If there is anything on the Earth more underrated than dirt, you’d be hard pressed to find it. It is under our feet every day, we walk all over it without giving it a second thought. In fact people spend nearly hilarious amounts of money to try and get dirt away from them. But the truth is, dirt, or more correctly, soil, is one of the most amazing and important things on our planet.
Studies have shown that simply having contact with dirt, whether it’s through gardening, digging holes, or making pies out of mud, can significantly improve a child’s mood and reduce their anxiety and stress. Who knew, right? With antidepressant use in kids on the rise, an increasing number of experts are recognizing the role of nature in enhancing kids’ mental health. Dirt can even improve classroom performance. It’s easy to see the effect when you watch children play outside.
MUD PLAY BUILDS CREATIVITY – The open-ended nature of mud play is perfect for the developing brain. There is no end to the creations, ideas and games children will invent. During this type of unstructured, outdoor play, children are not only exercising but are building their ability to form ideas, problem solve, and think critically, as well being innovative and inventive.
A 2010 study done by Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, found that a bacterium naturally found in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, can accelerate learning and brighten moods by stimulating neuron growth and raising serotonin levels. Said Dorothy Matthews, who headed the research, to Mother Nature Network: “We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice.”
The drug-like effects of this soil bacteria were discovered, quite by accident, about a decade ago. A doctor named Mary O’Brien created a serum out of the bacteria and gave it to lung-cancer patients, in hopes that it might boost their immune systems. Instead, she noticed another effect: The hospital patients perked up. They reported feeling happier and suffered from less pain than the patients who did not receive doses of bacteria. Further studies in mice confirmed the mood-boosting effect of the soil bugs.
Needless to say..Kids&Parents, Get your shovels,Go outdoors and dig some new DirtJump spots!
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