I don’t think there is anything more primal than kids and dirt. You place a kid in front of a dirt pile, and they know exactly what to do. No prompting needed. I love how instinctual it is. They grab handfuls of it and soak in that earthy feeling of satisfaction, like it’s becoming a part of them.
I remember all the hours and hours I spent playing in the dirt mounds at my childhood home. Mud pies by the dozens! In fact, I think most of my early childhood days were spent outdoors. I don’t remember my Mother ever telling us to not get dirty or getting angry at us for tracking dirt in the house. If she did, it wasn’t harsh enough that it made a lasting memory. We were outside playing, doing what kids were supposed to be doing…and we were happy.
So as we are planning out and landscaping our little backyard, it is important to me that it be a place not just for my husband and I to enjoy, but also an atmosphere where my grandchildren can store away lasting memories of all the fun they had at Grandma’s house.
There is a small corner of the yard we reserved for them, filled with dirt and sand, because little boys and even little girls love to dig and they need to have the experience of getting dirty and burying the trucks and plastic men in the dirt and making roads. Their little faces, greyed with a nice coating of earth, looking up at me and proudly saying, “Look what I made Grandma!”
A couple of times, two of my grandchildren grew very excited at the prospect that they just might dig all the way to China! Future archeologists!
And yes some of that dirt from China is going to end up in my house, on the rug, on the couch, and I’m going to spend quite a bit of time sweeping the floors.
I expect that a few of the flowers might not survive my little grandsons, but flowers are replaceable, aren’t they? Floors are easily swept and mopped, right?
When they walk in the door and would rather go outside and play than sit and play a video game or get on their device, that’s a win.
But they won’t always want to dig in the dirt or play outside. These times are to treasure.
Let them dig….let them get a little dirty….let them be children.
(Photo credit-Robin Abrams)