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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Mud puddles

When big folks see a mud puddle they step around it.
Big folks see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
Little folks wiggle their toes in it.
They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to watch.

Are we given little ones to teach or to learn from?

Savor the little things in life, for the day comes too soon
When we look back and realize they were the big things.

(author unknown) Mud and mud puddles hold a fascination for me. It must come from my childhood when my mother tagged me with the nickname of "Mud Pie Chef". Being a rural child, my playroom was nature and one phase of exploring the natural world was making mud pies and mud cakes and mud cupcakes and mud stew and ...

Since adding a few inches to my stature, I've found additional wonders in mud. Things like the fact that it is very difficult to garden in clay soil when it is too wet -- mud, in essence. The fact that sandy soil doesn't make very good mud. The ageless art of pottery and ceramics that not only use mud for the structural skeleton of these works of art, but mud can even be used as paint to add intricate designs.

Mud is also a lesson in chemistry. What happens when you add water to natural materials. The little debris found in soil is much more noticeable in the solution of mud than in soil's dry state.

Mud has larger industrial roles as well. Mud in oil drilling operations. Mud in building stucco and adobe buildings. Mud used in refining diamonds and polishing gold and silver.

Mud is a simple wonder. A wonder awaiting the child in all of us.

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists