Mud glorious mud.
You might view mud as an unwelcome hazard associated with playing outdoors on a rainy Autumnal day, but it can be a really awesome way of cooling down in the Summer.
Just add a splash of water to some dry baron ground to make this simple yet effective play substance.
Reasons To Get Muddy
1. Sensory Play Mud is a very tactile substance and provides a multi-sensory play experience. Sensory play is essential for the development of toddler and pre-schooler brains. Exposure to different substances gives their little brains plenty of practice in translating the sensations felt through the finger tips to make sense of what is in front of them. Stimulating multiple senses at the same time (touch, sight, sound and smell are all involved when playing with mud) requires the brain to become adept at taking multiple signals and decode them. This is all great preparation for the learning that takes place in school, where children must become skilled at listening to the teacher and watching what the teacher is doing, while screening out other stimuli.
2. Hand Eye Co-ordination Walking is easy right? Walking on snow is a little bit trickier and requires greater concentration and physical effort. Now apply that logic to playing with small hand held toys. Dolls, cars and action figures are great for developing hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Now coat them in a layer of slippery slimy mud, and you will see your children testing those skills in new, challenging circumstances.
3. Relaxation Because muddy play stimulates multiple sense at the same time and facilitates creative, flexible play, it has a calming affect.
Ways To Play
- Cooling mud: Mix ice cubes with dusty dry mud to create a seriously cool slipper substance to roll about in. - Mud bricks: Fill an ice cube tray with mud and leave it in the Sun to bake into hard mud bricks. This works best in silicone trays as they are easier to release the bricks from. You can also use a muffin tray as the sloped edges eases the hard mud out. - Mud sculptures: Hunt around the garden for sticks, stones, twigs, petals and leaves to add to a lump of mud and create a rustic nature-inspired sculpture. - Mud castles: Who says castle-shaped buckets are only for the beach? - Mud kitchen: Donate old cooking utensils and bowls to the garden so your children can make mud pies in their own garden kitchen. - Mud painting: Use decorators paint brushes to redecorate the fence, climbing frame and garden furniture with muddy paint. It should keep your children busy for hours and will wash away with the rain. - Mud cupcakes: Fill silicone cupcake cases with mud, then use leaves, petals and tiny stones from the garden to decorate the cupcakes with pretty patterns. - Construction site: Add trucks, tractors and cars to a patch of mud to create a muddy town or construction site. - Footprints investigation: In slightly wet mud, take some of your children's favourite toys and use them to make footprints. Then challenge your kids to work out who stepped where.
For more outdoor play ideas, check out the rest of the Wicken Toys blog.