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Get Down and Dirty with Park District Events

Aug 19, 2014 08:03PM ● Published by Steven Jack

Provided by the Oswegoland Park District

In the Oswegoland area, the end of summer is a dirty business.

That is due to the Oswegoland Park District’s traditional back to school muddy events. Puddle Jumpers Morning and Pig Pen Afternoon are held the Saturday after school starts in Prairie Point Park.

Preschoolers are invited to bring their favorite sand toys and dip their toes in the mud from 10-11:30 on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 23 for Puddle Jumpers Morning. Pig Pen Afternoon from Noon – 2 p.m. belongs to the elementary kids who are welcome to run, jump, dive, and slide in the slop.

For $5 everyone can feel the cool mud squish between their toes in the park. The best part? Parents play for free.

The park district’s mud events have been a back to school tradition for the past eight years. While the event is a fun way to spend an afternoon, it is also aimed at providing a unique sensory experience in nature.

The outdoor events are part of the Kids Go Wild! events hosted by the park district in the summer. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average American child spends four to seven minutes in unstructured play per day and more than seven hours per day in front of an electronic screen.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and noted advocate of outdoor play, coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ to emphasize children’s current limited interactions with the natural world. Louv point to a a study soon to be released by the University of Illinois which tracked the test results for children in more than 500 schools in the Chicago area.

It found that the single greatest factor behind improved scores was the exposure of children to nature. Tactile learning, like playing in the mud is also shown to help cultivate a stronger level of creativity, both as a short-term boost and over time.

So, Pig Pen Afternoon and Puddle Jumpers aim to treat kids to a great day in the great outdoors! The day presents the perfect occasion for that shirt ruined by popsicle drips and the shorts with the rip. Bathing suits are also suitable for mud play. Shoes and clothes worn will be ready for the dumpster after a good interaction with the dirt.

The park district also recommends an old towel for the ride home! When done correctly, this day is going to be messy.

The forecast is calling for some of our hottest temperatures of summer this Saturday. It’s going to be a hot one and the mud will be the coolest place to be! Registration is currently being taken online at www.oswegolandparkdistrict.org .

Interested little pigs can also come and pay their $5 right at the pit. Parents are strongly advised to adopt a Don’t Knock It Until You Try It philosophy. The Oswegoland Park District would love to see everyone hit pay dirt this Saturday.

Provided by Kristie Vest, Oswegoland Park District

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