The kids were playing on our neighbor’s playground. Daddy was busy grilling dinner. I planned to put the water table and toys away for the season.
Apparently, I was the only one who was thinking mudpie making season was over. As soon as I dumped the rainwater out of the water table, the troops went to work in the muddy puddle. Dumping pouring, splatting. And then there is Penny – crawling through the mud, rolling in the mud.
Recently I have come across several articles encouraging kids, but even girls specifically, to be outside more, to play in the dirt, to get dirty. I’m a fan of outside play. Everyone is happy when we are outside. And my house is happy that it is not being terrorized by small children. Not to mention I want my kids outside exploring, playing, being in the sunshine – or in the rain.
Apparently, much like exercise or sunshine, dirt makes your brain happy. I like happy brains.
I’m a little more apprehensive of this study which wants to link the prevalence of autoimmune illnesses to a culture of hygiene. I want to believe that if I sit my kid in the dirt 3 times a week, their odds of contracting Lupus or a myriad of other unfortunate autoimmune diseases in the extended family medical history will go way down, but I’m not sure its that simple. But I have embraced that some bacteria and microbes build disease resistance.
I definitely see the benefits of exploratory, sensory play in my own kids. Taking risks, discovering how things work, digging into wet sloppy mud puddles with bare hands. All kids, regardless of gender, need those experiences.
And the mess? Yes. Its messy. Especially when its a favorite red dress covered in mud. OxiClean is a magical thing. A big scoop of that and an overnight soak usually takes all signs of mudpie making away.
Give it a try. See if it makes your brain happy. I didn’t even have to roll in the mud to feel the joy of the kids playing in the mud.