Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

Why getting hands dirty is great for children’s development.

Can you remember the fun of making mud pies as a child? It’s an activity that never dates or loses its appeal, no matter what decade you were born in. It’s an activity, like all outside play, that should positively be encouraged and celebrated. Children usually love to engage in this type of messy play and it’s really important they do, for so many developmental reasons.

Sensory – Gathering natural materials for children to play with is a simple way to get small hands to engage with the natural world. The different textures of mud, sand, water and leaves create a memorable sensory experience that children will learn from and enjoy. The tactile stimulation from the way it feels, the texture, the temperature, all create a unique experience very much of the moment. This experience can be drawn on for encouraging language development and communication skills as well as enhancing fine motor skills and coordination.

Creativity – Playing with natural materials and using them to represent everyday objects is a lovely way to promote and develop a child’s imagination and creativity. It’s all about ‘free’ play, in both the spirit of play and without cost.

Imagination – Nature really does provide the ultimate blank canvas and gives children space to use their imagination and create their own special world of play. They can roleplay different characters, make up locations, go on make believe journeys or simply sell pies made of mud… at whatever price they fancy!

Social – Playing outside offers a huge range of opportunities for games or activities where children can play together and create their own rules. Working out how to interact with other children is an important skill and sharing the experience with others is an engaging point of connection.

Outdoors – Physically being outside in a natural environment is an important way to help regulate a child’s biological clock which is vital for the immune system and generally will improve a child’s health and well-being. Nature gives a perfect balance to time spent on screens and slows down the fast-paced modern world we all live in. The natural world is a great leveller and it can feel very grounding to find physical connections to our ‘great outdoors’.

Playing outside is critical to the development of children, both physically and cognitively. They learn key skills in all areas of their development and education, including problem solving, creative thinking, communication skills, social competence and imaginative play. Children need distraction and motivation to encourage them to leave screens so nurturing an enthusiasm and energy for playing outside, especially when they are young, will set them in good stead for a lifetime of enjoyment and appreciation for the Great Outdoors.

What are you waiting for? Get the mud kitchen fired up and mud pie production in full flow..!

Twoey manufactures an extensive range of outdoor furniture and play equipment which work well in a wide variety of early years settings. The Twoey Outdoor Tunnel and Twoey Outdoor Doll’s House have both been accredited by the Good Toy Guide. This is what their testers said about them:

“This versatile activity tunnel encourages children to engage in free and imaginative play, which is the superfood of the balanced play diet. This kind of imaginative role play not only benefits storytelling skills, but it also allows young children to act out different scenarios and make sense of them. This is fantastic for personal, social and emotional development.”

“This open-ended small world play area is great for encouraging free, imaginative play the superfood of a balanced play diet. We liked that the areas can be set up differently, allowing it to be multi-functional and empowering children to set it up how they like. Small world play is great as it allows children to develop their understanding of the world around them as they act out and make sense of different scenarios. This is fantastic for developing childrens listening and communicating skills at this age, as well as for encouraging turn-taking and sharing.”

Visit www.twoey.co.uk to see the full range of Twoey Outdoor products available online. Alternatively, please email sales@twoey.co.uk or call 016973 49774 / +44 16973 49774 as we would be delighted to answer any queries you may have.