Dirt and diligence...
" Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain." Henry David Thoreau
This is a picture that makes most parents cringe...the muddy feet, sticky legs, and dirt stained clothes of a child at play. Our instincts tell us, "No, stop, those clothes cost money!!" or "Ack, wait, no, we have places to go!!" or how about "This is why we can't have anything nice!"
I can empathize with all these statements and have heard them, and yes, said them myself at times. Then, with a pang of guilt, confliction and conviction, I give in...always...and simply make certain I take an extra set of clothes no matter where I go. Skin, you see, is washable. Furniture, will wear out regardless of the dirt, mud, sand, and stains. Floors can be scrubbed. But, what they are learning in these experiences with nature, full on, no holds barred, cannot be taught any other way. They must be allowed to play, uninterrupted, unashamed or even unaware of any outcome. With this type of play comes confidence that the world around them is MEANT to be explored, experienced and conquered. Rocks should be overturned, bugs caught, leaves inspected, dissected and transformed into little bug boats. They learn creativity when they climb a tree and transform it into a pirate ship, or stack blocks and limbs and blankets to make a shelter. The explorer inside of them is born, challenged, and encouraged to grow and thrive.
In the our current clinical world of astro-turf playgrounds, and well controlled sensory boxes a child does not get the privilege of developing this sense of curiosity and confidence. They, are taught, in essence, to keep dirty things out, or contained. Exploration should only be done in a box, creativity on a piece of paper, and free thinking in a well designed lesson plan. A child that is not allowed to explore the world outside of a neatly contained box cannot become an adult that thinks outside of one either.
The only way to build free-thinking, creative adults is to allow for it in childhood. This happens each day beyond the sandbox, past the sensory tables, and away from the desk....this is play.
My hope is that all the countless hours of sweeping sand from my floors, wiping dirt from my walls, changing mud soaked clothes, and doing yet one more load of laundry so that everyone will have something clean to go home in, produces adults that are boldly aware of their abilities, confident in exploration, and are not willing to settle for "the box."
So, jump in the puddles, make mud pies, catch fireflies...you are opening the door of amazing adventures with every "why."
I wish you well, and I hope you get to play today...
7/23/2013 04:11:25 am
Yes! Exploration and creativity make for better-rounded citizens....and workers. I have seen a tremendous drop in the ability to figure out what needs to be done over the past 20 years of hiring new staff. Curiosity has dropped and need to be told what to do since their lives have been scheduled by others in a level more than ever noticed previously.
7/23/2013 06:56:51 am
Great article and quotes. My favorite is "A child that is not allowed to explore the world outside of a neatly contained box cannot become an adult that thinks outside of one either." Let the kids play and get dirty!!!! Thanks for sharing.
7/25/2013 01:41:30 am
Love the article. Everyone needs a little mud!
7/25/2013 04:12:30 am
Great post! It's hard for us grown-ups to remember that kids' play is their work - and that sometimes that "work" needs to be dirty, messy stuff.
7/25/2013 04:55:28 am
Thank you so much for your comments and feedback! I love it :). Keep 'em coming ladies!!
7/29/2013 08:08:43 am
Great article thanks for the info
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Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com