Mud, mud, glorious mud!
Our little ones at Playgroup and Preschool have access to our fantastic garden areas throughout the year, so we love encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors no matter what the season is. They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so bringing boots and coats to your childcare setting is essential in helping kids feel comfortable playing outdoors. Once outdoors there is so much to do, even at this time of year: running, splashing in puddles, playing on our slides, and using our super popular mud kitchen.
Mud kitchens are really easy to set up at home too, and have so many benefits for children. We often worry so much about keeping our homes clean and germ free, but research suggests this may be linked to increased levels of asthma and childhood allergies. Playing outdoors and getting hands on with a range of dirt and germs can help build up little immune systems, as well as having neurological benefits as children stimulate their senses and develop their fine and gross motor skills.
You can either buy ready made mud kitchens, or have fun creating your own. Any old small table or desk will do (make sure not to tall in case it topples over) and you just need some old bowls, pots, pans and utensils- easily picked up from a local charity shop if you can’t re-purpose some from the back of your own cupboards! And of course the magic ingredients from nature- mud, water, leaves, stones and whatever else children find interesting to add to their potions and concoctions. You can even find recipes for muddy cakes and cocktails online, so you can create a whole muddy menu together. Be prepared to be served a mud cake burger with a side of twiggy fries! Let their imagination run wild and allow them to express themselves through messy play without directives or strict rules. If you’re worried about clothing, buying some all-in-one anoraks can be a real help or just having some a bag of old clothes especially for muddy play.
And once the mud fun is all over, you just need to hose your kitchen down or throw a bucket of water over it to get it clean again. If only getting the children clean was quite so easy!