Monday, March 8, 2010

Down and Dirty Fun for Kids

This week's Kaboose newsletter lists a bunch of things children can do to have some filthy fun in the dirt. I wonder if the author of that article knows that kids' fine motor coordination for writing improves when they plant seeds or make mud pies.

As a family, we did our fair share of planting veggies and herbs in the backyard, but the most fun my girls had in the dirt came when my older daughter, then age 5, gave my younger daughter, age 2, a mud bath in a large stainless steel bowl.

They pretended our youngest was the Mud Queen, and both of them ended up completely covered with brown ooze by the time they were finished. An outside shower in the grass with the help of the garden hose rinsed off a fair bit of the goo, but only warm baths with shampoo and conditioner could get them back to normal. They had so much fun that "Mud Queen" became one of their favorite summertime games. A friend once asked why I allowed the girls to make such a mess of themselves.

I replied, "I'm going to give them a bath before bedtime anyway. Why not?"

My daughters invented the most amazing stories during their muddy adventures. On occasion, they also dug huge holes on the other side of the hill in our yard, filled them with water, and called them mud springs. The backyard became a whole new world of magic and intrigue with good and bad guys and problems to solve.

Today both girls are amazing writers in their ladder high school years. Who knew these grimy games would contribute to an ability to write engaging stories and essays to absorb even the most reluctant readers?

The moral of the story: Good things come out of some of the biggest messes.

If you have a messy kid story to share, we'd love to see it!!