Let Kids Get Dirty!

As parents, we need to let our kids get dirty sometimes.  Exploration and play are important for children and really all people.  As kids are exploring they need to know that it is OK if they get dirty. In fact, kids should be encouraged by their parents to get dirty sometimes. 

kids, dirty, nature

This dirty kid looks like he has been having some serious fun.

Kids Should Get Dirty Sometimes

I think it is important and fun to teach my kids all about nature when we are on outings in nature.  Most of the time it seems like the kids enjoy it.  Sometimes as a parent you can teach your kids nature facts, such as about flowers and pollination by showing them different flowers you find on your outing.

However, sometimes the kids should just be allowed to run free and do whatever they want.  After all, they are kids not just little scholars.  They need time to be kids, which means running around, jumping in mud, and climbing trees.  They are still learning as they play and get dirty just not in the manner of a parent teaching or explaining something to them.

People and Kids Learn Through Play

All children and people learn in different ways.  Some learn best through reading books, others through observation, and others learn best by experimentation and getting their hands on something.      One thing that all kids have in common, no matter their method of learning, is that they all learn while they are playing.

Even though it may seem to you that your kids are just running around going wild, they are in fact learning something while they are playing.  When they are playing out in nature they are using all of their senses to learn firsthand about nature.  They are learning what the rocks in the creek feel like and what happens to the water flowing down the creek when their is a log in the water blocking the flow.

Maybe if they float a twig or leaf down the creek they are learning how water flows, about eddies, and currents.  If they pick up rocks in the water they may discover the aquatic invertebrates (water bugs) that live there.  They are also learning how to use their imagination and to create their own games.

dirty kids nature mud

Kids playing in the mud and water!

Parents Need to Let Their Kids Know That it is OK to Get Dirty

If children are too worried about what their parents will say if they get dirty then they will not be able to focus on their play.  Parents need to make sure that they make it clear to their kids that it is OK sometimes to get dirty.

It is easy for parents to set a few ground rules about when it is OK and when it is not OK.  This is what we do all the time as parents – we set rules and make them clear to our kids.  Getting dirty is just like any other rule.  Parents should set up some rules ahead of time and make them clear.  Also, I find that it is always a good idea to keep some extra towels in the car, just in case…

Nature is the Perfect Playground and Place to Get Dirty

Nature is the ultimate playground as it is full of trees for climbing, rocks to climb on or jump over, and numerous other obstacles to play on or around.  You can test your balance as you walk along logs on the ground, daring yourself to walk a little bit further before you jump off.

kids, play, dirty, pile of leaves

These kids are hiding in a huge pile of leaves.

In addition to all of the obstacles to play on, there is a limitless supply of things to play with.  There are rocks, twigs, branches, leaves, and water.  If you are near a river, creek, or lake then there are tons of possibilities of things to make or build with or around the water.  You could build a little dam in the creek, float some ‘boats’ down the river, or build a little pool in the lake or creek with rocks that you find.

The possibilities are endless and will probably require getting a bit dirty to make sure that you have exhausted as many possibilities as you can.  Parents, just make sure that you let your kids get dirty and be kids.