Tag Archives: Mud Motor Skills

Expressions of Philosophy

Kate Shapcott

Early Childhood Teacher

Blue Gum Room

Springfield Child Care and Early Education Centre

 

Do you remember playing in the rain as a child? Did you delight in jumping in muddy puddles? Do you remember the relief of a cooling shower on sweaty summer skin?

 

The recent bout of showery weather prompted me to reflect on how we express our philosophy through everyday experiences with the children. A professional colleague asked me how our children were reacting to being inside due to the weather, the assumption being that children need to be protected from a little summer rain. Of course, with our indoor-outdoor program, our children have the freedom and flexibility to move inside and outside for much of the day even when it’s muddy and damp outside. No one is forcing them to shelter from the rain or to be in it. It’s their choice and we respect that choice and that’s how they learn to make good choices; through experience and encouragement.

 

 

We always work closely with parents and if a parent requests that their child stay out of the wet then we naturally respect that. They are the experts on their child. Parents who choose our centre tend to value the emphasis on experiencing the natural world in all it’s diversity. That’s why our Mayfield farm visits are so popular! It’s wonderful when families visit the farm with us or come on excursions to the park or Mobile Library.

 

As a child did you play with cousins, neighbours or the children of your parent’s friends? Did you learn how to relate to older children and to younger ones?

 

Last week I was enjoying spending time with children on the big swing and I reflected on how natural it is for children of many ages to play together and learn from each other. The environment we create is relaxed and friendly because for much of the day the children can choose to play wherever they like. Siblings are free to spend time together, older children learn how to look out for and look after the younger ones, younger children learn from watching and playing with the older children. This creates a sense of community and inclusion. It reflects ancient ways of being and becoming, the power of learning within a community.

 

Do you remember singing and dancing as a child? Or the joy of learning something new? Of listening to a story and having the world of imagination opened to you?

 

Honouring the power of play is integral to our approach. Within the Kindergarten Program we have some structured group experiences and activities, always playful, always fun. They create a sense of belonging and an opportunity for explicit teaching that prepares the children for the next stage of their educational lives while remaining entirely appropriate to this stage of development. I delight in the enthusiasm the children show for these special times and respect that it’s the process not the product that is paramount in Early Childhood Teaching. I still fondly remember my time at Kindergarten, all those many years ago. Do you?

Learning Through Mud Play

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Learning Through Play – Mud Kitchen

 

In this busy tech-driven world of children’s entertainment, mud play is at the other extreme. An hour or mud play will provide a host of assets to your child’s young life. The benefits far outweigh the messy results!

 

 

The Tools for Mud Play

Assemble a range of kitchen items because your child will inevitably want to imitate your own action in the kitchen, which means things like bowls, cups, scoops, wooden spoons, ladles, a sieve and cake tins. Add some elements of nature like leaves, gum nuts or other large seed pod, small flowers, and seeds. If you have toy dump trucks or other truck that can hold mud add them to the mud play. Also consider any other item that can be used to make a mud stamp – like a halved potato, or plastic animal figure to produce animal tracks, or even an old pair of baby shoes. Art supplies like brushes, sponges, are also useful. And finally you’ll need some dirt and water supplied in watering cans or plastic jugs.

Sensory Experience

Mud play is the ultimate sensory experiences of childhood. And when combined with the outdoors and creative freedom, it’s the perfect recipe for learning through play because oozy, squishy mud will create the kind of sensory stimulation that is essential for a child’s brain development.  Mud is a unique in texture and the patting, slapping, plopping and throwing of mud, without the filter of adult judgement, is pure joy for a child. You’ll also find mud kitchen an engrossing and calming experience for your child.

Mud Creativity

Mud can be formed into shapes and arranged in patterns. Allow their creativity to flow with some encouragement to form whatever shape or pattern they desire. Make the experience open ended by offering any number of kitchen items to make their own mud masterpieces. A muffin tray can be a great addition to mud play. Allow the child to create their own mud mixture by using their judgements about amounts of water and dirt. You can also supply paper and encourage the child to paint with the mud on paper or apply mud to the paper with sponges. Ask open-ended questions like: “why did you decide to make that?”; “what else could you make with mud?”.

Mud Motor Skills

Eye-hand coordination is improved with mud play, as are other motor skills when they use shovels and bowls, lift and pour, mix, sit, squat, stand and carry. The more kitchen utensils and other items you supply the more exploration and motor-skill engagement that will occur.

Role Play

Any game that allows a child to role play is helping them understand and master relationships. Cause and effect is played out with mud play and being chef, home cook, or little scientist allows them to imagine life as an adult and gain insight into the emotions and outcomes of their actions.

Outdoor Play

Like all our play-through-learning suggestions, if you can conduct the mud play session outdoors it’s always better. The outdoors gives a child the opportunity to interact with nature, appreciate their natural environment and builds curiosity in the outside world. And of course, it’s much easier to clean up mud play in the garden.

Mud play is not something that every parent wants their child to do everyday, but as a regular activity in their preschool years, you’ll find they thrive in this messy environment. The disadvantages of some messy clothes, dirty utensils and kitchenware are far outweighed by the benefits and joys it will bring your child.