Top 5 Reasons to Let Your Child Play in the Dirt
Updated: May 29, 2020
Okay, okay... I know what you're thinking.
“What the hell, Jenn? You want me to have my child rolling around in the dirt? The mud? Like a pig?”
Well, the short answer is….
Yeah, pretty much.
Even though you may end up having a few more baths, or find yourself giving your kids a quick wash outside in a plastic tub with soap and water (unless I’m the only one who does that…), your rascal will remember it as a highlight of their spring and summer memories!
I know you remember being a child and having some awesome mud memories: the feeling of squishing that wet, cold mud under your toes; making mud pies that you decorated with blades of grass and dandelions, then forcing your parents to “try” it; jumping into mud puddles you made on the beach; maybe even going looking for worms and bugs and making little homes for them in the dirt. If something at least a little similar to this isn’t a memory, did you really have a childhood?!
I kid, I kid. But seriously, there are so many benefits to allowing and encouraging your child to play in the dirt!
Let’s count down the top 5 reasons: 5. LOWERS STRESS LEVELS
Giving your children free, unstructured outdoor playtime is fun that has a restorative and soothing response, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. How many times have you run your hands through the gooey mud, or tapped the mud in your hand to have the water run out of it? It’s the best feeling! And your children can have the same calming experience while playing! Scientists also say that regular exposure to mud reduces a child’s vulnerability to depression. 4. KEEPS THEM ACTIVE
Allowing children to play in the dirt will have them doing more than just making mud pies… they will be seen running jumping, cartwheeling, you name it! Not only will you see them showing off those gross motor skills, their fine motor skills will be at play with the shaping, molding, and drawing in the dirt that we grew up loving as kids.
3. WORK THOSE BRAINS
Plus, it doesn’t only keep their bodies active, but their brains active too! There are SO many developmental milestones children meet with this simple activity: sensory awareness, balance and coordination, cause and effect, problem-solving skills, and so much more (but this list would go on forever, so I digress…). There is no end to the creations children can make or the games they will invent when you let their brains take control!
2. BOOST THAT IMMUNE SYSTEM
More time in the dirt usually means more time outside, soaking up those delicious sun rays! Natural vitamin D from the sun is great for your child's health (with proper sun protection, obviously). Speaking of your child's health, their immune systems will be strengthened by being exposed to germs found in dirt. This will help build a stronger immunity to sickness. (Hopefully you won’t see them eating too much of it, but we all know it happens). 1. HAPPINESS IS PRICELESS
PLAIN. AND. SIMPLE! I feel like this one is pretty obvious but SO important! The carefree play that brings that big smile on their face and sparks their imaginations proves it: playing in the dirt is FUN! When parents encourage their children to let loose and explore this messy medium, you’re giving them permission to find their inner Ms. Frizzle: take chances, make mistakes, and GET MESSY!