Problem: “But they get Dirty!”
Okay, you take your kids outside and they have a blast rolling down a hill, exploring a creek, and making mud pies. You love that the hours flew so quickly and everyone had so much fun until…you get home.
You have a pile of muddy shoes, muddy jeans, and muddy kids!
It’s enough to make you stay home next time. Or should it?
- Did you know that dirt is good for your children’s health? Studies show that dirt builds your child’s immune system. *
- Did you know that dirt is good for your child’s emotional well-being? Studies now show that direct contact with soil improves mood and reduce anxiety. Another study showed that there is good bacteria in dirt which activate neurons in the brain to release serotonin, much in the same manner as anti-depressants and exercise. *
- Did you know that this kind of play builds children who are “vital and vigorous, full of living interests, available and serviceable? ” How does Mason suggest we do this? Facilitating our children’s relationship with nature.
“There are, what I may call, dynamic relations to be established. He must stand and walk and run and jump with ease and grace. He must skate and swim and ride and drive, dance and row and sail a boat. He should be able to make free with his mother earth and to do whatever the principle of gravitation will allow. This is an elemental relationship for the lack of which nothing compensates.” Volume 3 p. 80
- Did you know that this kind of play builds confidence and mastery?
“Another elemental relationship, which every child should be taught and encouraged to set up, is that of power over material. Every child makes sand castles, mud-pies, paper boats, and he or she should go on to work in clay, wood, brass, iron, leather, dress-stuffs, food-stuffs, furnishing-stuffs. He should be able to make with his hands and should take delight in making.” Volume 3 p. 80.
What we need are clothes and shoes we don’t mind getting dirty and a plan for when we get home.
- Where do muddy shoes go?
- Where do muddy clothes go?
- Where do muddy kids go?
- Where do water bottles go?
- Where do nature journals go?
This post is part of our “Getting outside: An Outdoor Life Series”.