A Philosophy to Help Make Mud More Child-Centered

For those who appreciate philosophical approaches to life and parenting, a helpful concept to keep in mind is one from Taoism—wu wei, or non-action. Wu wei refers to cultivating a way of being in which our actions are aligned with the natural ebb and flow of cycles in the natural world. Think of it like “going with the flow,” where your efforts are approached with effortlessness. By surrendering control of how you want the mud kitchen to be and instead focusing on how to react to the present moment, you can enjoy a very pleasant and rewarding interaction with your community, as well as a transition of materials between neighbors and your own home. You will find, in my experience, a real joy in building something without strict guidelines, judgment, or the common framework of our consumer-oriented culture. But most importantly, being open to creating a mud kitchen based on how everyday experiences can shape it provides an unexpected, inspirational, and engaging play space for your child.

One of the biggest challenges in creating a mud kitchen is the process of keeping an ego-less approach at your center. If you can start with nothing more than a hole in the ground, a pot, and a concept, you will be doing well for yourself and your child. Add a board or two and a few other ingredients and accouterments, and you’ll be off to a great start.

Fail fast may be a motto typically reserved for software developers and entrepreneurs, but it is relevant in these efforts as well. I have found that worrying less about the presentation and more about the outcome has provided years of fertile learning and development opportunities for my children.

So go ahead and get dirty!

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