When Anne, an Early Years Facilitator at the Hamilton Mountain Ontario Early Years Centre heard about International Mud Day – a day specifically set aside to celebrate all the squishy wonder that is water mixed with dirt – she had a fantastic idea. Why not explore the idea of mud and all its messy majesty and show the kids just how exciting it can be! So she set to work, planning the event.
Wait, back up, what’s an Ontario Early Years Centre?
We’re so glad you asked! Ontario Early Years Centres, OEYCs for short, are locations just like this one – located at 320 Brigade Dr, Hamilton – that allow families and home child care providers to drop in and take advantage of a wide range of parenting, health and educational resources and supports for parents and families right from pregnancy up to age 6.
You can drop in at any Ontario Early Years Centre with questions to ask early years and health professionals and seek advice. You can get information about child and family programs and services that are available in your community, learn more about your child’s development. Finally, and this is the fun part, you and your child can make meaningful connections, make friends, and join in on exciting activities with folks just like you – right in your own community.
Now, onto our story. Last Friday, when we rolled up to the Hamilton Mountain Ontario Early Years Centre, Anne and her team were hard at work out on the playground setting up tables, distributing dirt and water in the perfect ratio for optimal squish and slime, and laying out art supplies, rocks, and containers of all kinds!
There was a rock painting station, a mud pie (or sand cake, if you prefer) kitchen, and water table complete with tiny boats!
When everything was ready, Anne held a quick gathering time to tell everyone the rules.
- No throwing mud
- No eating mud
- At the Ontario Early Years Centre we share – we share everything!
- Have fun!
And so, the kids, parents and even one of our Home Child Care Providers made their way outside. Some crawled, some jumped, some wandered – but they all discovered the surprises that were waiting for them outside!
The paint table seemed to be the first stop for most of our friends. Everyone got to work painting their favourite rocks from the table. They had fun describing what they were doing, what colours they chose, and how the paint felt. Describing words like, “Red!” “Blue!” “Slimy!” “Cold!” and “Wet!” filled the air.
(Mud) Cake Boss
Over at the mud pie/sand cake section, kids and adults alike crafted tasty-looking creations complete with puzzle piece sprinkles. They imagined the flavours their baked goodies would be if they were real, “Chocolate!” “Banana Bread!” they exclaimed.
A few made their way to the water table. At first they were content to enjoy the clean water and play with the boats – imagining captains and crews and that the tubs were oceans. Eventually, though, they couldn’t resist watching balls of mud go, “plop!” as they hit the water and created dirty clouds that spread quickly through the basins.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
A few of the girls noticed that the lawn was looking a little lack luster. They made the connection that plants, like grass, need water to grow. They collected the watering cans that were set out on the playground and got right to work trying to bring the bald spots back to life.
A Great Big Mess
Finally, as the children began to realize that they had played with all the toys, painted all the rocks, and baked a years’ supply of banana bread, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, pies and puddings – they did what kids do best. They made a big mess!
After adding a little water to a grassy patch that was already a bit worse-for-wear after a good rain, some were brave and stuck their hands in and practised some more good describing words.
Others practiced being polite and, when asked if they wanted to go in the mud, said, “No Thank You!”
So, at the end of a long and muddy morning, the kids, parents, providers and staff hosed off their dirty hands and feet. After all, stains wash away but memories of adventures, lessons, and laughs last forever!
Until next time,
– Today’s Family