Let Them Be Muddy: Four Benefits of Letting Your Child Play in the Mud
by Christy Rybka
At Thrive Forest School, our motto is “Your child will come home muddy or your money back.” So far, no refunds have been issued!
Although every day at Thrive Forest School is different, no day is complete without a muddy pair of rain boots at the end. From making mud pies, to splashing in mud puddles, to slipping down mud slides, every student at Thrive Forest School knows how to enjoy a muddy day in the woods.
Some parents like sending their children to play in the mud, but others are less than excited about the mess that they are left to clean up afterwards! However, the benefits of mud play far exceed the inconveniences of the mess that comes at the end:
Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Playing in the dirt may be one of the best ways to help your children develop a strong immune system! According to the Mayo Clinic, early exposure to the beneficial bacteria and microbes in the dirt can prevent allergies and help children develop strong immune systems, especially between the ages of 5 and under.
According to a study conducted by researchers from Bristol University and University College London, bacteria in the soil may affect the brain in a way that is similar to the use of antidepressants! This bacteria, known as Myobacterium vaccae, increases the release of serotonin to the brain, which increases happiness and quality of life. According to one of the researchers, Dr. Chris Lowry, these studies “leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt”!
Unlike prescriptive objects, such as toy dolls or toy trains that are only meant to be used for certain purposes, mud can be used to become anything a child dreams it can be. Mud can be used to make anything from mud pies, to mud slides, and even “mud ice cream cones” (as some of our very own Thrive students have creatively invented)!
Encourages Relationship With Nature
There is no better way to teach children why they should care for the world than by allowing them to enjoy it for themselves! Children who have spent their early years making memories rolling in the dirt and splashing in the mud will develop a love for the earth at a young age that will grow with them as they grow into adulthood.
So why not let your children play in the mud? In fact, if this blog post has left you feeling inspired, maybe you can join your children by going outside and playing in the mud with them!