When we see mud puddles, we avoid them. When kids see mud puddles, they jump and splash in them. That is, if we adults let them. During the holidays in between rainfalls I took my kids and a friend of theirs for a walk where I let them go wild in mud puddles.
Turns out a muddy walk is actually good for them. Too often we’re worried that dirt and germs will harm our kids, but the opposite is true according to experts.
A mud splashing walk is good for health
Dirt and mud can make kids healthier by helping build up their immune systems. Just look at some of these headlines reporting study after study:
Let kids get dirty. It’s good for them. (Futurity – Research news from top universities)
Babies know: A little dirt is good for you. (NY Times)
Dirt can be good for children, say scientists. (BBC News)
Playing in the mud is good for kids (India Times)
NU study: Dirt’s good for kids (Chicago Tribune)
Immunologist Dr Mary Ruebus, author of “Why Dirt is Good: 5 ways to make germs your friends” explained in an interview: “But it’s so important for children to develop their immune responses. And without exposure, this cannot happen. It’s called the hygiene hypothesis. It’s been around since 1989. It’s not new information. But, absolutely, the failure to expose your children to normal environmental things causes the immune response to turn inward on itself. So the development of allergies and what we call auto-immune disease is clearly related to the increase in cleanliness in our society.” (CBS News)
A mud splashing walk is good for happiness
I love watching the sheer childhood joy when my children splash away. Research has shown that soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, in other words dirt, can alleviate depression and improve mood. In fact M. vaccae – dirt – might even make us smarter as well as less anxious according to another study.
In 2012 the US National Wildlife Federation released a ‘Dirt report’ on How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids. I’ve also written before about how a nature walk can make kids healthier, smarter and happier.
A mud splashing walk is good fun
I watched three children having a great time outdoors. They ran from path to path in search of the next best puddle. Despite grey skies and rain, they just had fun enjoying a nature walk. Then they found deep mud to explore! Instead of tears when one of them lost their boot in the mud and then another fell in trying to rescue them, I heard huge squeals of laughter and squelches of thick mud as they tried to get back to firmer soil.
‘Mud, Mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!
So follow me, follow
Down to the hollow
And there let us wallow
In glorious mud’
(The Hippotamus by comic duo Flanders & Swann, 1960)
Back home I spent the next hour pouring dirty water out of boots, rinsing mud out of clothes and wiping away muddy footprints by the door, while three relaxed children smiled and laughed…and smiled and laughed. They clearly had enjoyed their messy, dirty, mud splashing walk.
25 thoughts on “A mud splashing walk is good”
Mine love a good muddy walk and that’s great given that we’re surrounded by mud at the moment.
Nothing better than dirt and mud to play in…as far as kids are concerned!
Having just spent a few days trying to avoid took many puddles (bogs) in the Lake District I feel like I should have embraced them more! Best wishes for 2016, hope you enjoy lots more puddle walks!
Definitely lots of puddles everywhere at the moment! Best wishes for the new year!
This probably goes part of the way to explaining why Millie is such a cheery giddy dog, there’s not a puddle she can’t find! Thank you for getting in touch while I was absent – I have just been catching up with twitter, sorry to have not replied! It is nice to be back in the blogging world, and I wish you all the best for the year ahead x
Glad to hear you’re back Katie!
We love a bit of splashing in the mud too!
Its rather irresistible to kids!
Fabulous! Just love this. Hard to beat splashing in muddy puddles, and I completely agree that getting dirty is good for them 🙂 Wonderful photos capturing the joy x
Mud certainly puts a smile on their faces (and makes them forget about the rainy weather!)
I’ve no doubt at all that a walk in the mud is good for health, but I assumed it was only in an exercise/ fresh air/ adrenaline kind of way. I hadn’t considered that the dirt itself would have additional health benefits! After the last few weeks of rain, we should all be very healthy indeed! I had a lovely fall in the mud doing Parkrun last week – I don’t think I’ve ever been as muddy in my life before!
Dirt and mud actually helps build up children’s immune systems – and now it looks like in studies it can also help adults. So perhaps your run and mud fall was a beneficial combination!!
I’ve always been an advocate for muddy walks and fun, it’s great that there’s research to back up the mud play! On the farm it’s great to see the faces of the kids light up when we’re on the farm and they spot a big muddy puddle. Your lot all look like they’re having a great time splashing and playing! Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.
You’re making them happier and healthier Fiona!
I totally agree, we get dressed up accordingly and go for it! Clothes can be washed, boots dried out and there’s always a hot bath if needed #CountryKids
There really is nothing like a mud splashy walk – my daughter’s face lights up when she sees a puddle or the chance to squelch in mud (even if it is ‘yucky’!) I need to buy myself some new wellies so I can join in… #countrykids
We love a muddy puddle in our house! We all have wellies and we regularly go and try to find the biggest puddles. Think it comes from living in the wettest part of the U.K. #countrykids
There’s definitely lots of muddy puddles available all the time in UK. Fab that you all love them too.
Great ime had by all.
According to the research, that should mean N will be a genius, the amount of mud and muck he gets into on the farm. I hate the cleaning up afterwards, but he loves being outside…and is rarely ill compared to school classmates, many of whom have been off lots last term.
I think research does show that children who grow up on farms have better immune systems!
Nice to see that some things never change. When I was young in the 70s my Mom thought: Children who don’t play in the mud will get a mental disorder. So I was able to make me as dirty as I want whenever I want. The only rule was: I had to wear my oldest clothes and of course wellies.
My youngest loves find the deepest, muddiest puddles to jump in too! I need to get some wellies so I can join in as well.
Also lovely photos, especially the action shot!
Thank you. Kids do know how to find the splashiest puddles!
Great photos, looks like such fun! I am so excited about getting Finn wellies when he can walk properly and going splashing around in puddles! What’s the point in being a kid if you can’t get muddy 🙂 #CountryKids
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