For the Love of…Mud!

Thanks to the snowmelt and the arrival of spring showers, the grass and dirt outside have morphed into mud. You might be tempted to steer clear of it or stay inside, but you don’t have to. On the contrary, you can have a great time getting down and dirty with your kids—without worrying about ruining clothes, car mats, sneakers, and more. Here are four ways to embrace the muck and have some fun.

Become mud artists. Head outside and create castles and sculptures with your kids, using mud instead of sand or clay. Or grab some sturdy sticks and draw pictures in the mud. Ready for a new canvas? Simply smooth over the muddy surface with your hands or feet and draw again. Another option: Make whimsical mud prints on butcher paper with your hands and feet.

Become an explorer. Go to a local park or trail and search the mud for insects (or worms and snails) that emerge when the ground turns wet. Bring a magnifying glass and a measuring tape so you can study worms closely and check to see how long they are. You could even have a contest to see who can find the longest worm.

Make mud pies. Remember doing this as a kid? Here’s your chance to walk down memory lane with your young ones. Take small plastic containers outside and use them to make cakes, pies, and cookies with the mud. Find pretty stones, leaves, berries, and other treasures from nature that you can use to decorate them; display your creations in a mud-pie buffet.

Make clean-up a cinch. When you come inside, throw dirty clothes and muddy sneakers in the washer and let a tough stain fighter do the heavy lifting on stains. (Sensitive to dyes or perfumes? Use a booster that is fragrance- and color-free.) To remove muddy footprints from car mats or hall carpets, use a multi-purpose stain remover. This way, you’ll be able to savor your fun-in-the-mud memories without visual reminders of your dirt-filled day.