This Saturday, June 27 is International Mud Day and MetroParks is inviting you to celebrate with some at-home activities that will guarantee some good, not-so-clean fun. Mud Day is more than just an excuse to finally splash around in the mud, it’s an opportunity for children to connect to nature and be creative with a natural resources they may typically be discouraged from playing with.
Typically, MetroParks celebrates International Mud Day with an afternoon of messy fun at Wegeryn Gardens MetroPark. Due to COVID-19, we are encouraging people to celebrate all-things-mud at home in their back yards this year.
For early learners, mud play can help encourage a positive relationship with the natural world and builds sensory and fine motor skills, according to Community Playthings. Additionally, playing outside has a host of physical and mental benefits for both children and adults.
Make some mud: Find a space in your yard that is free of grass where there is plenty of dirt. With a yard hose or different water source, add water to the dirt a bit at a time while encouraging your kids to mix everything together. Add water until you’ve reached the consistency of mud you wish to play with.
Ready to play? MetroParks education coordinator, Betty Hoevel, shared more than 5 creative ways to celebrate International Mud Day this weekend
Mud pools: Have a small plastic wading pool and some extra potting soil laying around? Add three bags of the soil to the pool. Mix and add water until the mud is moist and holds together. Hop in and stomp around!
Mud city: Gather milk cartons, plastic containers and beach buckets to make a city from mud. Create mud that holds it’s shape by adding a little water at a time to your sand and soil mixture. Once you’ve made “houses” and other buildings, you also can create streets with mud.
Mud mural: Tape butcher paper to a garage, shed or easel. Create your mud mix (equal parts mud and water) in different containers and use different sized brushes to make your muddy masterpiece. Tip: As the mud paint is used, add more water to keep it from getting too thick to stay on a brush.
Mud kitchen: Serve up some mud pies by covering an outside table with an old cloth or plastic and put out kitchen utensils and paper plates. Create your “pies” with a small bowl of mud (bagged soil, sand and water) and keep a small bag of sand on-hand to top off your creations. Garnish your mud pies with flowers and leaves. Tip: Keep a small bowl of water on hand to clean off utensils between uses.
Mud face painting: Use the same mud recipe you did to create a mural, but this time the canvas is your face! Put out a small container of mud paint, small brushes and water. Create fun designs or paint with your fingers. Be sure to have a mirror on hand if your painting your own face and so kids can see their creations when they are finished.
Mud hula hoop roll contest: Put down a 3’ by 10’ strip of plastic. Cover the plastic with one inch of mud. Next, grab two or three hula hoops and see how far you can roll the hoops down the mud strips. Next, see if you can successfully hula hoop with your muddy hoops. Tip: Keep adding water to the mud do it doesn’t dry out!
Muddy surprise creatures: Gather 20 tiny plastic play creatures in a bucket and fill it halfway with mud. Let the kids see how many creatures they can pull out and identify out of the muddy mix.
After a day in the mud, it’s important to clean up. Before you play, create a cleaning station with a small pool filled with water for muddy feet and hands. Add a spray hose to get mud off other items you used to play.
Always follow the CDC’s recommendations, such as social distancing, when spending time outdoors. For more information and to learn how you can safely use area parks and trails, visit metroparks.org/COVID-19. Stay up-to-date on alerts, closures and ways to get outside by following MetroParks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.