As parents, we see mud and only see a mess. But to children, mud is an abundant and attractive medium for creation, exploration and adventure. Mud is fun! Playing with mud engages all the senses, encourages creativity, and creates long-lasting childhood memories. Now more than ever families need ways to keep kids safe at home and entertained in our own backyards. What’s better to a child than giving them permission to get muddy! Today, we have Brandi Markham, Maryland teacher and mom of 3 here to share with you 7 ways to have fun with mud!
The magic of mud
Mixing soil, water, and other natural materials like pebbles, leaves, or grass provide children endless possibilities for learning and fun. Many of us parents have fond childhood 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. Mud play has also been associated with a range of benefits including increased happiness, improved well-being, stronger immunity and a connection with nature.
But kids don’t need to understand why this type of play is important to their development. What’s important is that we, as parents, provide opportunities for them to do it – and give them permission to get dirty! Mud play was a huge hit with my kids and even earned me the title “Best Mom in the World” from my son. So, just in time for International Mud Day next month on June 29th, read on to find out some fun and simple ways to enjoy mud play.
1. Mud pies
If your childhood was anything like mine, you already know all about the most classic way to have fun with mud – mud pies. Making mud pies is perhaps the most simple and creative way to play with mud. In order to make mud pies, all that is needed is mud and some old cups, pans, bowls or containers. Simply send those kids outside to the mud and let them loose! Watch your child’s creativity shine. My kids have used sticks, flowers, leaves, and anything else they find in the yard to decorate their mud pies. The options are endless.
2. Mud soup
Another simple way to have fun with mud is to make mud soup. For our mud soup, we pulled out the witch’s cauldron from Halloween and some spoons for mixing. If you don’t have a witches cauldron, don’t worry, buckets work just as well and sticks are great for mixing. First, my kids started with mud, but they added all kinds of special ingredients to make their mud soup especially tasty. They added leaves, sticks, dirt, water, flowers, seeds, and anything else they could find.
3. Mud sculptures
Mud sculptures were a new idea for our family. This was one of my favorite mud activities because it involved art, as well as science. My daughter quickly learned that she had to have a certain ratio of mud and water in order for her sculpture to stand. So building mud sculptures was as much a science experiment as it was creative play. Make sure to add sticks, leaves, flowers and more to those sculptures.
4. Mud painting
Another fun art project to do with mud is mud painting. This can be done in several ways. We simply took white paper outside and used our fingers to paint with mud. Handprints were a big hit, of course. The kids also painted pictures of houses and animals. This would but a fun activity to do on a light-colored sidewalk or wall outside if possible. Paintbrushes or sponges could also be used to paint, rather than hands and fingers in preferred. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
5. Muddy car wash
Creating a muddy car wash was a big hit for all of my kids. They enjoyed driving their cars around the backyard to cover them with dirt and mud so they could visit the car wash. In order to create the car wash, we added some dish soap to a bucket of water. Then the kids used one of their doll brushes to scrub their cars clean. We even had to refresh the water a few times because they had so much fun with this simple activity.
6. Mud bath/spa
Another way to have fun with mud is to create a mud bath or spa. This activity is probably best saved for a warm day. You can create a mud bath/spa at home in the backyard or even at the beach in sand. For their mud spa, my girls dug a big hole in the sand and filled it with water. Next, they took turns covering each other with mud. This was great at the beach, since they could run to the water to clean off afterwards, but it could be done just as easily at home with a water hose or sprinkler. This is sure to be a big hit for the kids!
7. Mud sliding/pit
Finally, one of the best, but messiest ways to have fun with mud is to create a mud pit or mudslide! If you’re playing in a big patch of mud for any of these activities, then this is probably inevitable anyway. The kids will enjoy running and sliding, digging and jumping in the mud. Don’t be afraid to let them go! Just be sure to have towels available before they head inside to clean up.
What are you waiting for? Now it’s time to head outside, let the kids go and live it up…we have nowhere else to be right now. I promise the smiles will be worth it.
What is your child’s favorite way to have fun with mud?
About the author
Hello, I’m Brandi! My husband & I live just outside of Washington, DC with our three littles. They are my favorite people in the world & my biggest inspiration. I am a full-time elementary teacher & a part-time photographer, but mostly I enjoy photography as a hobby. I love chocolate, animals, & nature! Summer is my favorite because we get to spend all of our time outdoors!
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