acepuppets

Posts Tagged ‘mud


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This year nature seems to have provided us with a bountiful supply of mud.  Whether we have liked it or not country dwellers have been forced to contend with muddy feet and huge puddles on a daily basis.  Children have found having impromptu mud baths fun and washing machines have been working double shifts during this constant wet season.  If we think that sending our little darlings to school will prevent them from getting dirty then we are going to be disappointed.

Mud kitchens are all the rage in schools now, whether a DIY plucky Governor version or bought one, your children will spend some of their school day in mud kitchens.  This article from Playdale Playgrounds explains why mud kitchens are such great fun. At home children can pester Mum and Dad for old utensils, cupboards and buckets so that they can enjoy the glory of mud.  As with all aspects of play, a mud kitchen provides a rich learning experience that we just assumed was mucking about.

If learning objectives and opportunities are what floats your boat then this chart produced by blogger Worms Eye View applies EYFS Learning Opportunities to playing in mud kitchens.

Learning opportunities sheet Outdoor Kitchen

All children can enjoy playing in mud kitchens, as the activity provides learning experiences for children of all abilities.  Aspiring artists and those who like to touch and feel the world have wonderful opportunities to explore texture, consistency and the possibility of shaping mud.  Scientists will totally enjoy experimenting with water quantities and soil types. All children enjoy copying their home life and a kitchen environment is where a lot of the action happens.

Learning objectives aside playing with mud and soil is really pleasurable.  I remember my mud kitchen in the corner of the garden, consisting of an old pan, buckets and a sieve.  One very warm summer holidays 35 years ago was spent sieving dry mud to make a sandy dust – I can’t remember the expensive activities we did that year but playing in my mud kitchen is firmly fixed in my mind.

To make lasting memories kit your kids up with clothes that can withstand mud and frequent washing, old spoons and pans. These are the ingredients of happy childhood memories.

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I really truly thought that I had managed to bring up a child who like the simple pleasures of sticks, stones and mud as opposed to wanting to blow copious amounts of cash going to places where he will end up finding sticks, stones and mud to play with.  Alas I have been virtually unsuccessful in this attempt – I give my son pocket money so he can have a bit of financial freedom.  My crafty boy hides his cash and still expects me to pay because he wants to save his money and it is not fair that I expect him to spend his.  One thing I have discovered is that if you don’t expose children to places that are screaming out for cash they are no longer distracted by the need to spend and they settle to play with what they have around them.  Bearing this in mind I have thought of five activities that won’t cost you a penny – unless you buy sweets and ice cream of course.

Make A Mud Kitchen

Creative Digital Camera

This is definitely not for the feint hearted and those who cannot abide dirt but it will keep them entertained for hours.  Choose a corner of the garden where there is mud that is easy to access, bring out the pots and pans, add water and let your child have fun.  Put old clothes on them and it won’t matter how dirty they get.  I remember spending the whole summer holidays playing in the coal bunker – I got so filthy and looked as if I had been down a mine but I can’t remember the paid activities I did that year.

Make Natural Sculptures

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I always mention this one and talk about Andy Goldsworthy as an example.  Basically all it involves is collecting any bits of nature or rubbish (as long as it is safe) lying around and making a picture out of it.  We live right by an estuary and there is often loads of treasure lying around for us to use; drift wood, plastic bottles, old shoes, bits of plastic, straw and stones.  You will be surprised at how creative your child an be and how explaining what they have made can improve their language and imagination skills.

Visit The Local Playground

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This activity does sometimes coincide with a visit to the sweetshop but often allows you to relax and chat to other parents while your child is completely occupied by other children in the playground.  Visiting a playground regularly means that you don’t have worry about having playground equipment in the garden at home.  In my experience children tend to look for the mud and stones in every playground they go in so don’t put them in their best togs – it will only drive you mad.

Make A Picnic And Go To The Beach

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If anything was invented for children to run free and parents to relax a little – it was the beach.  make sure you set ground rules like; don’t go into the sea without supervision, stay within sight, Keep off the road and by no account go home with anyone else you should be able to let your little monsters run free.  You will find yourself making sandcastles and digging moats, so cast off your inhibitions and dig down and get sandy.

Go Round To Grandma’s 

If Grandma lives too far away go and visit friends and relatives instead. Grand parents are generally so excited to see their grand children that they will quite happily entertain them for the whole afternoon – giving you the chance to relax with a cup of coffee, home made cake and a bit of peace and quiet.

These are very simple suggestions but they are surprisingly very time consuming and once you ignite your child’s imagination they develop momentum and can enjoy playing for hours and hours.  Whatever you do – enjoy them while they are young! As for my son being very money minded he informed me yesterday that money was not important,  life was and he knew that just because he knew.


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