“Look at the mud pie I made!”, “Want to help me plant these seeds?” , “I wonder how high the sunflower we planted will grow?”, “Let’s climb this tree!” are all phrases and questions heard from the children everyday. We are fortunate enough to have so many outdoor and open playspaces on our campus. Sandboxes to dig in, trees to climb, areas to create fairy houses, nooks and crannies to explore and puddles to splash in. We also have an outdoor mud kitchen in which there is a sink, kitchen supplies, pots, pans and all you could want to create the perfect mud pie. Our campus has several garden beds that the children may help with, take care of, plant, water and weed. These spaces are utilized and enjoyed by all the children as much as possible when weather is not severe. We understand it is not always ideal (or enjoyable) when your child comes home with dirty and/or wet clothes, hand and shoes but lets look at the benefits and “art” of getting dirty.
Dirt can actually make you feel happy! There are types of bacteria naturally found in soil that activate neurons that product serotonin..a natural anti-depressant!
Dirt is great for the immune system! Early exposure to naturally occurring microbes in soil will help build stronger, more disease-resistant children! Without enough exposure to different bacteria and microbes, the immune system doesn’t learn to recognize its own cells and this could lead to higher rates of asthma, eczema, and other diseases.
Kids are not getting enough time to play outside which can be linked to attention disorders, depression, and obesity.
Children who play outside laugh more! It lowers blood pressure and reduces stress
Helps character development! Children who play outside and get dirty become more adventurous, self motivated, and helps them to better assess risk.
Still not convinced? When your child helps with our gardening, they might be getting their pants and knees dirty by kneeling in the soil, but they are also working on fine motor skills, learning scientific concepts and how to care for the environment as well as practicing patience and developing math skills. Children who garden are also more likely to try what they grow and encourages healthy eating.
We know scrubbing grass stains and cleaning under dirty fingernails is hard to do after a long day but it has been shown that direct exposure to the outdoors is essential for healthy childhood development. Help spread the word….Dirt don’t hurt!