Have Some Good, Clean Fun in the Dirt

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Like most moms, you have probably said to your children at some point, “don’t track dirt in the house” and “don’t jump in that mud puddle.”

But kids have always been drawn to playing in the dirt. And did you know that it can be good for their health? Studies show that children who play outside and get dirty can help build their immune system,1 lower stress, reduce anxiety,2 facilitate learning, and more.

International Mud Day is June 29, but your kids don’t have to wait to celebrate. Explore these five ways to get your kids outside for some down and dirty fun—and check out our tips for cleaning up afterward.

Get Cooking

Mud pies may be old-fashioned, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still good, grimy fun. And they’re easy to make! Just help your child find some thick, sticky mud. (If the ground is dry, you can both dig up some dirt and mix it with water in an old pie tin or plastic container.) Using his hands or an old spoon, have your child scoop the mud into a ball and mold it into a pie shape. Thin the rest of the mud to make a sauce, pour it over the pie, and serve. (You might want to remind younger children that these pies are for playing, not for eating.)

Get Artistic

Whether your child prefers 2-D or 3-D art, mud can be the “paint” or the “clay.” Help him thin out the mud to make “paint.” Using recycled cardboard or construction paper, he can use his hands or sticks to make beautiful paintings. With thicker mud, he can model his own creation—using other natural elements such as sticks, stones, and leaves for a one-of-a-kind sculpture.

Get Planting

Give your child an early horticulture lesson with some dirt, a few seeds, and a recycled plastic tub. Simply fill the tub with dirt and plant the seeds according to the directions on the package. Let your child choose whether to plant flowers or vegetables. Then find a sunny spot on a windowsill, and have your child keep the plant watered until it germinates.

Get Building

Mud can make perfect bricks for building castles, towers, pyramids, and more. Simply have your child fill the compartments of an ice cube tray with mud. (You’ll want the consistency to be thick and somewhat dry. Let him add water if the mud is so dry it won’t pack into the ice tray.) Have your child set the tray in the sun to dry, then carefully remove the bricks, and start building!

Get Cleaned Up

Playing in the mud can mean an afternoon of fun for your little one, but it will also be messy. Have him scrub up afterward with Safeguard with GermShield+. It removes 99% of all germ types during washing, and keeps three of four germ types away for up to 12 hours of protection after hand washing—longer than any other antibacterial soap.

1 CBS News, 2009; Dr. Mary Ruebush, Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends

2 Kuo, PhD, Frances E., and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD. “A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence from a National Study.” American Journal of Public Health 94. 9 Sept. 2004. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1448497