We homeschool through a charter school and we receive a visit each month from our “Education Specialist” (ES) who collects work samples, answers questions, and delivers curriculum we’ve ordered. Well, when our ES visited last week she passed on to me a book another parent gave her: I Love Dirt: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward.
“I saw this book and knew right away you would like it,” she said. “Oh . . . I hope that doesn’t offend you . . .” No! Should I be offended for liking ice cream or good coffee?
Yep, we Cameron-Smiths love dirt! I am very liberal with letting my kids muck around in the garden, even letting them use the hose to make little lakes and rivers. I’m amazed that Claire, even at 10, loves to roll around in the dirt until she’s smothered in it.
Sometimes my children just gaze at one spot: a tiny weed that has cracked the hard, clay earth or an ant on his determined mission. Other times their dirt playground is expansive like this weekend when we had our first autumn rain.
I love the smell of first rains washing away all that summer dust and I’ve always felt calmed by the sound of rain on whatever roof I am living under. I think that’s why I liked England so . . . so much gentle, soothing rain. Well, the kids thought the rain felt wonderful under their feet and in between their fingers (especially when mixed with dirt):
I think kids are hard-wired to play in the dirt. At least my kids seem to be. MUD might be more than most parents can handle, but any kind of undirected, hands-on exploration in nature is so good for our kids’ moods and sensory development. Just keep that bath ready for a scrub down afterward!