Mud is Good!
Here at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens we are delighted to be back having fun in the woods! Last week was particularly special for us as we celebrated International Mud Day! The children and staff took part in many activities to celebrate their love of mud, including; mud face paint, mud angels, mud pies and, of course, a “who can get the muddiest” competition!
Mud feels great when squished between fingers and perhaps surprisingly, smells good too! Mud offers the absolute best sensory play experience and once children who do not usually feel confident to play with mud start discovering how much they love it…there is truly no going back!
WOK has always been a huge advocate of the fun that can be had whilst playing with mud, however, did you know that mud additionally has some excellent health benefits and can boost children’s immune systems?! In this blog I discuss all things mud and consider how fortunate we are to have so much time to splosh around in it during our nursery days!
During my time as a practitioner, I have been lucky enough to have been treated to many ‘mud facials’ by various children over the years! Believe it or not, the children at WOK were not the first people to revere mud for its cleansing properties. In fact, mud has been being utilized as a beauty product for millennia! There is even evidence to suggest that Ancient Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, harvested mud from the dead sea to make body wraps with. Mud is a fantastic agent for cleansing the skin due to the fact it is extremely rich in minerals. Some of these minerals are gained from the worms and fungi that live inside it!
So how can mud help to boost children’s immune systems? Research suggests that, throughout the 20th and 21st century in the developed world, we have become increasingly predisposed to developing common allergies such as hay fever or eczema and certain infections. One often cited explanation for this is the fact that we now live in clean indoor environments and subsequently children do not gain exposure to some types of bacteria that allow them to produce certain antibodies and thus develop a stronger immune system. By playing with mud children are able to regularly come into contact with various natural bacteria and thus are provided with the opportunity to build their immune systems (and you guys can still keep your houses squeaky clean!).
There is yet more evidence to indicate that mud can be applied to skin as a form of relaxation therapy! Dermatologist Dr Dhaval Bhansali claims that the nutrients found in some types of mud stimulates blood flow in the body which in turn leads to muscle relaxation. Have you ever noticed that after a day at WOK, your little ones come home covered in mud and just a wee bit sleepy? Perhaps they are just feeling super relaxed due to all of the mud exposure? Or maybe they are just exhausted from running around with their best woodland pals!
That’s all for this time folks! On a personal note I would just like to say how much I have enjoyed being back at WOK over the last few weeks and on behalf of all the staff I would like to say thankyou to all of our WOK families for being so responsive and adapting to the various adjustments we have had to make in light of recent times; it is very much appreciated!
Thank you for reading my blog.
Emma, Practitioner at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens