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We could all use experience with messy play!


Each of our sensory systems is different, and for some kids (and adults) messy play can be a sensory overload. It can help to envision each of us with a different sized sensory ‘cup’ inside. People with a big cup can take in large amounts of sensory stimulation while those with a small cup require very little. For those with a small cup, if there is too much stimulation, their cup overflows and it is overwhelming.

If a child is uncomfortable, or reluctant, we can look for ways to give them a comfortable entry point for sensory play (such as using a stick in mud vs their hands).


This week in our Magnolia Outdoor Tinkergarten classes we are exploring mud! Here are a few techniques we’ll use in class and you can use at home to help reluctant kids get the most out of mud play – a wonderfully fulfilling way of messy play!

  • Warm up the senses: Help your child warm up their sensory system by rubbing your hands together and inviting your child to do the same.

  • Use tools: Have lots of tools available for touching mud in lieu of hands such as sticks, leaves, pine cones, large seeds, rocks, toys, etc.

  • Form the mess: Make mud dry enough to form into balls. More predictable shapes and forms are easier to control and not as overwhelming.

  • Water, water, water! Play with water a lot. Water is familiar, “clean” and often a much more palatable material that is still wonderfully stimulating.


Want to join in the fun of mud play this week? Register for classes here!

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