Do you want to jump in those puddles? Given the choice, many kids would say yes - others will fail to answer and jump straight in.
This may be hard to hear – the germs, the mess and the task of cleaning up – but did you know that allowing children to play in the dirt is important to their development, and their health?
1. Lower stress levels
Free, unstructured outdoor playtime is great fun and it can also help relieve stress and anxiety. A recent University of Queensland study suggests that people who visit parks for 30 minutes or more each week are much less likely to have poor mental health than those who don’t.
2. Keep them active
When allowed to play in the dirt, your children are likely to be running, jumping, crawling and cartwheeling through it – not just making mud pies! This activity is highly important in child development.
3. Influx of vitamin D
Playing outside in the dirt will often mean more time in the sun (and an influx of vitamin D — something we all need to protect the health of our bones and immune systems. As taught in Harold’s Summer Holiday, sun safety is important, but not getting enough time in the sun isn’t healthy either.
4. Boost their immune system
Research shows that playing in (or even eating) the dirt can strengthen young immune systems.
"Without exposure to everyday germs, which can be found in mud, children miss out on building a stronger, more robust immunity to sickness,” Dr Ryan Harvey from House Call Doctor explains.
5. Happiness is priceless
It will only take a second. The smile on your child’s face as they run, jump and skip carefree reinforces: Playing in the dirt is fun!
Allowing children to play in the dirt is important to their development, and their health