Case study: Mud Day celebrations at a primary school in Scotland

August 10, 2017

The rewards of involving children in planning – plus lessons learned for future mud events.

Age Range: all ages

Duration: long-term project

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: behaviour, case study, mud, Mud Day, permission, primary, school

Category: outdoor play

Celebrating Mud Day at Tighnabruaich Primary, Scotland

Fiona Hamilton (head teacher) and Cathy McKirdy (teacher) describe how getting children involved right from the start helped their Mud Day celebration be a great success – and share some of their learnings. 

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We showed the children the International Mud Day website and asked if they wanted to take part.

Those who did (I think all of them) were set a homework task to write their own permission slip explaining what they’d need to bring to school if they wanted to take part. They had to sell it to their parents.

The children needed to bring a change of clothes and a permission slip in to school on the day to be able to participate. The responsibility was given to the children to organise this as the teachers were not going to do any ‘chasing up’. We had one parent volunteer, an ex-pupil, and me with 19 pupils. 2 pupils stayed in school with other teacher.

children in waterproofs paddling in a muddy stream

We had provided activities that allowed children to become totally involved with the natural materials. The children participated enthusiastically and soon became covered from head to toe in mud.


In hindsight I’d have involved our janitor/cleaner in planning and explaining what was happening. I was prepared to do the clean up afterwards, but I think he thought it was all going to land on him. His mood improved when he saw me with brush and mop. He has become much more accustomed to mud on a regular basis and now realises how
the project is benefiting the children.

Next time I’ll make sure all the children have a towel and also arrange private areas (outside) for removal of clothes and wrapping in towels, then into toilets for changing into clean clothes. Also many, many bags for taking home muddy clothes!

I think it is important that the children set guidelines and rules of behaviour – maybe produce a poster to go on the wall with expectations for behaviour during the Mud Day celebrations, eg throwing mud at a target not at each other.
There was only one incident during the day when one child got mud in their eye. It required clean water for slooshing out.

We hosed the kids down outside with cold water, no complaints.

There were no parental complaints afterwards. The kids had sold it to them in advance.

Our post, and our mud kitchen, have had the most responses of any 🙂