Without a shadow of a doubt children are the inventors of mud kitchens. Children have been making mud pies and preparing dandelion tea for centuries. It is only recently adults recognise the versatility and benefits of this natural form of heuristic play. Mud kitchens provide the most simple form of role play and creativity using everyday items and of course mud.
Mud kitchens are in the muddy corners of gardens where children who mind getting their hands dirty gravitate to. They are a parents nightmare but a source of endless pleasure to children. All children need are old kitchen utensils such as a sieve, pans, bowls, wooden spoons, water, soil and garden weeds.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) recognises the educational benefits of mud kitchens for younger children and incorporates them into their guidelines. All children enjoy mud kitchens in the playground and many schools proudly mention their kitchens in their school prospectus.
Mud kitchens are fantastic resources for children as they provide many learning opportunities. Even getting their hands dirty has health benefits due to the serotonin lifting Mycobacterium vaccae bacteria present in soil. Playing in mud really does make children happier on a biological and pleasure level.
Yes mud makes children stronger and healthier by exposing their immune system to bacteria giving it the chance to develop antibodies. Apparently really wet mud is the best type of mud to do this. It’s not good for the washing pile but great for children’s health.
Children learn how to share and weight for utensils while chattering the whole time. They are able to hone the conversational skills because they have something common to talk about. Their listening skills improve because it is essential in the art of good conversation. Children are able to recount what they have made and show others what to do. The children following the instructions apply these skills to the classroom and learning.
Cognitive function is vitally important in enabling children to run their lives successfully. It is the conductor to the orchestra of life and poor cognitive function results in difficult problem solving, behaviour issues and a general understanding of how the world works. The only way to develop cognitive function is by experience it cannot be taught. An example of this is a child who grabs equipment having to give it back until they ask for it politely.
Making something from nothing is a wonderful feeling so creating amazing dishes and other culinary delights is extremely rewarding. Children can produce natural artworks based on Any Goldsworthy who is famous for using natural materials in his work. Mud is great to use like paint and decorate with daisies in fact the creative possibilities are endless. Creativity gives children the skill to look at problems from many different angles which is vital in this world where original thinking is the key to success.
Children learn about floating and sinking, ratios of soil to water and how much water different containers hold through the medium of play. They will be more able to understand concepts because they have already tried them out. Teachers can incorporate science and maths in outdoor play sessions.
It is easy for children to recreate the activities they do in school in their own garden so they are able to occupy themselves. Heuristic play involves playing with objects they find in the world around them. Mud kitchens are the ultimate heuristic play activity and beats tablets and laptops hands down in terms of play value.
If you would like to find out about mud kitchens please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options.
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