Little "X" in particular, loved the mud pit. He wallowed in it for ages!
We used some boards of wood as painting canvas's and used twigs and our fingers to paint with. Mud is an amazing medium to use in art activities outside. It really encourages your artistic and creative side to come out! It can be molded in a way that sand can not and in the case of this mud, which is very high in clay, it can dry hard to make lovely natural sculptures!
The little ones were not afraid to get messy. They could not wait to get in and feel the mud under their feet. We laughed a lot each time a well got sucked down and a foot was pulled out of the pit minus the welly boot!
It is so important for children to be able to experience this sort of play. Not only does it connect them with Nature in a very physical way but it also seems to calm children. I am not sure if it is the act of mud play in itself but I have read that scientist have found micro bacteria in mud that boosts serotonin and gives a general "Fell good" good mood to the person exposed to it.
Mud is a sensory experience like no other.... people pay good money for someone to cover them in mud at a spa! Sensory play for children is a way of learning that can not be underestimated. Children learn and experience the world with their whole bodies. The more "in it" they can be the better! They not only learn about the item they are exploring through listening to you telling them about it, but they are feeling it for themselves, smelling it and even tasting it in some cases! This makes stronger neural connections that strengthen the learning potential and outcomes for our little ones. Many children are kinesthetic learners and this hands on approach is so important for them.
The opportunity for language development is endless. In this session we talked about the feel and smell of the mud. We used descriptive language such as "sticky, slippy, thick" mud!
Little "X" told me he was a hippo because he was bigger than a piggy!
I love this quote! The connections that he made to mud, animals that like mud and his size in relation to those animals was wonderful!
Mud is also such a universal experience for all ages. It is so inclusive! It doesn't matter how old you are or how mobile you are. It doesn't mater if you have delayed speech or understanding. It is enjoyable for all. Each child will bring their own ideas to this area of play. Making things from it, painting with it, or just enjoying the feel of it!
You know what..... we all come washable! Yes it is messy but it is what childhood memories are made of! And that is the biggest part of my job as a parent and childminder. Giving these little ones the childhood they deserve and the memories that will make them the adults and parents that they might become themselves.