Mud Zone

Here it is. The week you’ve all been anxiously anticipating.
The week where I tell you grown ups to stand facing your backyard and find somewhere you are willing to dedicate to mud.

The time I let all the children
paint themselves with mud.

I waited until week 9 to filter out all the less committed families. You’ve stuck with me this long so I know you are committed to your child’s freedom in playful exploration. You don’t need me to explain the benefits of mud play, you already know them. So….without further ado here we go.

First thing you are going to want to do (after you have picked an area) is to build a tippy tap. If you don’t know what a tippy tap is pause for a moment to feel grateful for never having experienced what life would be like without running water.

One…….two…..three…..we are so so fortunate to live in such an abundant place.

My daughter 12 years ago

Ok. Now head on over to these instructions and start gathering some supplies. They are pretty simple ones that you can probably find relatively easily.

The reason you want to build the tippy tap is two fold:

  1. Mud play is more fun with water and they will stay engaged longer.
  2. Your child can wash their hands BEFORE coming into your house.

Why build the tippy tap instead of just providing a bucked with water in it?
Because a bucket can get dumped. It will be contaminated with dirt almost immediately and unless you want to give your child access to your yard hose (which I DON’T recommend) you are going to be filling bucket after bucket of water for them.

So! Save yourself the headache and make one of these. They are awesome and you’ll love them. Camping in the forest will be forever changed. If you’d like feel free to watch one of my favorite Forest School teachers, Lee Cook show us how it’s done in his backyard.

So far we have:

  1. Chosen an area to be dedicated to MUD.
  2. Built a Tippy Tap.

Last thing we need to do is add some supplies.

After over a decade of playing with kids in the dirt here are my absolute favorite mud/sand/dirt play tools. Right now all of these things can be found at Surplus Herby’s for around $50.

  • Stainless Steel Buckets
  • Stainless Steel Bowls
  • Muffin Tins
  • Cake Tins
  • Ice Cream Scoops
  • Bulk Bin Scoops

Now as the pictures show, you really don’t need to add anything.

Dirt + water = mud = messy fun

In your kits this week are some muddy recipes for your children to be inspired to play with. I even laminated them so they will hold up for a little while longer outdoors.

Tree Spirits

Once upon a time long, long ago the forest was home to many magical creatures. Before there were cars or lights or large buildings, when the world was still a wild place full of mysteries there was said to be a wild little fairy boy living in the forest outside of a very small village in a place called Scotland.

Scotland is home to many fairies and magic things and the people who lived there told stories of the incredible things they had seen. One of those wondrous things was the fairy boy. He had dark tangled hair, his face was dirty and his clothes were made from the green mosses and leaves from the birch trees in the wood where he lived. While most fairies are mischievous and to be avoided, it was said that this fairy had an unusually good nature.

Though the little fairy boy was shy and timid, many children from the village had seen him playing wildly with abandon in the forest near their homes.

One day a little girl from the village wandered too far from home after dinner and it suddenly got very dark. She soon found that she was lost in the forest and could not find her way back home. Alone and scared the little girl slumped down against the tallest and largest tree she could find and began to cry. The little girl’s sobs and tears attracted the attention of the fairy who cautiously came closer to the lost child. When he realized she was lost he stayed with her all through the dark night.

In the morning the fairy helped the little girl find her way out of the woods. From then on the fairy was known to the villagers as Ghillie Duh which is the Gaelic term for “little dark-haired lad”.

Ghillie Duh was known as a friendly tree spirit who protected children who went into the forest. Perhaps you can make a friendly tree spirit to protect you in your back yard?

You will need:

  • Clay
  • Things to decorate your face:
    • small pebbles
    • small sticks
    • leaves
    • moss
  • A tree!