Mud Day boosts joyful play

Published 07.02.2024

Photos provided by Alicia C. Dobbs, Children's Learning Center staff

Campus and People
Faculty & Staff
A mighty fine, muddy mess! The Children's Learning Center "family" enjoys a group photo on Mud Day.

The Dunham Children's Learning Center at Penn College recently celebrated one of its favorite summer days: Mud Day!

“Three of the most versatile and accessible play tools with many physical and cognitive benefits are mud, dirt and water,” offered Alicia C. Dobbs, a CLC childcare provider. “These three tools are already common materials in early childhood education and are tools to dive into (literally).

“Getting comfortable with mud, dirt and water stimulates everything from the immune system to the senses to brain development,” Dobbs shared. “Recent research has shown that dirt contains microscopic bacteria called 'mycobacterium vaccae' which stimulates the immune system and increases the levels of serotonin in our brains, an endorphin that soothes, calms and helps us to relax. Scientists say regular exposure to the bacteria may help reduce a child’s vulnerability to depression. In short, playing in mud makes you happier!"

And it doesn’t take a scientist to discover: playing in mud is a joyful experience!

International Mud Day is observed on June 29. Initially stirred by a 2009 exchange between Nepal and Australia, the Mud Day movement grew across the globe. Visit the World Forum Foundation to learn more.

Dipping into the day
Shovels at work
Linda A. Reichert, CLC director, joins the fun.
Hands-on happiness!
Can we bottle this energy?
A different type of face paint
A little Wildcat explores creative mud art.
A willing adult gets slathered by gleeful mud-artists.
All in!
A fun foray
It's all in a day's work (and play) on the Penn College campus.