Image: IVN Natuureduartie
The tenth edition of ModderDag will take place on Wednesday 29 June. In the province of Limburg, more than ten thousand children go in and play with mud at 188 locations.
At a time when children are playing outside less and less and screen use is only increasing, IVN Nature Education states that it is necessary to play in and with nature. “Playing outside in nature is so important for children,” says project leader Marc Veekamp of IVN Nature Education. ,,It is good for motor skills, against obesity, but also in a social-emotional sense. It really makes kids happier.”
With ModderDag, IVN wants to put the importance of playing freely in nature higher on the agenda. This can be playing in a forest or park, but also simply on a green playground. Natural play areas provide different, more active play behaviour. More and more studies show that children who grow up in a greener environment have better psychological health. Despite this, today’s children play outside six times less than their parents or grandparents did. Only fourteen percent of children in the Netherlands between the ages of six and twelve play outside every day. More than half play indoors more often than outdoors and three in ten children (almost) never play outside or only once a week.
Also for home
ModderDag has been organized since 2016 by IVN Nature Education. Putting on a mud mask, baking mud cakes or just playing in the mud, it’s all possible that day. “We think it is important to promote outdoor play, but also that children are allowed to get dirty. Mud actually automatically triggers free play. Just a puddle of water and a lot of sand leads to a lot of fun for children. They often quickly come up with their own games, playing with mud stimulates their imagination”, explains Veekamp.
IVN therefore calls on all parents to embrace Mud Day and to let their children have their way at home. Not only on June 29, but all year round.
Importance of more green outdoor spaces
IVN Nature Education has used this anniversary edition of ModderDag, together with Humankind Childcare and Development, to argue in political The Hague for an investment in more green, healthy outdoor spaces and associated activities in childcare. Veenkamp: ,,Spending a lot of time in a healthy natural environment is very important for the well-being of our children. In Scotland there is even a national policy on this. Going outside a lot, in a green environment, is also very good for the pedagogical staff. It is healthy and has a stress-reducing effect.”
International Mud Day
International Mud Day originated in Nepal and Australia with the underlying idea that children should come into contact with nature more. This day is now celebrated every year on June 29 in Denmark, Great Britain and the United States, among others. ModderDag was first organized in the Netherlands in 2013.
Also read: More and more schools in Limburg are abolishing parental contribution