Mud Kids

in #life3 years ago (edited)

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“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” e. e. cummings

I have decided to write this post as a bit of a photo essay combining "mud-luscious" pictures I have taken of my kids with child development research I have been doing.

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I have heard from people I have encountered about their varying opinions on dirt and getting dirty and the hygiene concerns, especially for children. I am currently reading a book called ‘Balanced and Barefoot: How unrestricted outdoor play makes for Strong, Confident and Capable Children’ by Angela J. Hanscom a Pediatric Occupational Therapist that explains that it's not only OK for kids to get dirty but necessary!

What does the expert say?

Angela believes that many of the modern childhood disorders including sensory intergration, attention problems, low immune systems, clumsiness, aggressiveness, anxiety, poor posture etc are due to lack of outdoor free play.

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“The sensations of getting dirty and messy in real mud offer children an invaluable rich and tactile experience.
“The tactile system is flexible, and through exposure to various tactile experiences, children increase their tolerance to different touch sensations.


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"Childhood is a state of mind which ends the moment a PUDDLE is first viewed as an OBSTACLE instead of an OPPORTUNITY" -Kathy Williams

“Not only does getting dirty and muddy outdoors increase tolerance of touch experiences, but it also improves the immune system.


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“Mud. Wet and sticky mud. Most children can’t resist it. Getting dirty and even sampling a little bit of dirt doesn’t hurt. In fact, it can be downright healthy for your child. Exposure to dirt, animals, and germs from an early age on can actually improve the immune system


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“According to the hygiene hypothesis, the problem with extremely clean environments is that they fail to provide the necessary exposure to germs that strengthens the immune system so it can protect us from infectious organisms. Instead, its defense responses become so inadequate that they actually contribute to the development of asthma and allergies
“Therefore, in order to develop a strong and healthy immune system, it is essential for children to be exposed to the outdoors—especially if that exposure involves getting dirty.



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Other things I've noticed that my children learn when they get "down and dirty" are things like working together: collaborating to achieve a goal whether it be to make the most "delicious-looking" mud soup, biggest mud pie, or creating rivers and dams.


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Speaking of rivers and dams, there are science and engineering, logic and problem-solving skills that they are learning through practical experience. They see first hand how water causes soil erosion, creates rivers and can create problems when too much water goes the "wrong way" where they quickly try redirect/block the water's path with rocks. I've also noticed that there is normally less quarreling when they are playing with sticks, stones and dirt as opposed to the world war 3 that occurs when they play with toys.

Cultivating outdoor play

"And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling." -Shanti
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“The answer is really quite straightforward: active free play—ideally outdoors—is essential for your child’s sensory and motor development. Allowing your children time and space to play outdoors on a daily basis can significantly improve and encourage healthy development.”


I highly recommend reading 'Balanced and Barefoot: How unrestricted outdoor play makes for Strong, Confident and Capable Children’ by Angela J. Hanscom.

She also talks about other ways to encourage healthy outdoor playtime not only in nature but also in your small home garden, as well as at schools.

A quick mama tip: keep some old clothes and shoes that the kids can get dirty in and not have to worry about keeping undamaged.


Let me know how you feel about your kids getting dirty? How do you encourage them to get outside and play?


All images were taken by myself, and all block quotes are by Angela J. Hanscom

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I am upvoting this post even though it was done 23 days ago. I think this is such a great post! I agree with everything written here in this post.
I let my kids run around in mud, puddles, in the soil all barefoot. There is nothing I want to hold back from them if it gives them a chance to explore at something. The experience they have is such a great thing to cherish. Not up to us to take away this kind of adventure. xx

So true! Thanks for commenting 💖 they are their own people and adventure is key to learn important lessons of life and living!

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Very true, perfect shots

Thank you! :)

You are a super cool Mum!!
We grew up in mud, rivers, sand, trees, grass and it's nice that your kids are a getting taste of not being overly cautious 😊

Thank you! I definitely believe it’s the way to go <3

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Awesome post @wildwanderer, I still remember making mudcakes as a child!

Thanks @lizelle! Yes! I believe some of my fondest childhood memories include mud too :)

Insightful and wise advice. And a great photo essay. I feel like I need a shower to get rid of the mud... :-)

I couldn't agree more. When I was a kid, playing outdoors was a way of life. Nowadays kids think they are doing us a favour a lot of the time when they are outside.

Kids need to jump in puddles and get dirty!

So true! Sometimes we have to chase them outside even! While I love technology and I believe it is important for the kids to get exposure to it as it will be part of their future, it is just sad that they often prefer it to the outdoors :( until of course they go outside :P

hahaha! howdy there wildwanderer! I saw your name on steemitbloggers and thought I better come over here. I never knew that playing in the mud helps the immune system! lol. that is wild, great fun photos and you didn't have a load of dirty laundry to do!

Hahaha! Thanks for your support! Yeah I don’t like laundry so I get clever like that :D

haha! well it was brilliant wildwanderer and a very enjoyable post which made me smile. I assume by your username that you do alot of traveling?

I used to but having the kids has settled my physical location- now my wanderings are more in talents and interests :D

howdy today wildwaderer! ahh yes..kids can do that to you real fast, well you are doing the most important job in the world and I salute you!

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that was awesome. i prefer to keep my kids good and muddy!

Thanks! Yes! They are better off earning their nice warm bath at the end of the day ;)

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