On a cold, drizzly day in February, the park might not seem like the most appealing place. However, I know the two little ones in my care won’t last a whole day at home. So, I suggest we all go for a nice walk.
‘Can we splash in puddles?!’ they ask in surprise.
I must admit, I haven’t been much of an advocate of this in the past, mainly because jumping in huge puddles always seems to appeal on the way to somewhere they need to arrive clean and dry.
But on a non-nursery day – why not?
To say they were excited by my suggestion was an understatement, and in fact they put on their coats and boots in record time.
On our walk, they were dressed in the appropriate attire; wellingtons, rain coats and umbrellas. One of the children excitedly said: ‘It doesn’t matter if we get wet, we can change at home’. They then proceeded to jump in every single puddle they came across. The pure freedom of being able to do something that is fun (and such a natural part of what it means to be a child) brought so much joy.
Oh, and don’t worry, we gave passers-by the chance to make a quick dash before splashing. So many people smiled in response to these children having the time of their life.
I think we place too much emphasis on keeping children clean and tidy and not wanting to create a mess. So many are put off by the thought of paint, sand and water. But learning should be a sensory experience - not limited because we don’t want to have to clear up or wash our clothes at the end of it.
Children should be allowed to get dirty and muddy. Outdoor play is essential for their health and development. Even if the weather is less than ideal, as long as they are dressed appropriately, children should enjoy outdoor activity on a daily basis.
When it came to the end of the day, the children were delighted to share their ‘puddle walk’ and I’m pleased to say we’ve been on another one since.
Now, I just need to buy my own pair of wellingtons, then I will surely be a true hero in their eyes.