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The wonder of mud

The wonder of mud

While this sounds like a bit of a strange and potentially boring story, it’s probably one of the most important ones I will ever tell.

In this feature, I’ll be explaining why soil is so important to the food system we all rely on, and the threats that it faces in present times. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be inspired to think more about how magical and essential soil is with the next bite of food you take.

WHAT IS SOIL?

We all know that soil is the stuff on the ground that plants grow in. With the exception of fish, it is the beginning of all of our sources of food.

It is mostly made up of three mineral elements: clay, sand and silt, the ratio of which will affect the colour and texture of the soil. It also contains organic matter, which is basically decomposing plants and animals. This organic matter is like fuel to the soil, filling it with nutrients which new plants need to grow. Soil without nutrients is useless, like a car without a fuel tank – it looks the same from a distance, but struggles to function.

HOW DO OUR FOOD SYSTEMS RELY ON IT?

The vast majority of our food comes from plants. Even our meat has to eat plants, or other animals which have fed on other animals, or plants. See what I’m saying?! Soil plays a major role in this chain, providing:

  • Nutrients: All plants need nutrients, and the best place to get these nutrients is from soil. Nature is clever – its eco systems are created in such a way that soil is continually fertilised by any decomposing plants and animals that fall onto it (by “fertilised” we basically mean “fed with nutrients”). These nutrients are then held in the soil to feed future generations of plants and animals, and so on. There are millions of organisms within healthy soil, which help break down plant and animal matter into nutrients. Most of these are not even visible to the human eye, such as bacteria, fungus and many other tiny organisms.
  • Stability: All living plants have roots which bed into the soil like wires into a plug socket. As well as being the source of food and water for the plant, they also act as a foundation, keeping the plant where it is and giving it stability. Usually two-thirds of a plant is underground, in the roots.
  • Water: The structure of soil also carries out one other super-important function – it holds and stores water, which is vital to all living plants and animals on Earth. Soil’s ability to store water depends on the type of soil, the organic matter within it, and the root system taking hold in it.

WHY IS SOIL CHANGING?

Without human intervention, soil systems work beautifully by themselves, with soil, plants and animals all co-operating and feeding each other. You only have to visit an untouched rainforest, a national park or woodland to see this in action.

Yet soil systems started to change significantly when humans came along and started farming the land. Remember that farming is a man-made process, and not something that happens in nature. It is where we manipulate the land, soil, plants and animals to provide food or fuel for ourselves or livestock.

Left to its own devices, soil will hold a mixture of plants that all work together and feed the soil with different nutrients. This is known as “bio-diversity”. Often in farming, we decide to grow huge amounts of just one particular plant at a time. When we plough the land and plant one variety over and over, the soil loses its diversity of nutrients and can become starved.

The common solution to starved soil is to add chemical fertilisers to feed the plants instead. While this may sound like a good idea, it’s pretty unsustainable. Chemical fertilisers to plants are like sweets to a small child: the soil gets loads of energy, the plants go a bit crazy, but the system is not healthy in the long-term. It prevents roots from growing or taking hold properly as the plants get their energy from chemicals instead.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOIL IS NEGLECTED?

So by using chemical fertilisers, roots do not grow as long or as strongly as they should, and by farming just one or two types of plants, soil does not naturally get the mix of nutrients it needs to stay healthy. This contributes to something called “soil erosion”, where the soil becomes weak and cannot hold water. Therefore, when it rains, the water simply runs straight off, and can even take some of the soil with it. The weakening of soils is known to be one of the largest causes of flooding, where rain washes straight into rivers, raising the height of the river and causing extensive damage to homes and land.

Genetic engineering is extending this problem further by adding excess chemicals to soil. Genetically modified (GMO) plants are developed to withstand even higher levels of chemicals, allowing even more fertilisers to be added to the soil. Great news for people selling chemical fertilisers, who are often the same people that sell the genetically engineered plant seeds. Funny, that.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

Essentially, the best thing we can do to help is to buy products which support sustainable farming practices and recognise soil as a valuable part of sustainable farming. The LEAF mark is something you can look out for on products in supermarkets. This shows that the farms the product came from practise “integrated farm management”, which means that they carefully manage the diversity and quality of their soil.

Certified organic products are also a great way of supporting better soil management, as they prohibit the use of chemical fertilisers, meaning that farmers have to rely on more sustainable ways of managing soil. Look out for organic logos on produce, meat and dairy.

Another alternative for meat from systems which truly care for soil quality is to look out for products carrying the Pasture For Life label. This meat comes from farms where animals live in harmony with pasture and soil, and that do not use any chemicals on their land.


Native American Mosquito Repellent

From modern times through the distant past, American Indians, like most other people who spend time outdoors, have had to deal with mosquitoes. Native cultures relied on the land and viewed all elements upon Earth, including plants, with respect. Plants provided a means for them to repel mosquitoes without harming the creatures.


Unbeatable Mississippi Mud Bars

You've probably heard of Mississippi Mud cakes and Mississippi Mud pies, but what about a dessert bar recipe variation? Follow this easy recipe for Unbeatable Mississippi Mud Bars and learn how to make an easy-to-share version of this delicious dessert. Your friends and family will be begging you for the recipe once they try a piece.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 / 2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1 / 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1 / 2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • FOR THE FROSTING:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 / 2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 / 2 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Extend end of foil 1 inch over sides of pan, grease and flour foil, and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 cup butter.
  4. Stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cups cocoa.
  5. Remove pan from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  6. Stir in flour and pecans until well blended.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  9. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder.
  10. Beat in butter and vanilla until smooth.
  11. Beat in enough milk until fluffy and spreadable.
  12. Using ends of foil, lift brownie layer from pan. Spread top with frosting.
  13. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans.
  14. Cut into 2 by 1 inch bars and store in air tight container.
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I was just looking at the recipe and the instructions when to do you put the Tablespoon of vanilla in, I was guessing with the eggs? Thanks so much.

I always thought Mississippi "mud" bars was made with marshmallows (melted on top of the baked bars while still hot). In any case, these sound delish the way they are.

I very seldom make a comment on these recipes and especially on the comments. The recipes are great! I just wonder why people make such stupid comments.

I plan to bake there bars. You can't go wrong with this fab recipe. Thanks.

Read the directions. It is 1 1/2 cups of sugar.

Should the sugar and flour be reversed? That's a lot of sugar. I'd be bouncing off the walls for days!

Do you really mean 5 1/2 cups sugar.

I think it should be 2 or 2 1/2 c sugar.

Needs a picture. I can't cook anything without a picture.

I dont think you meant 5.5 cups of sugar did you.

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Just for Kids: Some pioneer recipes

Click on pictures for printable, full-sized versions to color.

When I was a little girl, I used to visit my grandfather’s home town in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He filled my head with tales of how things were done when he was a boy. One of my favorites was his story of the making of Brunswick stew. As I nestled into the musty back seat of my aunt’s huge black Packard car, he would begin the tale. We would rove through the miles and miles of dusty tobacco fields, the tall yellowing plants surging up on either side of the road, and he would drone on. The more he talked, the hungrier I got.

Find the secret word!
Click on picture for printable, full-sized version, then fill in the blank spaces with letters from words in the article. The answer is a symbol for peace and plenty.
You can color it, too!

According to his memory, the farm hands would work in the fields harvesting those massive leaves from dawn ’til way after dark. Along about sunset, someone would kindle a fire and set a great black pot of water on it. Several of the fellows would then take to the woods and shoot up some rabbit and squirrel, perhaps even a wild turkey. Someone else would chip in a bunch of onions brought from home, and maybe a wife would have packed her husband off that morning with a basket of butterbeans and tomatoes from the garden. Several ears of pilfered corn might have finished off the recipe. These ingredients would be left to bubble and stew as the workers returned to the fields.

As the men picked and packed the great leaves, the delicious aroma of that Brunswick stew wafted through the fields, finally beckoning them to supper. As I listened to him spin his story, I always wondered, but never got around to asking . . . did they bother to take the skin off those squirrels? I would picture that lovely vat of bubbling stew, and my mouth would ache for a taste of it—until in my imagination, a soggy wet squirrel tail would pop to the surface of the pot. It wasn’t until many years later, when I actually tasted Brunswick stew (there were no tails, feathers or ears.), that I discovered how very delicious it is.

When you think of how available most foods are to us today, it can sometimes lead you to wonder how our pioneer ancestors could have survived. With no refrigeration and few (or no) grocery stores close by, they had to rely on common sense, imagination, and the land around them for most of their daily menu. It might be fun sometime to pretend backward into history, and try the diets of several of our forefathers. Depending on the section of this country that you would like to visit, and the time in history, you could come up with meals ranging from the most bland to the most delicious. Why not plan a historic supper for your family? Have an adult help you build a campfire, then follow the recipes below. Read the explanatory notes for each one. These notes will tell you the reasonings for the seasonings. (All of these recipes are adaptable to oven or stovetop cooking. You will need an adult to help you with them either way, but that’s a big part of the fun.)

Mud apples

This is a variation on a Native American cooking method.

4 large apples
A bucket of mud

Coat the apples with about an inch of mud on all sides, being sure that the mud is of a nice thick consistency. When the fire has burned long enough to make some coals, have your adult help you to scoop some of the coals to the side. Bury the apples in the coals, and leave them there for about 45 minutes. Scrape away the cooled coals. Knock the dry cooked mud off of the apples and discard the skins. Spoon up the sweet steamy pulp for a surprising treat.

Some groups of Native American people used a mud coating on their food as a sort of oven. The steam from the mud would keep fresh-caught fish moist, and as it dried and became clay-like, it protected the food from burning. When the mud was peeled off, it took a lot of the fish scales with it. A delicious instant meal.

Chuckwagon beans

This is a cattle trail recipe from the Midwest. Although this was originally done on the campfire, it might be best if you bow to modern convenience and do the cooking on a stove top.

A 16-ounce package of dry pinto beans
9 cups of water
Two large onions, peeled and chopped up
2 teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of oregano
½ teaspoon of garlic powder, or two cloves of sliced garlic
¼ teaspoon of pepper
1 tablespoon of brown sugar or molasses (add this last, and put in a little more if you like.)

Wash the beans and heat them along with 6 cups of water ’til they boil for five minutes, then turn the stove off. Let them sit for an hour. Add three more cups of water and boil it all again. Now add everything else, stir it up, and cook it for about an hour.

Cowpokes on the drive west had to settle for foods which were portable. That meant a basic menu of beans and lots of meat. For a treat, there was cornbread, biscuits, or a sweetened rice dish. Pinto beans (which are small and spotted when raw, like a pinto pony) seemed to be the favorite. When cooked, these beans swell up and turn a sort of pinkish white. They were first given to the settlers by the natives on the Mexican border.

When you eat beans with rice or corn, the two foods mix up inside your body to create an important type of protein which is like the protein in meat. (Your body is made largely of protein, and so you need to eat a lot of it.) That’s why the native Southwestern people were so healthy with a diet of mostly beans and corn and not much meat.

Baked pocket yams

These were “handy” during the winter months, and not particular to any one area of the country.

Take several sweet potatoes, individually wrap them in foil, and surround them on all sides with mounded hot coals. Occasionally turn the potatoes. Cook till the sweet steam pipes out of the foil (about 45 minutes). Poke into the potato with a clean sharpened twig to check for doneness (the center will be soft).

When the potatoes are done, DONT EAT THEM YET. Let them cool a bit, then slip one into each pocket to be used as hand warmers. These will keep you comfortable while you chat around the campfire. Pioneer mothers used to send their children off with these in the winter months to keep their hands toasty on the long walk to school. Then the kids would eat them for lunch. When you eat yours, you might want to use a dish and slather them up with butter.

Rice cakes

These were eaten all along the East coast.

1 egg
2 cups cooked rice
2 spring onions, chopped

Mix indgredients and fry on an oiled skillet. YUM.

A ship sailing from Madagascar in about 1685 was hit with bad weather and had to make a forced docking in Charles Town, South Carolina (now Charleston). The captain made friends with a local man, and as a present, he gave him some of the ship’s cargo . . . a bushel of rice. From that small gift was born the rice industry in America.

Rice needs the lowland swampy terrain that our coasts provide. That’s why in states like Louisiana and the Carolinas, tasty rice dishes are so common. Rice was (and is) easy to store and mixes well with lots of other ingredients. This recipe was (and is) simple to make, filling, and nutritious.

Brunswick stew

This version of the stew is as easy as 1-2-3. You don’t need to find a tobacco field to enjoy it.

Ingredients (All cans are the 16-ounce size.)

1 can of lima beans
1 can of corn
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of chicken, or 1 pound of fresh cooked chicken
1 squirrel tail (optional)
2 large onions, chopped up
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
3 cooked, peeled, and chopped potatoes
A dash of pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and salt
Cooking oil
Hot sauce to taste

Put the onions and a tad of oil into the pot first and cook them ’til they turn clear, then add all the rest.

Depending on the amount of juice from the vegetables, you might have to add a little water. Keep it bubbling, and stir it for about 20 minutes.

Two or three eastern communities with the name of “Brunswick” like to claim this stew as their own concoction, but generally, Brunswick County, Virginia, is given the credit. It is thought to have come about in the early 1800s.

Hoe cakes

These are a Southern tradition.

A pot full of water
3 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon of salt
Shortening

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Mix corn meal and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add boiling water ’til the batter becomes mushy but not stiff. Let this sit while you heat up some shortening in a skillet. When the shortening is hot but not smoking, drop several heaping tablespoons of the corn meal mixture into the pan.

Keep the corn “cakes” separate so they don’t run together. Turn down the heat a little, then flip them over and cook the other side. They should be flat and crispy golden brown. That’s it.

These are called HOE cakes because they were originally cooked over a fire on the flat part of a garden hoe. They are basically an African-American invention and are like those potato chips . . . you can’t eat just one—especially if you drip butter on top. ENJOY.


Clean Mud Sensory Play

This month’s sensory dough is clean mud! Clean mud isn’t exactly clean, but what sensory play activity isn’t messy?! The neat thing about this sensory dough is that it uses soap, so it is really easy to clean up! To make clean up all you need is a bar of soap, a roll of toilet paper, a grater and water!

To make clean mud is so simple your kids will love to help! First you need to shred the toilet paper into pieces. I found this to be the most tedious job and Caden wasn’t shockingly not really into helping me. Who knew it would take so long to shred a single roll of toilet paper? Hopefully you will have some willing participants to help you.

Next you’ll need to grade the bar of soap. This was a much quicker job and Caden enjoyed helping!

Once the toilet paper was all shredded and the bar of soap grated, we then mixed it up with water in a bin. I added some brown tempera paint to give it a muddy color.

I set up the muddy clean mud outside in a boot tray and added some monster trucks and off-roading vehicles so Caden could drive them through the mud! This is a very relevant activity for us this Spring, as our dirt road is full of mud and bumps!

Some fun books to go with Gone Mudding! Clean Mud Sensory Play:

Please check out more fun ways to play with Clean Mud from my co-hosts!


The 5 Best Mug Recipes You Can Make In Minutes

To kick off 2020, and to celebrate the launch of my ‘Gemma’s Mug Meals Mugs,‘ I thought it would be a good idea to do a video of my top 5 Best Mug Recipes You Can Make in Minutes! These mug recipes are the ones that really took the internet by storm so you won’t want to miss them! Counting down from No.5 to No.1, you might be really surprised what made the list…

5. Burrito in a Mug (Mugrito)

What’s that? You didn’t know you could make a breakfast burrito in a mug in the microwave, tortilla and all? This protein-packed mug meal is the perfect jump start to your day. Mix it up the night before and cook it off fresh in the morning. Head over to my Burrito in a Mug recipe.

4. Jelly Donut in a Mug (Mugnut)

From the moment the video went out with this mug cake in it, it was an instant hit! A soft, cinnamon cake with a jammy center and coated in sugar… that sounds like a donut to me! Go check out my Jelly Donut in a Mug!

3. Mac and Cheese in a Mug

Hugely popular with students, kids after school, AND anyone who just wanted an easy, hassle-free meal. Winner Winner Mac and Cheese Dinner!! See how easy it is to make my Mac and Cheese in a Mug!

2. Brownie in a Mug

It’s no wonder that millions of people wanted to see how they could make a homemade brownie in the microwave in minutes!

This recipe is easy to remember and can be made with basic cupboard staples. Head over to my Brownie in a Mug!

1. Microwave Mug Pizza

A Viral sensation straight out of the gate, this Microwave Mug Pizza made a real impression online! A simple crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperonis make up the layers of this hugely popular mug meal. What more do you want from a pizza. Head over now to Microwave Mug Pizza


How to Make Play Mud:

I found equal parts water and flour gave a nice consistency. But if you find it’s too runny or too thick just add more water or flour as necessary. The cocoa powder gives it that brown and muddy look! My toddler doesn’t really like to get messy…BUT he did love playing with this play mud! And he was having fun making the animals get dirty. We used a variety of Schleich forest animals for this. But even muddy trucks would be fun too!

To make this activity a bit more educational you can talk to your toddler about the different tracks animals make.

You can have them stamp the animals on some cardstock. They won’t exactly turn out like perfect tracks (you can try just a little bit of ‘mud’ but we just did it the messy way for fun).

We used the play mud two times in the same day. So you can keep it for the day and just put some saran wrap over it. This activity took a total of maybe 5-10 minutes of prep time but gave me over 1 hour of fun so I highly recommend you try it!

Want more sensory play fun? Try these 5 sensory bags made with food!

You also need to try playing with snow inside! Here are our tips for doing this!

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posted by The Best Ideas for Kids on January 21, 2017

About the Author

Kim is the author of the kids craft book, Fun & Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials. She is a mom of two that loves to share easy crafts, activities and recipes for kids.

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Mississippi Mud Cake is a Southern classic.

1 cup butter or margarine, or 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons, melted

1/2 cup cocoa (I use 100% pure cocoa)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups nuts of your choice( I use pecans or walnuts)

4 cups miniature marshmallows (Could use marshmallow fluff)

Melt butter in microwave. Whisk in cocoa, sugar, eggs, flour salt and vanilla. Fold in nuts. Spray a 17 x 11 x 1 inch jelly roll pan (or can make this in a 9 x 13 pan) with cooking spray. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes if using jelly roll pan or about 30 to 35 if using 9 x 13 pan checking for doneness as ovens vary. Remove from oven and spread marshmallows on top while the cake is still hot. (I put mine back in the oven for about 2 minutes to let the marshmallows begin to melt. Add frosting below over marshmallows.

1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all the frosting ingredients together with mixer. Spread over cake.

Note: I keep this cake in the refrigerator


The joy of mud

Many of us believe that a strong engagement with the natural world is vital for our children’s development, but amidst our busy lives, the wet boots, cold hands and uncomfortable over-trousers, how can we make it happen?

The many wonders of our technological age have undoubtedly presented the ‘simple pleasures’ with some stiff competition. Digital devices and TV are little short of addictive and a child who chooses the woods over screen time, is a rare beast indeed. So, before anything else, designate some time purely for outside fun, free from the distraction of phones and tablets.

Happily, millennia of human evolution has ensured that despite the pull of technology, children are still fully charged up with natural instincts and the deep-rooted drive to get out, seek food, water, shelter and warmth, can be a powerful motivator.

Kids don’t need educating to love the countryside, just the opportunity and encouragement to let their instincts kick in.

One such childhood instinct is an uncanny ability to sniff out a fake, so if you are hoping to inspire your children with natural wonders, it helps to be enthusiastic yourself.

A bird feeder in the garden is a good start. The children will soon pick up on your interest in the different feathered visitors and before long, with some help from a decent book, the whole family will be able to identify a selection of wild birds. With a shared passion for twitching, the family walk will now hold a new level of excitement for young and old.

With time set aside and a developing family appreciation of nature, we can now look at a few practical tips for unlocking those inner cave children. Food is a serious driver for most little ones and any country activity which incorporates eating is likely to be a resounding success.

Foraging then, is a great activity when it comes to getting children excited about being outdoors. Safely identifying and sampling even a few of the basics, such as sweet wild strawberries (fragaria vesca) whilst out and about can take things to an entirely new level.

However – if foraging isn’t your thing – anything food related, such as a picnic planned and packed with the kids and eaten in a special place, is always a winner.

As we work through the cornerstones of human instincts, it’s useful to remember that not being cold is another essential ingredient to children relishing being outside. Of course, children should be dressed in warm, comfortable clothes but this potential negative can also be used in imaginative ways to inspire and motivate them. Camp building and fire lighting are always popular and if it is a little cold or damp, the edge of ‘necessity’ will have the kids rushing about with great focus as they gather materials and kindling.

Hunting is another strong instinct, and although many would not choose to have their children pursuing live quarry, this very real urge can be harnessed in other ways. The good old scavenger hunt is a case in point and to hunt for objects such as feathers, acorns, and snail shells, with a prize at the end, is an exciting way for youngsters to engage with the natural world.

Finally, an attraction to danger is another childhood trait that can be drafted into service. From years of working with children, I have discovered a simple truth. Whittling a stick is ‘boring’ whilst whittling a long stick to make a spear is ‘amazing’. The impression of danger can be very inspiring (as long as in reality the activity is safe and well supervised). When planning kids sessions I incorporate as many fires, weapons and traps as I can.

Through my business Rural Courses I have worked with many children and I am always pleased to share my ideas. I hope that as the days lengthen, they may inspire you to get out and involve your children in what is after all, their natural world.

Michael White, founder of Rural Courses, was born and raised in the country and loved it so much that he stayed to build a self-sufficient life for himself and his family. The skills and techniques he teaches are those he uses daily to sustain his way of life and his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject ensures an inspirational and informative day.


Here are 10 excuses to let the kids play in the mud today!

1. Encourages Creativity (Emotional Development)

Mud Art: This offers endless opportunities for creative expression. Think mud sculptures, mud pictures/designs, and mud body painting.

2. Builds Problem Solving-Skills (Cognitive Development)

Cooperative Play: Think of all the negotiating, communicating and sharing that goes on in a kitchen. Children can also work alone in the Mud Kitchen and problem solve.

3. Uses Fine and Gross Motor Skills (Physical Development)

Kitchen Jobs: Think of the variety of tasks the Mud Kitchen offers children. Weighing, measuring and adding small loose parts to a Mud Pie with utensils all require fine motor skills.

Mixing mud flour in a large saucepan, transporting heavy buckets and reaching up high for a hanging pot all require gross motor skills.

4. Practice Listening and Taking Turns (Social Development)

Role Play: Think how children act out whatever they are learning. Mud Play is a sensory experience. Therefore, provides an abundance of things for children to talk about. The Mud Kitchen offers a platform for them to practice many of these life skills.

5. Plays a Role in Our Mood. Mud Makes us Happier! (Emotional Development)

Scientific Studies: Think how happy children are after playing in the Dirt. The magic is in the Dirt.

Recent scientific studies have connected the happy, relaxed and calm moods after Mud Play to the dirt that contains microscopic bacteria called Mycobacterium Vaccae. This bacteria increases the serotonin in our brains.

Now think about children who are not playing in the Mud? Do you see a difference?

6. Inspires caring for the environment (Social Development)

Connection to Nature: Think how vital it is in today’s world to get children outdoors to reconnect with nature. With nature-deficit disorder on the rise, Mud play creates memories and a relationship with our Earth.

Planting a seed, nurturing a plant and harvesting a garden will, in turn, inspire a connection to the care of our environment in the future. I call this, “Planting seeds of inspiration.”

7. Invites Inclusive Playful Learning Opportunities (Social, Emotional, Cognitive, Physical Development)

Open-ended Play: Think about adding Mud Kitchen Challenges (like in the photo above). These are great ways to add additional learning in an open-ended play environment.

8. Builds Stronger Immune Systems (Physical Development)

Scientific Studies: Think about the kids who get really dirty and how often they get sick. Now think about the kids who are constantly applying antibacterial potions and never going outside.

You will find it is the dirty kids who are healthier. Scientific studies show the same microscopic bacteria in the dirt that can make you happier have also proven beneficial to the immune system.

9. Invites a Total Sensory Experience (Physical Development, Social & Cognitive)

Sensory Play: Think of soaking your hands in a bucket of cold, mushy mud. Ahhhhh….. What is happening to you? Are you loving it? Or, is this a difficult thing to do?

Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.

10. Benefits the Heart and Skin (Physical Development)

Therapeutic: Adults pay good money for mud bath spas — a secret that children have known all along. Mud relaxes and soothes! This is all good for us!

Do you want to learn more? Check out More than Mud Pies: Making an Outdoor Mud Kitchen, an e-course facilitated by Victoria Hackett.


12 Months of Sensory Dough Recipes

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade playdough? What about slime? Better yet, have you ever heard of “clean mud”? If not, have no fear! Over the course of the next year, over 20 bloggers will gather to explore and discover one of my favorite materials used in Early Childhood… Sensory Dough Recipes!

Every month on the 12th, we will share a variety of spins, new recipes, tried and true recipes and activities you can do with the month’s featured sensory dough recipe! If you followed along last year, you know how we did this. We have switched up our line up just a little this year, but it will still be the same great resource you are used to.

Did you miss last year? Click here to read more sensory dough recipes.

Now are you ready for some awesome sensory dough recipes?


Watch the video: Volcanic Wonder Mud (September 2021).