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Six Ways to Survive - and Thrive - in Mud Season

You and your kids are tired of winter. But before Spring comes in earnest, you have to get through the dreaded mud season. The days are longer and maybe warmer, but it’s melty and messy and hard to do much outside.

Here are six ways to get through mud season - and maybe even find a little mud magic!

1. Play in the mud. Everyone is tired of being cooped up inside, so ignore the weather and get outside and play. Go to the playground. Ride bikes. Fly a kite in the brisk Spring winds.

Or really embrace mud. Make mud pies. Put on rain boots for puddle stomping. Instead of scolding kids for getting dirty, surprise them by jumping in a puddle and splashing with them.

2. Seek out Spring. The calendar says Spring arrives in March, but late snow storms and raw days don’t always feel like Spring. Keep it positive with an ongoing search for signs of Spring.

Make your own Spring bingo cards. Include pictures of classic signs of Springtime like robins, flowers, or buds on the trees. Add family or local symbols of the return of Spring. Predict when you’ll fill in your bingo card, and have a picnic (indoors if you must) to celebrate the season.

Not seeing many signs of Springtime yet? Cheat a little and visit a Spring bulb show. The warm, moist, fragrant air and colorful flowers provide a break from the chill and drab outdoors.

3. Come to your senses. Take a senses walk and see what you notice. What colors do you see? What is revealed by the melting snow? Do you hear squelching mud or the drip of melt coming off your roof? Is the mud sticky or slick? Is the air soft or raw? Can you smell the dirt? What does almost-Spring smell like? What tastes do you associate with Spring? You may not taste them on your senses walk, but you can come back home to a ‘Spring’y snack.

4. Read all about it. Sometimes it’s still too raw to get outside, so cozy up indoors for some reading about the season. Choose stories and poems to celebrate different facets of Spring. Think mud and maple, or dream ahead to warm days and gardens in bloom.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • And Then Its Spring by Julie Fogliano
  • Puddles by Jonathan London
  • Jo MacDonald Had a Garden by Mary Quattlebaum
  • Mud by Mary Lyn Ray

5. Grow something. You can start seedlings indoors to be ready for warmer, drier weather.

If you don’t have room to set up plantings inside, try sowing in covered containers set outside if the weather allows:

  • Collect clean plastic milk jugs.
  • Cut nearly around the jug at the base of the handle.
  • Poke drainage holes in the bottom. Then fill with a seeding soil mix.
  • Add seeds, cover as directed, and thoroughly moisten the soil.
  • Tape up the jug creating a mini greenhouse.
  • Leave the top off and place in a sunny spot outdoors.

Soon, you should see a haze of green inside. As the weather gets warmer, open the jug during the day so the plants don’t cook. Close it during the cool nights. When it’s warm enough, transfer your plants to pots or a garden plot.

6. Celebrate something. The Cat in the Hat knew how to have fun even when the weather wasn’t nice. Try a Dr. Seuss read-a-thon to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2. Hold a Spring Fling to celebrate the official start of Spring on the vernal equinox on March 20. Heading into April, enjoy Spring poems for National Poetry Month or plan fun tricks and jokes for April
Fool’s Day.

If you look at a celebrations calendar, you’ll find Spring peppered with special days for everything from jelly beans to penguins to pandas. Choose one and create a celebration around it. You can even make up your own holiday. Maybe the last Friday is Neighborhood Game Night or the second Saturday is Watch Cartoons in Your PJs day. Give yourself something to look forward to and break up routines.

You don’t have to love mud season, but you can make the most of it. Even though it might not feel like it, mud will dry up, days will warm up, and Spring will soon be here - for real!

Sara is a freelance writer. During mud season, you can often find her eating pancakes at a local sugar shack or dreaming about starting her garden. 

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