Delving into the meanings of mud play

January 10, 2018

Section 8 of the Making a Mud Kitchen book.

boy using a trowel to pour mud into a muffin tin
Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: all ages

Duration: less than an hour

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: mud, mud kitchen, mud kitchen book

Category: outdoor play

Delving into the meanings of mud play

Young children are endlessly interested in – and biologically programmed to explore – the stuff of the earth, how materials behave and what they do.

Making connections through discovering and investigating cause and effect is the stuff of brain development and scientific process. Curiosity, fascination and the pleasure of finding thing out are fundamentally important to the human state – being human.

An even more powerful level of experience for the explorer is that they are the one making things happen – giving feelings of control and power, and over time, building a child who has a strong inner sense of agency (which itself is key to well-being and mental health).

child watching a baster of muddy water squeezed through a sieve and a funnel into a bottle

The processes of making ‘concoctions’ brings the worlds of science and art completely together through possibility thinking.

The growth of imagination and creativity happens through building on concrete cause-and-effect experience to posing and predicting ‘what if…?’ Good scientists do this all the time, as do artists and all other innovators.

Even better, the experience of making concoctions brings the child into the realms of magic and fantasy – reminding us of the ancient fascinations of alchemy.

boy watching petals being poured into a suacepan