Parents often ask how to survive spring mud season with children. Playing in the mud is one of the best things a young child can do! Mud can give your child so much sensory input and foster great creativity. Springtime is sometimes affectionately known as Mud Season where I’m from – and for good reason! There is MUD – EVERYWHERE! And my kids LOVE it.
But how do I let them play in the mud and also keep my sanity in check? I mean, I love a clean house there’s no hiding that. Clutter and dirt drives me nuts! But what’s good for my children’s development trumps my need for a clean house in most cases.
The secret though is to suit them up properly and have some child lead activities planned for them to choose from.
What To Wear?
For my younger children who are under age four, I like to use Muddy Buddy brand suits. They are absolutely amazing! They are loose fitting so that the child can move easily, are one piece so that younger ones don’t get mud up their backs, and they have an attached hood for when it is actually raining.
For the older set, age 5-9 or so, I like to use a lined spring/fall jacket with a hood and a pair of good quality slush pants.
All kids wear rain boots with good quality warm tall socks underneath. Wool is a great fabric to use in the winter but great for early spring as well since it can still be sort of chilly, especially if they’re wearing rain boots and not winter boots anymore.
The key to staying warm and having fun during Mud Season is to wear layers. Underneath the waterproof outer layer, we wear tights or sweatpants, short sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts. Cotton, wool, or silk are the best types of fabric to wear since they breathe and won’t cause you to sweat.
For my girls, I always tie back their hair in a ponytail so that they aren’t brushing their hair out of their way and getting mud in it at the same time.
What To Do?
Go For A Walk
Going for a walk is the simplest thing you can do! Along the way, you’ll find loads of puddles and you’ll spot all sorts of birds and creatures that have come alive for spring.
You can plan a scavenger hunt along your route to add some purpose to your walk. Make up a sheet of paper with some things on it you know you’ll find along the way. Then plan a fun activity to do with them once you’re home!
I LOVE a good mud kitchen! We recently moved and haven’t had the chance to re-create a mud kitchen in our new location. But it’s at the top of my list for this spring! Mud kitchens can easily and cheaply be made from a few bins you can buy from a box store or find at the thrift store.
You can get fancy and build a mud kitchen from new wood with some simple plans. Alternatively, you can buy an existing piece of furniture, like a coffee table, and cut holes in the top to match the size of the bins you’ve chosen. Make sure you paint any piece of furniture you find and intend to keep outside. Or stain and seal any new pieces of furniture you make. This will ensure that your creation lasts through many Mud Seasons and will outlast your children!
Scoops and Bowls
These go with the mud kitchen but can also be used alone in a puddle or pile of dirt found in a corner of the garden! The best place to get a bunch of scoops and bowls is to go to the thrift store. There you will find many discarded measuring cups and old kitchen utensils that will be perfect to use with mud.
Kids will create so many things using scoops and bowls! Cakes, smoothies, pies, and more! Carrying heavy bowls of mud is great heavy work for children and makes them feel like they have a purpose!
Building a mud hut is a GREAT activity for the older set! Have them gather medium size branches to build a teepee-like structure, and then use smaller sticks and twigs with evergreen foliage attached to fill in the gaps. Then have them scoop up mud from your favourite mud pit to pat onto the sides.
Once it stops raining the mud will dry onto the structure and they’ll have a house they’ve created all by themselves!
Clean up is relatively easy once your children are finished playing outside. Pre-rinsing boots outside are helpful! Once inside, peel off their outer layer and put directly into your tub or washing machine to be washed. It’s as easy as that!
There’s no reason to stay inside just because it’s muddy or raining. There are so many new and interesting things to see, do, and smell during spring mud season that shouldn’t be missed!
The question shouldn’t be how to survive spring mud season with children because your kids will THRIVE! Enjoy!