Today I am not talking about that kind of getting your hands dirty. I am talking the literal version of getting your hands dirty. One way to play is to literally dig in and get in the mess. I do this when I plant flowers in the spring—digging into the dirt to create a bed or a container of beauty. Fun. Sweat mixed with earth as I create a colorful flower bed of summer enjoyment. This play is awaiting me as the warm weather nears.
As a child, I made mud pies in my backyard with my siblings. When my children were growing, they spent days on end in the creek behind our house squishing mud between their toes and fingers as they built cities in the islands within the stream. Getting dirty is fun.
The other day, I was working with a five year old and at the end of our work time he had a five minute play time during which he wanted to dig into Playdoh. He built and invited me in. He built a dog and spelled it for me as the green squished under his nails. I rolled out a snake and he responded that snake started with an S. His getting his hands dirty was fun and it was learning—maybe more so than the lesson that preceded it. Lots of good things happen when you get your hands in the dirt.
Once I sat at a potter’s wheel slowly turning the clay to make a bowl. I positioned the clay as it moved under my hands. Slippery and mucky, the clay slid through my fingers and under my hand as I turned the wheel, changing from from a chunk of earth to an earthen bowl—something useful…something beautiful. My dirty hands worked to create a vessel of beauty.
Create with dirt, learn with dirt, build with dirt, have fun with dirt. Dig in and enjoy!
PLAY-TITUDE #15: Fun is in the mess. Dig in and get your hands nice and dirty!
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