My kids are extremely fond of mud these days. Although, I guess all kids are fond of mud. Every day when we go outside they will start out playing with some toys, or running around, or riding their bikes. But, after about 20 minutes they are asking me to fill up their respective holes in the ground with water.
At first I was a little concerned about all the mud, and the disaster it would cause in terms of laundry and clean up. But, after the first day of letting them play in the mud, I realized that they loved it, and I loved that they would keep themselves occupied for hours. Yes, hours.
I know that a lot of people are leery to let their kids get outside and get messy. It isn't fun to spend the extra time cleaning them up, and attempting to keep clothes free of mud stains is next to impossible. However, I am fully accepting of them being kids, and kids like to get dirty.
Recently I saw a re-post over on Simple Mom about just this, letting your kids get out and enjoy dirt. I definitely recommend it. If you are on the fence about letting your kids get dirty, this gives some great insight into how important it is for kids to get out there and get in the dirt.
But, I want to tell you how we do it in our family.
- They aren't allowed to get in the mud every time they go outside. Often when we are getting ready to go to the grocery store, they are all ready for me to fill up their buckets with water - obviously they can't have free reign with the hose unless we are going to be home for an extended period of time.
- Have specific mud clothes that the kids can wear. I have two pairs of clothes that are just mud clothes. I mean, they are play clothes too, but they are completely stained and probably will never be worn out in public - you know, unless the washing machine breaks :-) This helps me keep my sanity knowing that these clothes are designated for being messy.
- Have a big bucket outside the door that the kids can wash off in before they come inside. This has been a big help, to get most of the mud off of them before I throw them in the tub to get clean. Plus, they seem to enjoy getting in a bucket with more water. Then, when you are done washing them off, use the water to water your garden or other plants!
- Don't stress. I think the biggest factor in this working for us is that I am not freaking out about them being messy. I know they are going to be messy, and I accept it. Then I go about doing whatever else I need to while they entertain themselves.
For the most part, this all works well. There are some days when it is time to come inside and the kids don't want to. I like to use alarms to let them know when things are expected of them. It works well for my kids considering they don't really understand the concept of time. But, they do understand the concept of "alarm going off, time to wash up." And the other thing that works for me, is that the kids really love taking baths, so it is almost like another activity for them to do after they have worn themselves out smearing mud all over each other.
This is part of my trying to say yes more often to my kids, instead of saying no because it is inconvenient for me. Overall, it is working. I know that a lot of people don't stay home nearly as much as I do, so it would be difficult to do all the time. But, for us, it works. We are able to get all of our errands and other activities out of the way in the morning, and then after lunch it becomes a free-for-all.
|it isn't just mud my kids enjoy using to their full advantage (and imagination)!|
How often do your kids get muddy? Are they as enamored with dirt and water as mine are?