By Jada Avery
Handprints, sculptures, target practice, roads, and even kitchens; it is incredible just how many things one can create using mud. After reading one of NAEYC’s Teaching Young Children magazines, I became obsessed with the idea of mud play. I even learned that there is a National Mud Day on June 29th!
I have seen children go outside and head straight for the patch of dirt after a rainy day. It is incredible how something so seemingly simple can keep their attention for so long. I believe that mud play should be a part of all childcare programs. It allows children to be messy while developing important skills such as problem solving, self-control, and hand-eye coordination. A surprisingly large number of different activities can be set up using mud.
- Children can use the dirt to create paintings or sculptures while using their hands and the mud. They can also throw balls of mud at a hanging sheet or create roads in the mud for toy cars to move through.
- Mud kitchens are also a simple way to allow children to experiment and create their own recipes for things like mud soup. All you need is some containers and kitchen tools to help the children get creative.
Mud play reaches so many different interests, whether a child is more inclined to make art or throw balls around outside. It is also important to realize that children of all ages can benefit from mud play. If children are hesitant to play in the mud, they can always start with a small activity like using the mud to put their handprints on paper. As adults, we should aim to encourage mud play for children, not fear it. We should all take the time on National Mud Day to not necessarily play in the mud but find the value in it and encourage children to play. We all can learn something from mud play, so on June 29th especially, don’t be afraid to get messy!
Bundy, B., & Levin, D. E. (2018, April). Preschool Play Plans: Mud-Luscious Play. Teaching Young Children, 11(4).
Mud! Make the most of it! (Better Kid Care). (n.d.). Retrieved from Mud! Make the most of it!,
Marvelous Mud! (n.d.). Retrieved from Benefits of Mud Play