7 ways to welcome mud season

mud sensory table

Oh my lord, I thought it would never come. But despite the waist-high piles of snow and ice settled around my house, there’s finally been enough thawing to begin to welcome that lovely microseason of early spring known round these parts as Mud Season. Although I know it will soon have my washing machine begging for mercy, I am so excited for my kiddos to have something to play in outside besides the ice and snow that has blanketed our part of the world since last November.

Let the Children Play had a great post a few years ago on how to embrace and even, gulp, enhance mud play for preschool-aged kids.

Puddle jumping is the classic mud season activity, and one that kids certainly don’t need to be taught or provided any encouragement to do, in my experience. But I’m just putting it on here to encourage parents to give it a try themselves! I think my all time favorite Henry and Mudge story is Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble, where Henry and Mudge sneak out and go bonkers in a huge mud puddle, and then when Henry’s dad finds them, instead of being mad that they a) snuck out without a grown-up, b) made an enormous mess of themselves, and c) splashed mud all over him, he just decides to jump in along with them. I absolutely adore these photos that Melissa of Fireflies and Mud Pies took of her boys going to town in some amazing mud puddles.

Another great idea is to stock a simple mud pie kitchen, like this one from Inner Child Fun. Some vessels, some utensils, a water source, and a few extra ingredients like dried beans or birdseed, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet set up for some mud kitchen magic.

You can also use mud to create art with, believe it or not. Anything from making hand- and foodprints on a large cardstock or canvas

to making sculptures and drawings with mud

and apparently, you can even make paint out of mud!

Speaking of paint, I can’t wait for a good rainy day to try this cool raindrop splatter paint project from Little Page Turners.

Happy mudding, and if you’ve got any more fun mud-based play ideas, send ’em my way!

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embracing entropy

At the cold, blustery end of last fall we dumped the scrabbly remnants of our once-pristine, fancy, silica-free, child-safe sand out of the sand/water table and stored it away it for the winter. I was pretty sure I was going to just get some new sand to restock it in the spring but it’s June and I don’t seem to have gotten around to it… I’ll just add it to the list of things that I meant to do but the longer I don’t do it the less the likelihood it will ever actually happen. Like organizing my basement or going to graduate school.

However, I’ve found that life with a disorganized basement and measly Bachelor’s degree is still pretty livable, so perhaps life with a sandless sand-table will work out OK for us too. Early this spring the table was employed as a mud-pie kitchen, and later I threw a bunch of straw leftover from my lawn rehabilitation efforts (sorely needed as you can see in this photo) into the sand-half.

mud sensory table

A couple of weeks ago, when sunny weather finally deigned to bestow itself on Vermont, I decided the time for indoor sensory play was over and banished to the yard a tub of birdseed that had been played in all winter, and eventually scattered over the kitchen floor. I thought that it might attract a bunch of birds to watch, or at least squirrels, but it seems the only ones interested were the children, who apparently poured it into the “sand” table, because I looked in there the other day and found this:

DSC09433s

I guess that when I give my children mud, straw, and dirty birdseed as playthings, I shouldn’t be too shocked when they adopt burnt firewood as toys. A few days after the sand table garden discovery, I found my 5-year-old playing ocean with the following creatures:

SharkDSC09534s
Sea Hare (a gigantic sea slug)DSC09542s

Angler FishDSC09564s

Hey, it’s more outdoor toys that I don’t have to store in my disorganized basement next winter!