“Please,” my daughter begged.
I stood firm. “Take off your dress up clothes before you go outside to play.”
Disappointment spread across her face as she removed the shimmery gown with lace and ruffles.
She quickly forgot about her disappointment as she splattered mud all over her play clothes baking mud pies.
But I had not forgotten.
I accept that children get messy when they play outside. This doesn’t bother me because I dress them in play clothes that I don’t mind getting stained. An expensive Disney costume spoiled by mud stains or torn when climbing and crawling outside is a harder pill to swallow. Never mind the fact that those bulky dresses take up precious laundry space.
Could I a make an exception?
Mud is free. But mud is super messy, and I felt anxious thinking about a ruined princess dress and that felt like a waste of money to me.
Like my daughter, I love routine, and I am a rule follower.
Could we break the rule?
The rule is we wear play clothes outside. Nice clothes are for special occasions.
Could I make this a special occasion?
Yes! I could make an exception to the rule. For one day, I could deal with the extra laundry. The reality is we had no royal balls to wear the princess gowns. A few stains on a princess costume didn’t really matter.
She could wear her princess dress to play in the mud.
Joy radiated from my daughter when the Queen Mother extended a royal invitation to the First Annual Princess Mud Tea Party.
- mud patch
- fancy clothes
- assortment of cups, contains, shovels and spoons
- princess figurines (optionals)
- shaker bottle of glitter (optional)
My little princess thoroughly enjoyed playing in the mud. Princesses enjoy getting messy and breaking the rules every once in awhile.
You may have a girl (or a boy) who does not enjoy muddy play. A princess dress or a super hero costume may encourage him to play with mud more. Sensory play benefits all kids. My daughter’s younger siblings didn’t initially like muddy play. Dirty hands made them feel anxious. Daily play outside with the opportunity to play in the mud eventually allowed them to overcome this tactile sensitivity.
In the end, mud didn’t spoil the beautiful gown. We sprayed it with the hose after playing and put it in the washing machine right away. I can’t guarantee your ball gowns won’t get stained, so you decide if that is a risk you want to take.
I don’t consider myself a push over, but this time I felt happy that I caved to my child’s begging. Sometimes it is okay to break the rules and get messy.
More Muddy Play Ideas