6 Benefits of Mud Kitchen Play
Mud kitchen play is so much more than just playing in the dirt, it is playing OUTSIDE in the dirt!!
Current statistics say that "children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation, devoting only four to seven minutes to unstructured outdoor play per day."
4-7 MINUTES! Some research suggests that children need 4-6 HOURS outside each day.
While these are just numbers, there is a lot of scientific studies that show how imperative outside play is for children.
It can aid in learning. It helps teach your babes about social interactions. It improves their fine motor skills, gets their bodies moving, and helps them to learn independence.
Here are 6 reasons your babes need outside play and how your mud kitchen can help!!
1. Encourages Learning
Playing outside helps our babes learn in so many ways! They learn better social skills, better cognitive skills, and better muscle coordination. Outside play and mud kitchen play both help stimulate their imagination and invite a whole new way of thinking. You can also add in some learning elements to their mud kitchen play. Add in a set of letters and work on letter recognition and sounds. Add in some numbers and work on counting. You could add in different types of animals and teach about their habitats and how they live. The options of learning while playing in the mud are endless!
2. Invites Social Interactions
"Studies have even shown that kids who play outdoors are less likely to bully other children. Outdoor play often requires imagination and teamwork, which helps children have positive interactions with each other." (www.miracle-recreation.com)
This isn't to say that they won't argue. There will be arguments, disputes about whose turn it is, or disagreements about their play. But, kids who play outside are more likely to get along better and learn to understand their peers better.
Mud kitchen play can definitely be a group play experience which offers them lots of opportunities for social interactions. Kids want to grow their social circle just as much as their parents do. When you have playdates over set the mud kitchen up for them! The kids will all play together and the mamas can take the time to chat and reconnect as well! It is a win win when everyone can fill their social cup from just one toy!
3. Improves Motor Skills
"Fine motor skills are those that require the ability to use and coordinate small muscle groups and are important for writing, shoe-tying, buttoning, and zipping, among other things." Click to read more. These muscles are so important and necessary for your babes to grow and develop! Playing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow these muscles.
Pouring, stirring, and scooping all aid in fine motor development. And, they all happen in mud kitchen play. Your babe is going to pour water into every container they can find. They will stir dirt, water, sand, rice, etc to make their own creations. They will naturally want to scoop items from one sink to another. You could provide them with a set of tongs and have them work on picking up items and moving them from on sink to the other. No matter how they play in their mud kitchen, it will help improve their fine motor skills which will lead to real life skills they need to develop as they grow.
4. Promotes Healthy Bodies
Playing outside gets our bodies moving and gets us outside into the sunshine! Vitamin D, found in the sunshine, is so important to calcium absorption and bone growth! It promotes strong bones, helps with heart health, and helps your immune system with fighting off infections. Plus, playing outside burns calories! It helps burn off energy which in turn helps our babes sleep better at night.
If your mud kitchen is outside then your child will definitely get some much needed vitamin D. They will grow stronger bones, use all their energy and be ready for bedtime. Plus, they will have played and burned calories so that they will have healthy bodies!
5. Creates Independence
Teaching our children independence is one of the most important things we can do as parents and guardians. When children play outside they inherently test their limits. They learn their own physical boundaries. They learn what their abilities are and they constantly test those abilities to grow and increase their skills. Playing in their mud kitchen offers a safe space for them to test their abilities and develop new ones. All of which help them build self esteem and create their independence.
6. Supports the Imagination
Outside play is full of imaginative play. Perhaps your kids play with their dinosaurs in the grass or maybe they set up an entire home and play "house" outside. Or, maybe the they want to play "restaurant". Whatever their imaginative play is, their mud kitchen will increase it. They need a kitchen for their "house" play and now they can make dinner for their baby dolls. Or, they need a place for their dinosaurs to wash off and drink water. Their mud kitchen makes the perfect watering hole. If "restaurant" is their choice of play today then the mud kitchen is the perfect place for that! They can make up all their own culinary creations right in their mud kitchen.
The benefits of playing outside are monumental. Mud kitchen play aids in your ability to help your child play outside. Plus, it gives you a break and helps your babes play independently!