Why Mud?

As we prepare for this year’s International Mud Day, let us be reminded of the years past. Many of us can remember the squish between our fingers and the deep earthy smell. We recall the sound of mud when thrown with force against a fence or the slime it creates when too much water is involved. For some of us these are distant memories, but for others they are vivid recollections from June 29th (Mud Day) last year.

Why celebrate a day dedicated to something so common?  This is what a few children have to say.

Mud is Universal: The original International Mud Day was created in 2009 to connect children from across the globe. The more we know about the things we have in common and share with people everywhere, the more likely we are to understand and care about each other.

“When I was around five I experienced Mud Day for the first time with some confusion. Mud—why would you play in that sticky, brown, wormy substance? But under the murky appearance there is much more. It is a bonder, a connecter, something to talk about.”

–Ivy, age 10, a repeat participant in yearly Mud Day celebrations

Mud is Timeless: Mud can be played with over and over and never wear out. Our ancestors likely played with the same mud our children play with. Experiences with mud can help children develop a sense of being connected with themselves, with others, and with the natural world.

“Mud changed me.”

–Kyla, a jubilant 6 year old having been timid and clean moments before

Mud is Surprising:  When you invite messiness into learning, it increases the complexity and opportunities for children to solve problems and figure out how the world works. The longer and more often you play with it, the more delighted you are with what you discover and create. Leading scientists are even studying dirt. One recent discovery is that in addition to some harmful bacteria, there is also beneficial bacteria that may boost our immune systems.

“It’s great to come to school and do something unexpected.”

–Levi, an Australian grade school child, when asked what he liked about Mud Day

Join these children and more in celebration of mud. It promises to be a day filled with surprises, connections, and fun! What to do? Here are a few ideas from past celebrations.

*Mud Painting:

Use mud instead of paint. Needed are easels, cups of mud, sponges and/or brushes.

*Huge Field of Mud:

Go for it!

*Mud Face Painting:

Apply with Q-tips from cups of mud. Be sure to have hand mirrors handy so children can see the results, or guide the painter.

*Barefoot Walk:

Using roll paper, lay a long sheet on the ground. Mud Walkers dip their feet in mud (made in a tub or some other similar container), and walk the walk.

*Mud Splatter Painting:

Throw small mud-balls at paper hung on a wall, or throw mud-balls in the air to land on paper lying on the ground.

*Mud Texture Table:

Spread mud on a tabletop and make designs as in finger painting.