Mud play sounds like it could be a nightmare for parents- children getting messy and covered in mud- but it is actually a really beneficial activity.
Mud play can be really good for children and can help them in their development, and it’s not too difficult to set up. But what is the best soil for mud play?
What is mud play and how is it beneficial to your children? We have put together this helpful guide to answer those questions, so keep reading to find out more.
What Is Mud Play?
Mud play is exactly what it sounds like – playing with mud! Children enjoy playing with water, and playing with sand in a sandbox or at the beach.
Mud play is the same but with mud instead of water or sand. They can dig in the mud, squash it between their hands and push it into piles. They can even jump in the mud, throw mud or even slide around in it.
All of this sounds very messy, but there are some easy ways to manage the mess so it is not too difficult for you to clean up.
First of all, make sure that your children are wearing old, scruffy clothes and shoes that are easy to clean – like wellington boots. Make sure they know not to come back inside the house in their muddy clothes and shoes.
Have a bag ready by the back door so as soon as they are finished playing they can take off their muddy clothes and put them straight in the bag so no dirt gets dragged through the house. As soon as mud play is over it is bath time so get them straight into the tub.
What Are The Benefits Of Mud Play?
There are plenty of benefits of mud play. It is first and foremost a type of sensory play- your child will get to feel a different texture and learn about mud and soil and how it reacts to water and pressure.
They will notice howthe soil and mud feels against their skin, what it looks like, what it smells like (hopefully not what it tastes like unless they try to eat it- make sure mud play is supervised!).
Sensory play is excellent for the development of important cognitive skills. Having new experiences that involve the different senses also helps to build children’s confidence and self-esteem.
If mud play involves other children then your child will also be learning important social skills.
Watching how their peers react to new experiences and sensory play like mud play teaches your child that everyone is different and helps them to be more open minded and tolerant of others. It also helps to build bonds of friendship and improve communication skills.
Playing with mud encourages your child to use their imagination, and gets them outside in the fresh air. Taking part in a simple but hands on experience like mud play is a much needed break from television screens and high tech toys- getting back to basics is important.
The other benefit to mud play is that it is a perfect opportunity for your child to just be a child! Playing with mud and getting dirty is an important part of childhood and something that they probably won’t do as they get older.
They should be able to enjoy these moments of being carefree and acting their age.
One of the other benefits of mud play is that it gives children a chance to be messy whilst making it clear that messy activities are not to be done indoors – they can get as messy as they like as long as they are outside and they don’t bring the mess inside.
This reinforces that the house is a clean and tidy place and should be kept that way.
Best Soil For Mud Play
There are different types of soil and different types of mud play. But what is the best soil for mud play? The easiest soil to use is whatever soil is in your backyard. If you have a large yard then you can choose a space to dedicate to messy play.
Loosen the soil and check the top layer for any sharp rocks or pieces of glass. If the soil is too dry you can moisten it with your hose or sprinkler. Provide some plastic buckets and spades and any other items you think will be fun then let your kids go to town!
If you don’t have any soil in your yard and you only have a patio then you can still have a go at mud play. Get a large tub or a small paddling pool and fill it with soil from your local garden store. Your kids can have digging around and playing in the soil.
For an alternative type of mud play you could get hold of some clay-type mud, or find somewhere in your local area or nature reserve with that kind of mud. This is great for making shapes out of the mud with your hands and provides an alternative texture.
If you want to try mud play without messing up your garden then you can take your children out into nature. Find a muddy patch in the woods, check it over to make sure it is safe to play in, then have fun digging around. You can also find some muddy puddles to splash around in.
Getting your children to help out in the garden is also a great way to get them interacting with mud, and teaches them some useful information in the process. You could get them to help with weeding, or teach them how to plant bulbs or to repot plants.
You could get them their own plants that they can grow from a seed or a bulb and help them to take care of it every day. This will also help to teach them about responsibility.
Mud play is a great way for children to be involved with sensory play in a super simple way in the comfort of your own backyard or park.
When it comes to to choosing the best soil for mud play, as long as it’s safe, easy accessible, and creates lots of mess, then it’s a winner for us!