|Birch Group A.K.A The Mud Monsters|
The new term means new groups at Forest School and it would appear that this term’s group have one thing in common – They really really LOVE mud!!
Mud play offers a vast array of benefits to the participant. Mud play is wonderfully sensory experience – soft, slippy, squelchy and cool. Mud play is genuinely good for you. Check out these facts on the benefits of mud play from Nature Play QLD:
MUD PLAY MAKES YOU HAPPY
New research has shown that exposure to friendly soil bacteria (Mycobacterium Vaccae) stimulates the immune system causing the brain to release serotonin, the endorphin used to regulate mood.
MUD REDUCES YOUR SUSCEPTABILITY TO DEPRESSION
Given the link of the friendly bacteria in mud and its ability to make you happy, scientists say that regular exposure to mud will reduce a child’s vulnerability to depression.
MUD REDUCES ALLERGIES & ASTHMA SYMPTOMS
There is increasing evidence that today’s society is “too clean”, and that this is a contributor to increased levels of childhood illnesses, including immune disorders and allergies.
MUD PLAY BUILDS CREATIVITY
The open-ended nature of mud play is perfect for the developing brain. There is no end to the creations, ideas and games children will invent. During this type of unstructured, outdoor play, children are not only exercising but are building their ability to form ideas, problem solve, and think critically, as well being innovative and inventive.
KEY MILESTONE DEVELOPMENT ACHIEVED THROUGH MUD PLAY
As children grow through their formative years, mud play will help them achieve many key developmental milestones, such as fine and gross motor skills, sensory awareness, balance and coordination. Mud play will also create opportunities to practice social skills and help children to make sense of the world.
FOUNDATIONAL LEARNING THROUGH MUD PLAY
While playing with mud, children are learning and testing theories, as well as developing foundational understanding of maths and literacy.
MUD PLAY CAN REDUCE CHILDHOOD ANXIETY AND STRESS
There is now scientific evidence linking the restorative effects of outdoor play, which can reduce levels of anxiety and stress in children.
MUD PLAY CREATES CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
Positive childhood experiences while playing outdoors will help to create and strengthen kids’ concept of the outdoors, and reinforce the intrinsic benefits and interest in playing outdoors and being active.
BUILDING AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT THROUGH MUD PLAY
While kids are braving the mud, sloshing and squelching around, they are challenging themselves, expanding their experiences and in turn, their world. Instilling and nurturing this constructive foundational style of critical thinking and risk assessment in children builds and strengthens their values and attitudes toward adventure, and develops important skills that can be carried through to adulthood.
MUD BUILDS A CONNECTION WITH NATURE
Playing with mud is a foundational activity that could lead to children further developing a strong and empathetic connection with the natural environment.
MUD IS FUN!
For most children, mud play is intrinsically fun, plain and simple. While adults like to understand the full sphere of why mud play is so good for our children, kids will just instinctively play in it. Especially when their parents encourage them to! Children don’t need to understand why this type of play is important to their development. What’s important is that we provide opportunities for them to do it – and give them permission to get dirty!
Thank you to Nature Play QLD for this article on the benefits of mud play.