It’s time to teach our kids to immerse themselves in the natural environment. “Stop! Don’t jump in that puddle.” “It’s dirty. Don’t touch it.”
“Go wash your hands quickly. There are so many germs in them.”
“I told you not to play in the garden in the mud. Look at you now!”
Heard these sentences around you? Are you guilty too of saying these things to your kids too? Do you know your natural parenting instinct to protect them is doing more harm than doing good? Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Definitely. But going overboard and over-bearing with it isn’t. Read to know how Mud play helps in development of your child. Soon we will publish Benefits of Mud Play.
Did you know babies have a natural instinct to pick up dirt and pop it in their mouths? Turns out, this natural phenomenon has an important link to immunity and well-being of children. These days, parents behave like Sherlock Homes snooping for specks of dirt, grime and yes… potential things and places that could horde germs… the modern day parenting enemies. This behaviour works against the natural rhythm of life.
Most parents (out of sheer concern) believe in washing their children’s hands the minute they pick something from the floor, use antibacterial soaps and bathing bars, pour out hand-sanitizers at the drop of a hat, use wet wipes which have traces of alcohol liberally and worst condition young impressionable minds that ‘Dirt is Dirty’. Interestingly June 29th, marked International Mud Day, an initiative taken by the World Forum Foundation to encourage kids to attune with nature and facilitate outdoor play all around the world.
Our grandparents and even parents keep chiding us over our over-protective parenting. “Let them be!”, my dad pronounces. A little dirt won’t make your daughter sick. You also must have heard innumerable tales of how your parents and grandparents use to walk barefoot, climb trees, made mud pies, eat them when no one watched and even threw them at their friends and cousins.
Today’s I-want-to-keep-my-child-clean-santised-and-safe approach is actually contributing to increased levels of childhood allergies and even asthma. Early exposure to dirt and germs actually helps building your child’s immune system and prevent allergies and other diseases. According to a recent article published in the Chicago Tribune, a little dirt never hurts and may help — especially those five and under. Scientists and researchers have established that during the early years of one’s life there are some crucial biological developments that take place which cannot be recreated later on in life and building a strong immune system is one of them.
Microbiologist and immunology instructor Mary Ruebush in his book ‘Why Dirt is Good’, asserts, “What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment. Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”
Also, Children today are missing out on a lot of interesting outdoor activities due to more indoor options for play as well increased screen time from fancy gadgets. Outdoor time has a lion’s share in contributing to promote Kinesthetic Skills and Motor development. A growing body of research reveals that taking kids back to the good old days and adopting an organic approach of growing up, will open a whole new door way of learning for the kids.
No wonder Mud play is now recognised as a source of learning by Early Childhood Development Experts. It contributes in developing sensory skills in children, opens up their horizons, facilitates creativity, opens up their imagination and most importantly lets them have fun.
“What people somehow forget to mention when we were children that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here… – Anne Lammot”