Every child should have a similar photo. Mud is the greatest thing ever invented. The best part: children can make it! Add some water to dirt and presto - you've got an AWESOME sensory experience. I've asked a few children how mud feels and I’ve received some interesting responses:
Many parents would agree, children say the funniest things. I read a Facebook post from a friend of mine quoting her 3-year-old daughter, "I didn't like grass, but then I tried it, and I liked it!" There it is folks. Children are not afraid to use all of their senses to determine whether something is likable or not.
I remember when I was 5 years old, coming inside from playing in the rain. My friend and I were covered in mud from head to toe. My mom took a picture of us. I still recall the fun we had every time I see that picture.
My mom could have been upset. She could have yelled at us for rolling down a hill, jumping in puddles, and using our umbrellas as buckets to catch water and simultaneously splash each other. I'm fairly positive we swallowed dirty water and maybe even an ant or two during the whole process. I'm sure it wasn't fun cleaning up the mess we made on our back porch when we stomped inside with our muddy boots -dripping from head to toe. However, despite the mess, it was one of the memories I'll never forget having as a child. I think my mom understood the importance of making memories verses staying "clean and tidy."
How about you? How often do you take note of memories-in-the-making? Do you find yourself easily upset over messes? Next time your child wants to go in a mud puddle or play in the rain – try letting them. Look at it as creating a precious memory versus simply a mess.
Not only does playing in mud create lasting memories for children – but it is also an excellent tactile experience. Many children today are not exposed enough to the tactile experiences of the great outdoors – which helps to override tactile defensiveness. Exposing children to the elements of nature is important for integration of their senses. Let them feel the grass, dirt, and make mud pies. Getting messy will help them to tolerate touching a variety of things later on in life - like tolerating touching glue in school!