Report Recommends Mud Pies for Earth Day

04-20-2012 // Mary Anne Meyers - Public News Service (MO)

This excerpt is from Public News Service - MO

Dirt is good, a new report says - especially for children.

The National Wildlife Federation report makes that case by highlighting the benefits of letting children get messy outside - and its release coincides with Earth Day activities around Missouri this weekend.

Meri Margaret Deoudes, who oversees the federation's "Be Out There" initiative, says most youngsters naturally want to be messy and cites good reasons to let them dig around.

"There's some natural bacteria in dirt. Don't think too much about it as a parent, but that actually helps build up their immune system."

Getting grubby equals happiness for many children, she says, and scientists have found some clues about why.

"Some of the research is showing that there is something in dirt that actually triggers serotonin, which makes kids more happy, more relaxed, and also some of the studies are showing that that helps them perform better in school."

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