My favorite program of every summer! You know, while there is a big push for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education, we still seem to skip over the necessary precursor - play! Having fun, seeing what happens, finding out what will work all on our own. Cause and effect. Textures. Mixtures. Messes!
Enter International Mud Day! Officially celebrated June 29, we have to play loose with the date to fit our schedule. This year it was on a HOT summer Saturday, the day after our blood drive (you know, when they tell you to take it easy and not do anything strenuous - like tote bags of dirt and shovel more dirt, in the hot sun. Oops.)
Each year is slightly different, but we have some basic elements:
Wading pools with funnels, cups, and sequins for the littles.
More pools of water scattered around.
|Those stayed clean for approximately thirty seconds|
Pools of dry dirt with cars, small buckets, etc.
A slip and slide - large tarp covered with dish soap, hose or sprinkler at the top.
And, of course, mud! This year the city streets department brought me a yard of good top soil. I got here early in the morning to start shoveling it in, because it has been up to 107-109 in the afternoon. I'm not sure what it was today, but after an hour I was feeling pretty hot and stinky! Fortunately we had some early arrivals, and I put them to work tossing the bigger dirt clods in.
Then it just needed a little bit of water:
And a snake or two. Some buckets. A rubber lizard. The usual.
Finally, a dry spot for adults,
A place to rinse the dirt off (sprayer hose on gravel),
and towels by the library entrance.
I also had cases of bottled water out, because even if you are IN the water, it is super easy to get dehydrated in this heat!
And, they're off!
The slip and slide is easily my most popular spot every year.
Some preferred starting off with the water,
while others dove right in to the mud.
|Extremely pale librarian toes|
|I love how he immediately made a canal. He is definitely one of my STEM-focused patrons!|
|Right before Christopher laid down in the mud. And then rolled over.|
Remember the little boy who cried when he got dirty last year?
He got over it.
|That cute yellow diaper was smuggling pounds of mud out by the end!|
Lots of parents having fun with the kids!
This guy was running away from his brother, who had a handful of mud. Why? Why was he running?? Was he afraid his brother would get that one tiny missed spot at the top of his head dirty?
|What do you mean I missed a spot?|
|If this big tree ever dies I have no idea what I will do!|
We started a little early, so it was about 2 hours of fun - then time to clean up!
Some of us more so than others. I had some super volunteers and parents who stayed behind to help dump and spray and deflate. The soil was dumped over the tree roots that have been coming to the surface, and the grass enjoyed the extra watering after a month of construction and no sprinklers. There may or may not have been a round of popsicles for those who helped!
I hope everyone had at least as much fun as I did!