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Message from Tamara: In Praise of Mud

“the world is mud-licious and puddle-wonderful.”
-ee cummings

PIC joins schools, families, and children around the world in celebrating International Mud Day on June 29th, a joyous day of full-body contact with one of nature’s most basic materials. Humans have been working with mud as a creative and utilitarian medium from our earliest days, whether as cave paintings, mud huts or clay vessels. And there is no doubt the joy it brings everyone from the toddlers feeling the cool slurry on their bare bellies to the four-year old serving up delicious stick, grass and mud pies.

Throughout the year, teachers provide age-appropriate experiences with messy materials in the classroom and outdoors, whether splashing through puddles or watching goop slowly ooze through their fingers. While these experiences often require a bit of clean-up, and sometimes even special clothes (did you know you can buy rain pants  for young children?), we know from research the myriad benefits of messy sensory play, from developing hand-eye coordination and providing opportunities for making marks (pre-writing!) to offering chances for measuring and counting to encouraging representational play and storytelling. These sensory experiences build body awareness and control and are rich with descriptive language.  In her book, The Language of Art: Inquiry-Based Studio Practices for Early Childhood, Ann Pelo compares the introduction of a large block of clay to young children as meeting a new friend, an encounter filled with joy, curiosity, questions, and play. And so, this June 29th, we hope that you will revel in the messy glorious fun that is mud!