6 Reasons Why Playing In Mud Is Beneficial For Kids

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No parent likes it when they see their kids playing in the mud. But the reality is that most children love playing with dirt, mud, and sand. They love mess and don’t know (or care about) how many germs and bacteria are present in them. Before you start feeling the jitters, let us tell you that playing in the mud can actually benefit your children! We are not kidding! Continue reading to know why your kids playing in the mud does more good than harm.

What Is Mud Play?

Mud play refers to any form of outdoor play that involves mud, such as building sandcastles on the beach or playing in a sandbox. Mud play is all about getting creative and having fun with mud, typically wet mud, which kids can squash, mold, and even throw.

It is an activity that doesn’t require you to spend a dime as Mother Nature offers it to your children in abundance.

Is It Safe For Children To Play In Mud?

Mud play is generally safe and healthy for children if you keep a few necessary precautions in mind. Studies suggest that children who grow up in farms, villages, etc., are less prone to developing asthma and allergies of any kind. When children have early exposure to microorganisms, they may have better immune responses and adapt better (1).

Keep the following points in mind while letting your child engage in mud play.

  • Ensure the dirt doesn’t get into their eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
  • Ensure you take your kids to a safe environment, perhaps to a place that isn’t near any chemical or toxic waste dumps.
  • Ensure they wash their hands with soap or sanitize their hands after play.

Playing in the mud is not only safe but also offers a plethora of benefits. Read on to know more.

Benefits Of Playing In The Mud For Children

Mud play offers several positive benefits to a growing child. Here are a few of those benefits (2) (3).

1. Makes children happy

Mud play enables children to go outdoors, engage in exercise, and be one with Mother Nature. Studies indicate that light tends to elevate people’s mood, and physical activity relaxes and cheers people up (4).

Researchers at Bristol University also suggest that M. vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, was shown to activate a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin, which helps enhance feelings of well-being (5).

2. Improves immunity

Playing in the mud and making mud balls are not only fun but also healthy for children. When parents are over-sensitive or make their children grow up in very clean environments, they are more prone to allergies and asthma. Experts suggest that early exposure to bacteria and other microbes can help build immunity in children and prevent allergies, asthma, obesity, and other noninfectious conditions (6).

3. Makes your child active

Being outdoors and in the mud automatically makes your child move around and be physically active. Your child will have to use their hands and legs to dig, create, throw, sit, and stand, thus improving their fine and gross motor skills.

It also gets the children of today away from gadgets and video games and encourages them to be more active.

4. Improves creativity

Mud play encourages open-ended play and creativity as there are no rules or restrictions. It’s unstructured and gives wings to your child’s imagination. Here, children are free to build or create what they want in whatever way they want. Besides, playing with mud engages most of their senses — sight, hearing, smell, and touch — and is therefore great for multisensory learning.

5. Creates fond childhood memories

Engaging your children in outdoor activities such as playing in the mud, gardening, digging holes, or making toys out of mud can help them build friendships and relationships that last a lifetime. As adults, when we look back at our childhood days, such activities always bring back fond memories, don’t they?

6. Helps your child get Vitamin D

Playing outdoors amid nature also means children are directly exposed to the sun. Your children will get an unlimited amount of the essential vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for the development of a good immune system and bone health. Also, epidemiological studies suggest that it may help fight certain health issues such as cancer, depression, heart attacks, and stroke (4).

Creative Mud Play Ideas For Children

Here are some creative mud play ideas for children so that they derive the maximum benefits.

1. Painting

Kids painting in the mud

image: Shutterstock

Painting with mud can be a fun and creative exercise for young and budding artists. Children can use different shades and concentrations of mud to paint landscapes, objects, and settings. They can also draw different cartoon characters.

2. Sculpting

Kids sculpting in the mud

image: Shutterstock

Your child can mold mud to make any object. You can encourage them to use mud to create a kitchen or living room complete with people, tools, furniture, etc.

3. Building

Kids building and playing in the mud

image: Shutterstock

Children can also use mud to construct buildings and castles. They can make small rooms or caves for their imaginary people or animals to hide inside or tunnels for cars and trucks to pass through.

4. Exploring

Kids exploring and playing in the mud

image: Shutterstock

Awaken your child’s curiosity by taking them on a walk in the garden or the park. Talk about the plants and animals you see around. Draw their attention towards tiny organisms in the soil and talk about them too. This activity will help them be more aware of their surroundings and instill a love of nature.

5. Creating

Let your child get their hands messy by playing with mud. If you have old cake tins and molds, ask them to make mud pies in these tins. Send them scouting for twigs, pebbles, leaves, etc., to decorate the mud pie.

Good parenting is not only about pampering your child with unlimited love and care, but also about nurturing them in a way that makes them strong individuals in the future. So, send your children outdoors and encourage them to engage in mud play more often – the benefits are aplenty.

The numerous benefits of sensory play are now known to many parents. Although cleaning up your kids and their toys after playing in the mud may be messy, the several benefits of mud play may encourage you to allow them to indulge in the same. Research has proven that kids playing in the mud or with sand in villages showed a reduced risk of developing asthma and other allergies. However, you should educate your children about the risks of putting mud in their eyes, noses, and mouth. Further, for younger kids, do not allow them to play in the mud without adult supervision.

Key Pointers

  • Children who grow up playing in the mud, develop a better resistance and immunity to common diseases than those who don’t.
  • Playing in the mud can induce a feel-good factor and enhance the senses.
  • But, ensure to take necessary precautions to prevent them from getting hurt or sick.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Advaitaa Ravi

Advaitaa is a digital marketing and content writing specialist with around seven years of experience. She’s worked on a variety of genres including travel, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and health and wellness. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ activities, learning and development. Having completed her graduation in business management, Advaitaa went on to study fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology,... more

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