The scent of mud and dirt, especially in the sunlight, always reminds me of my childhood. I spent hours and hours outdoors with my best buddies, two brothers named Ryan and Christopher who lived a few doors down. More tomboy than girly girl in much of my play, I spent days with them making forts, fashioning booby traps on our backyard slope, climbing trees, digging in dirt, rifling through trashcans for fort materials, riding bikes, and playing cowboys. In the house, I read and read and read, sang on the stairs, played banker and nurse, had my share of Barbies, drew pictures of clothes, and often made “Happy Palaces” in the corner of my bedroom—which involved arranging all of my toys around my fort and emptying all my drawers.

Dirt always brings me back there…to that gloriously free and happy childhood time.

The afternoon was beautiful today. After our post-Toastmasters lunch, my parents and I took the kiddos out into the backyard. Katie and I had the chance to invent a new game with our hula hoops. Have you ever noticed how versatile hula hoops are? Not only do they perform the hula hoop function, but also they are great for making obstacle courses for jumping, as reigns for playing “horse,” for twirling, etc. Today Katie and I came up with “Hula Hoop Kickball.” I held the hoop off to the side, and she practiced kicking a ball through it—FUN! We took turns, of course.

Then we decided to dig in some dirt, make mud huts and a city for ants, look for bugs and worms, and see what else we could find. Katie had a great suggestion, “Mama, let’s look under rocks!” So we went around the yard, turning over as many rocks as we could find and studying whatever we found underneath. She exclaimed, “Mama, I feel like a scientist!” Very, very cool! We explored, poked, prodded, found intriguing life forms… I was even able to connect one of our Toastmaster Table Topics from today, which was essentially, “Pretend you are speaking for an ant. What would an ant say?” Katie had some fun ideas about that…and it was fun to make her feel a part of where I had been today.

We also blew some bubbles with Boppa, and Eric was fascinated. I showed him how to crunch “crunchy leaves” in his hand, which pleased him. He loves to be outdoors—who doesn’t? I love the early springtime this year!

Any other ideas for mud play, readers? What are your favorite things to do in dirt?