to dirt and germs strengthens a child’s immune system to prevent allergies.
✔ Increases the levels of serotonin in their brains that helps soothe, calm, and helps to relax.
✔ Encourages their creativity while enhancing their fine motor skills.
✔ Allows them to practice social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, communication.
✔ Inclusive of all children and it allows them to play at their own developmental level.
How Treetops nursery encourage mud play in their setting
We encourage our children to touch and squelch the mud through their fingers, as this helps develop their sensory skills. However, we do find that some children are more comfortable getting messy than others - that’s why our practitioners join in with the children to show them it's ok to get dirty. We often fill a play tray with mud and let the children decide what the theme might be (their favourite is the dinosaur swamp and the unicorn castle). We play games like scavenger hunt where we ask the children to each find an item from the garden to help build our mud masterpiece.
Getting Muddy Ideas...
✔ Baking soda
✔ Powered paint in bright colours
Mix everything apart from the vinegar together. Then it’s time to make the MAGIC happen! Add a cup of vinegar and let them watch their creation erupt into beautiful rainbows of colour!
✔ Powder paint
✔ Dishwashing liquid (optional)
✔ Paint brushes
✔ A mixing tool
Simply mix up the mud, powder paint and add a little drop of dishwashing liquid. Check to see if they have scooped up any worms, and if so, return them safely. Now it’s time for them to paint their masterpiece!
Mud kitchens offer a good opportunity to adapt the forest school philosophy, giving children a sensory experience and the chance to play outdoors with natural resources. Mud kitchens offer so much more than just the chance to explore mud and get messy. Playing outdoors in this way, helps to increase confidence and gives the chance for creativity, role play, collaboration and communication.