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At Kids Country, we get MESSY!

What do we mean by messy? Well that’s simple…. brown, squishy, yucky,DIRTY MUD! Kids Country believes in connecting with nature, and what better way to do that than to play in the dirt?

Celebrating nature, outdoors, and mess by getting really muddy is not just fun, but important in progressing children in the developmental stages of life. Our philosophy at Kids Country is to inspire the hearts, minds and imaginations of children. In doing so, we are able to successfully develop the physical, intellectual, emotional and social well-being of each child. Getting messy applies to all of them. We allow our children to laugh and enjoy the elements of nature, we encourage them to use their minds and choose their paths, and we observe as their imaginations soar and create their happiness. All of which increases their physical strength, intellectual capacity, emotional positivity and social interactions among friends.

Kids Country has more than a playground, we have Certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms. Each containing mud kitchens, gravel pits,sand pits, continuous building stations, gardens, mud pits, reading nooks and more.

Kids Country supports getting dirty and that is why we are participating in this years International Mud Day on June 29!

 

 

 

Nepal International Mud Day

International Mud Day was started in 2009 in Nepal and Australia.

Bishnu Bhatta wrote about his observations of the first Mud Day in Nepal, “A program was organized in the small village of Panchkhal, a little outside of town (approximately 45kms from the capital of Kathmandu), carrying a new concept towards making a better world: people come taking a step closer to Mother Nature. The day was called Mud Day and it targeted a small group of 58 orphaned children to acquaint them with the environment. All the adult spectators felt the pang! inside them, what a lovely idea to make child come close to the environment and make them love nature!”

Bhatta watched as the children looked at the mud pit with wonder, fear and hesitation. It wasn’t until the organizer himself, jumped into the pit that the children felt it was safe and okay to jump. It has been said that “children are like clay, it is only on the maker’s hand to give it a proper shape.” The organizer did just that and before he knew it, everyone was squishing, splashing, playing and experiencing the joy of mud.

“Children never stopped asking questions about soil, mud, water, earthworms, etc.,” said Bhatta. “They seemed interactive. The program was a big success and lived up to its objective.”

Bhatta took his discovery to the World Forum in 2009 where he discussed his findings with the Nature Action Collaborative for Children. He shared the success of Mud Day in Nepal, but also spoke of the realities of many of the schools that couldn’t afford for their children to get messy because they couldn’t afford another set of clothes or soap to get clean. In the meeting, was Gillian McAcliffe from Australia. McAuliffe founded the Bold Park Community School in Australia and believed in “developing a respectful learning environment that kept the ‘light alive in children’s eyes’ – a community that was respectful, caring and saw to the development of the whole child.”

Australia International Mud DayWhen she returned to Australia she began a discussion with her students: ” ‘Imagine if you could not play in mud?’ ‘Imagine if you could not have fun.’ They were horrified that any child, anywhere, would not be able to play in mud due to a lack of a change of clothes. ‘I can send them some of my clothes.’ ‘My mum can sew; she can make them clothes.’”

Mud Day was another success, and actual mud hadn’t even come into play yet. It didn’t take long for the mud pit to come into play though. However, instead of making the pit for the children to enjoy, McAuliffe had the children build it. They dug the pit, filled it with top soil and water and then, when it was all done, they could play in it. McAuliffe not only allowed them to get messy, but she allowed them to build their happiness…literally! The joy it brought them was contagious, all the staff and parents that were observing couldn’t resist the temptation and soon joined the fun.

Bishnus Bhatta and Gillian McAuliffe brought children together with nature and each other. NACC gave them their platform and mud gave them results, exemplifying their mission to re-connect children with the natural world by making developmentally appropriate nature education a sustaining and enriching part of the daily lives of the world’s children. Bhatta and McAuliffe transformed mud day into an International connection, leaving the world with a recognized day of messy, muddy fun: International Mud Day!

Imagine if your child couldn’t experience the ultimate joy of getting messy.

Rusty Keeler, author of “Marvelous Mud”, observed Open Spaces Preschool in Whangarei, New Zealand. He was shocked to find that in what would normally be a playground, was a space filled with adventure. There were “great combinations of natural materials, plants, sculptures, kid-built structures, and animals (chickens!)” While there were plenty more exploratory stations, the one that fascinated the children the most and that gave them the most delight was the mud pit. All that the station contained was a huge hole filled with squishy, dirty mud and water and of course screaming, laughing, smiling children!Open Spaces International Mud Day

“I honestly have never seen a playscape “feature” so loved and enjoyed in such a full body, full-spirited way,” said Keeler. “This was children literally playing with the earth. Connecting in the most rich, tactile way I can imagine.”

The biggest question for Keeler, and we’re sure most parents, is how do you handle the mess when the fun is over?

Keeler watched as “they handled it with simplicity, common sense, and love….and a sense of humor – they hosed the kids down of course!”

The school added another connection to nature and yet another element of fun; allowing laughter and love to fill the air. That is why, at Kids Country, we ask parents to bring an extra set of clothes for their children. Messy happens, fun happens and happiness happens. We don’t want your child to miss out on the exploration of the natural world.

Discovery Children’s Center says in their book The Mud Book, that getting dirty is “important, and natural and instinctive. Digging, squishing, exploring and yes, even eating dirt are extensions of how kids interact with the world under their bare feet.” It has even been proven that their are “bacteria naturally found in the soil which activate the neurons that produce serotonin – a natural anti-depressant.” Yes, dirt makes us happy!

A father of a child from the Open Spaces Preschool said, “I always know when my daughter has fun at school: there’s dirt behind her ears!”International Mud Day

Imagine if your child couldn’t experience the ultimate joy of getting messy.

Ask yourself, would you rather your child be dirty and happy or clean and unhappy?

Help us celebrate International Mud Day on June 29!