Benefits of Letting your Children Play in the Dirt

Why you Should Let your Children Play in the Dirt

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Benefits of Letting your Children Play in the Dirt

I have fond memories from my childhood of my younger sister and I playing in the sand just having so much fun. Our parents never tried to stop us although every evening before bed our mom made sure we had a warm bath and were clean before heading to bed. Now that I have two small boys of my own I am allowing them the same chance to create lasting memories of having great fun while getting dirty.

Some parents cringe at the site of little ones playing in the sand. I have had people tell me to be careful as my boys could become sick from playing in sand. My reply to them is respectful in that I appreciate their concern and let them know that I am watching over them while they play. To be honest, my boys rarely ever get sick and when they do it is usually just a cold during the cold seasons. At this time they are no longer playing outside in the sand. 

In today’s world, there is so much emphasis placed on the importance of good hygiene. Many parents attempt to ensure that their children live, breathe and play in a sanitized environment only. Most parents are of the opinion that if their kids play in the dirt, they will definitely get sick due to exposure to some germs or infections. However, new research is showing that while good hygiene is important, an overly sanitized environment does more harm to kids than good.

There are actually many benefits to letting children play in the sand. Sure they will get all dirty and need to be bathed but isn't that a normal part of childhood. We should always keep in mind that our children will only be little for a short time and let them partake in the simple joys of childhood. Just have a look at these great  benefits.

1. Develop and strengthen the immune system. Research has shown that playing in any form of dirt including sand, gravel, or mud is will help boost a child's immune system.

2. Fights allergens and asthma. Children who spend time outside playing in the dirt are less likely to develop allergies, even when they grow older. The reason for this is that their developing immune system gets exposed to varieties of bacteria as compared to kids who do not play in mud and dirt.

3. Increased exposure to vitamin D. Playing outside for even just ten to fifteen minutes gives your children adequate exposure. If planning to stay out longer than this it is best to apply sunscreen.

4. Better coordination. Playing outside involves being around uneven surfaces, branches, rocks, and unstable surfaces like sand, gravel, and mud. Playing around these elements takes balance, agility, dexterity, and depth perception which will lead to better sensory skills.

5. Encourages creative thinking. Playing with open-ended materials like sand and mud stimulate creativity and imagination. It is easier for children to grasp these concepts at an earlier age than later in life.

6. Good for skin. There are germs found in soil that are actually good for children as they help combat inflammation of the skin when one gets injured.

7. Make them smarter. Studies have found that playing in the dirt can make you smarter. The same release of serotonin that occurs when playing in Mycobacterium vaccae dirt has been shown to improve their thinking.

8. Connects them with nature. Dirt is like an unexpected surprise as they are sure to find a wide variety of insects, roots, and different shapes and colors of rocks. They will also enjoy picking up leaves, flowers, and splashing in ponds. 

9. Make them happier. Playing in the mud can brighten your mood.  Recent studies have revealed that dirt contains microsopic bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae which increases the levels of seratonin in our brains, helping you to relax and be more calm.

10. It is free. It doesn't cost anything for your children get dirty. You may end up with a little extra laundry however it shouldn't amount to much more since children will always seem to find a way to get dirty whether you allow them to play in the dirt or not.

Did you play in the dirt as a child? What is one of your best memories?

Benefits of Letting your Children Play in the Dirt

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  1. We always played in the mud and dirt when we were little. Didnt get sick or worms. It was my favorite thing to do. We made mud pies and grandmaw pretended to eat them. Ive always said, nothing can grow without a little dirt.

  2. Oh my goodness I could not agree more. While my friends chuckle at my free-range parenting or my crunchy gal ways, my kids are outside-loving, dirt-playing, immune-boosted kids. Dirt for the win! :)

  3. Isn't it amazing how science proves what our mothers always told us :) So true!
    It's funny, I found this out with dogs as well. I used to keep everybody in quarantine when I had a litter, and disinfected the puppy room all the time. We found that this actually hampered their little immune systems!

  4. I loved to play in the first when I was little and I still do, haha. It was one of my favorite things when I was little.

  5. I totally agree! My sister and I always played in the dirt, and I let our kids do so as well! We always supervise, of course, but they love it!

  6. My kids are constantly dirty. I remind myself of all these benefits of dirt as they eat pinecones and sticks and, yes, dirt. Haha!


  7. Thats true! Children who embrace natural environment are immune to many diseases. I let my kids play outside alot!