When I was a baby, my mom let me eat dirt. I was probably about one at the time, and I had a mouthful of dirt. This might make you cringe, but I’m glad my parents never limited my ability to explore nature. To this day, I’m a nature-lover and when I’m in nature I feel the most at peace. Whether they knew it or not, they were onto something. There are major benefits to let kids get dirty. It’s actually good for them.
I recently did a little survey on my Instagram stories to see how parents feel about letting kids get dirty. It surprised me that nearly 40% of parents who responded did not let their kids play in the mud. I actually thought the vast majority of parents would let their kids play in the dirt, but I was wrong.
Listen, I do understand. It’s not the most fun for parents to have to clean up their kids after they romp in the mud. Yes, it might ruin their clothes, yes, they might need four baths in a day, but I personally think it’s worth it.
1. Playing In the Mud Helps Them Learn
For my day job, I try to get kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Do you know kids are natural scientists and engineers but they often don’t even know it? They ask questions constantly, they explore, they want to understand. That’s what scientists do. Unfortunately, a lot of people lose this natural curiosity and creativity with time. Playing in the mud, letting kids get dirty, offers them a hands-on and fun approach to learning.
2. Exposure to Dirt Makes Them Healthier
Believe it or not, being dirty is actually good for them. We live in the cleanest, most sanitized world we’ve ever known, and it’s not good for us. Dirt helps our bodies develop immunity, so our immune systems are actually stronger and better able to fight diseases. There is a lot of research on the negative effects of over sanitizing and sterilizing our environments. Just do a quick internet search and you’ll find tons of articles.
3. They Will Have More Fun
I personally believe childhood should be about playing, exploring and just having fun. Childhood is the short period of time where we simply get to be. Let them examine their world, let them experiment, let them be kids. Let’s not worry so much about whether they look IG-worthy, let’s let them just be free.
4. Being Outside is Good for Them
There are many many reasons that being outside in nature is good for our kids. I wrote this article about the 10 surprising benefits of kids being present in nature. Their stress will go down, their mental and physical health will go up and they will be happier.
Do you let your kids play in the mud and dirt? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop me a comment or let’s chat on social media!