Friday, July 1, 2016

Mud and Water Play 2016

Did you know that there is an International Mud Day? We didn't either until a few years ago, but we immediately decided it was something we wanted to celebrate! The official date is June 29, but the exact date isn't important. The important thing is - mud! Getting muddy and having fun, no electronics, nothing fancy, no worksheets, just good...not-so-clean fun!

Of course, having messy play at a library always requires a bit of planning, but we have learned a few things about what works and what doesn't over the last few years. While the mud and water were outside, we had prepping to do inside. Murphy's Law states that as soon as a toddler is covered in muck, he will have to pee. Since our entry hall is all tile, that could get dangerous: so we laid all the story time rugs from the front door to the restrooms. They need to be cleaned anyway! I stacked a pile of towels at the door, with a sign reminding everyone to clean off first, saying "Remember, this is still a library!" (I did have some dirt to sweep up in the bathrooms later - mainly from kids changing clothes - but no slips and falls!) 

Outside, the most important part is the mud:

14, 1.5 cubic feet bags of Eco Earth, which advertises no chemicals or poop. Clean dirt! Just before start I added big trucks and a few plastic snakes and lizards.

We also had a smaller pool with dry dirt, and (when we started) some smaller tractors and shovels:

In the background is a pool of just water.

On our little hill, a poor man's slip and slide - the biggest tarp I could find, with a sprinkler at the top, and dish soap all over it. Pictures coming up shortly.

In the middle of the yard, two trash cans full of water to refill squirt guns:

And on the opposite end of the yard, a smaller pool for the little ones:

We were playing with homemade puff paint all week, and I had some paint - and a LOT of shaving cream - left over. I decided to fill the last pool with that.

Thanks for emptying all those cans, Andrea! Hope your thumbs recover!

I was paranoid about stuff in eyes, so I made sure I had the MSDS sheet (rinse with water) and put up  sign:

and reminded everyone I could as they came in. I had the liquid watercolors handy, and my thought was that kids would have fun squishing it in their hands and swirling colors together.

The kids had other ideas.




It was everywhere!

And, as you can see, it was mostly a hit with the older kids!

The slip and slide was ignored at first. Then a couple kids tried it out.

Then a couple more.

and a couple more

Thanks, Pastor Jeff, for taking on soap duty!

Sheridan and Logan stayed here the entire time!

And, it's soap and water, so it's the same thing as having a bath, right?

Of course, the mud pit was the place to be. The first brave souls tiptoed around...

...but that didn't last for long.

I heart this little girl's smile.


Our very own Where's Waldo!

Hey, Mom, dance with me!

Some of the littler ones looked at the mud, then looked at their moms like they were crazy. Not this little girl!

Whose scary little child is this?

Oh...that would be one of mine.

In a white shirt. Of course.

And guys, this is embarrassing.

My son. MY son.

Refused to get dirty. Or even wet.

He just walked around pouting, refusing to join in the fun.

He's lucky he's so darn cute when he pouts.

Here's another cutie!

And his equally cute big brother - who kept shooting him with the squirt gun.

Ah, yes, the squirt guns! Which quickly turned into buckets of water. And then buckets of mud. Very few were spared. 

Including the local newspaper reporter, who showed up when things were in full swing. She had an adorable blue sundress on, makeup and hair perfectly done. By the time she left, her legs were splattered in mud - but she gave us a nice write-up!

Finally, it was time for clean-up. 

Lots of people pitched in this time (and the mud was mostly out of the pit by now anyway), so we were finished just in time for me to get to my root canal appointment. Can't have TOO much fun, you know. 

We now have some good dirt added to the grassy area, and everything has been VERY well watered. Volunteers kept control of the hoses, so we didn't waste too much water - and, if half these kids filled up individual wading pools at home, it would have used a whole lot more. Most importantly, they were encouraged to run and get messy and be kids (both the littles and the grown-up kids!)

Time to start planning for next year...

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