Dishing the Dirt on DirtPosted by MomOnMars on April 19, 2012
It’s time to dish the dirt on dirt. The National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Be Out There movement has published its latest report revealing how getting down and dirty in the great outdoors can help your children live a happier, healthier life.
Honestly, shouldn’t kids be dirty – isn’t that their natural state anyway?
Here’s the deal: when kids play outside, in the dirt, they build a stronger immune system. All those germs we try and protect them against can actually be helpful. Studies show kids who live and play in ultraclean environments have a greater chance of suffering from allergies, asthma and other autoimmune diseases that could be protected against simply by playing in a little mud.
What’s that tell you? Send your kid outside and tell him to dig around looking for bugs and flowers. Teach her to garden. Learn how to build mud castles together.
I remember when my kids were younger, after school, all the kids would gather in the greenbelt at the end of the block and spend hours building a fort together. Fortsburg, they called it. By the time they came home, they were tired, dirty and oh-so-happy. It was a little like living in Mayberry.
Not surprisingly, studies show that playing with dirt, whether through gardening, digging holes or making mud pies, can improve a child’s mood and help reduce anxiety and stress. It’s great for socialization (if they’re doing it with friends) and it can build creativity.
So go ahead…let your kids get dirty and let the laundry detergent take care of their clothes. And if you have a chance, grab your camera, snap a picture and enter the Dirtiest Kid Photo Challenge. The photo must be outside, include dirt, and have at least one child under the age of 12. The rest is up to you. Submit your photos by May 22 and you could win a $100 gift card to Polarn O. Pyret – a pretty snazzy store for kids’ clothes.
If you want to learn more, or read the report, check out the NWF’s Be Out There site.
Photo source: SXC