Oh My Mud! The History of International Mud Day
Celebrating International Mud Day!
International Mud Day is June 29th this year, and we here at Kodo encourage you to get muddy and have some fun! With just over a week until the fun begins, there’s still plenty of time to plan and prep!
What is International Mud Day?
In 2008, Gillian McAuliffe, Pedagogista and Founder of Bold Park Community School in Perth, Australia, found herself at the World Forum for Early Childhood Care and Education. There, she had a discussion with a colleague from Nepal about the challenges children face when playing together in the mud. On the plane returning from the Forum, McAuliffe contemplated the obstacles that stand between many children and their ability to enjoy the simple, natural act of playing in mud. Challenges such as cultural preferences for cleanliness, lack of access to “disposable” clothing that can be dirtied and proper cleaning supplies, or dry, sandy geography not conducive to muddy conditions.
When she returned to school in Perth, she shared her experience with a large group of 7 and 8 year olds. They, in turn, decided to fundraise to purchase clothing for Nepalese children, so that they could all play in the mud “together”. Their efforts raised over $1000, which paid for new clothing for children in Bishnu, Nepal, where a Mud Day event was held for Panchkhal orphanage. Now, every year on June 29th, children from all over the world celebrate International Mud Day as a way to connect and celebrate the natural joys of playing in the mud!
How can you participate?
Mud Day was meant to be celebrated from anywhere in the world, and you can join the fun no matter where you are! We’ve found the easiest way to find a locally organized event is to search “International Mud Day” on Facebook and filter results as “events”. Having trouble locating an event near you? It’s easy to host an International Mud Day event on your own! On its most basic level, all you need is dirt, water, and friends!
Ingredients for a successful mud day event:
- There’s no such thing as mud day without lots of dirt! Topsoil can be found at hardware stores, on Craigslist, dug up from your backyard… and the more dirt, the better!
- To turn that dirt into mud, we’ll need water! Having a nearby hose is the easiest way to supply water for a muddy mess.
- You’ll need lots of dedicated space for playing and getting muddy.
- Mud day is even better with friends, family, and neighbors – all ages should be welcomed and encouraged.
- Mud-approved attire is necessary – you can wear anything you don’t mind getting mucky! Swimsuits, t shirts, shorts – if it’s parent-approved for making a mess, then it’s ready for Mud Day!
- An open mind, imagination, and patience – things will get messy, very, very messy, but very, very fun!
- Bonus points for buckets, shovels, pans, spoons, and other materials that inspire dramatic role play and creativity.
- Additional bonus points for encouraging physical exercise through play. For example, set up muddy slip and slides, mud crawl races, or other active events!
Insight and advice from seasoned mud day celebrators:
- Be prepared for things to get messy! Really, really messy. Keep the hose handy for rinsing off mud, and have a stack of clean towels stored in a place separate from the muddy play. Consider bringing a change of clothes for the car ride home.
- Have a good nozzle for your hose – this will make cleaning off much much easier.
- Resist the urge to jump in a pool while covered in mud! Your pool’s plumbing and filter system will thank you.
- While we encourage your muddy play space to be as large as possible, we’d recommend using a plastic pool to fill with dirt and water if you’re limited on space or concerned about trying to contain the mess. The pool won’t be able to completely contain every drop of mud, but it’s a good start and a better option than having no Mud Day festivities at all.
- There’s a good chance someone will get upset, and it most likely won’t be a child. It can be overwhelming for some grown ups to see the mud and muck, especially when/if the mud starts to stray outside the designated play space into “clean zones”. Try to stay calm and keep it all in perspective – at the end of the day, a little dirt shouldn’t hurt!
Tips for creating educational moments:
- Invite children to dictate their slurry recipes to you
- Ask questions that help children describe consistency, texture, and the results they are seeking:
- What does it feel like?
- How are you making it? What’s your recipe?
- What tools are you using to make it, measure it, and mix it?
- How much will you make?
- How will you use it when you’re done?
- Incorporate descriptive words and vocabulary into your conversations, such as slurry, concoction, viscosity, thick, thin, soupy, gloppy, runny, squishy, etc.
So, will you be celebrating International Mud Day? If you do, please share your photos and help tell the world about International Mud Day! We love to see your Mud Day photos, and encourage you to tag @kodokids on Instagram, @kodokidsUSA on Twitter, or post photos to our wall on Facebook! Happy International Mud Day, everyone! Go out, get muddy, and have some fun!
Enhance your International Mud Day play with these mud-friendly materials!
International Mud Day History Source: http://www.boldpark.com/history-international-mud-day/
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