Climbing, crawling, jumping, hopping and sliding through all manner of obstacles, including a massive mud pit, was the order of the day for Emerald Primary School students at the 2nd annual Mudletics event on Friday September 7th.
Challenging the old-fashioned view that competition brings out the best in us, organisers and parents Julie Bowyer and Kate Drummond instead sought to create an environment of teamwork and inclusion in the face of physical challenges. “Initially a lot of kids were looking at it as a competition, but we were keen to promote a supportive environment. Students were encouraged to help less confident team members navigate the course, making them all feel like stars for tackling and completing it together,” Bowyer says.
The event was supported by Richard Williams, whose specialist knowledge comes from running boot camps. Richard is passionate about helping kids develop fine motor skills using fun activities such as parkour and obstacle course training. His advice and guidance was invaluable to ensuring the safety and success of the event. Local businesses and volunteers also helped with materials and labour to build the obstacle course.
The day was a huge success with students too busy having fun to realise that they were also developing skills like co-operation and risk assessment while at the same time building mental resilience by overcoming fears as well as improving motor skills. “Mudletics is also about giving kids permission to get dirty,” Bowyer says. Some of the course involved tackling rope swings and climbing and crawling over and under obstacles and of course everyone’s favourite, traversing the mud pit.
With increased concerns around safety and addiction to screen time, kids just aren’t spending enough time in ‘freestyle’ physical play as previous generations. “Twenty years ago it was common for kids to climb trees or balance on gates or walls. They were encouraged to explore the natural environment and as a result would develop their physical skills and abilities,” says Bowyer.
Not just a fun day out, the Mudletics event was also a fundraiser for the school’s “Garden Kitchen Classroom” program raising over $4500.
Future plans for greater community involvement are in the pipeline and Emerald Primary School wish to encourage other schools or organisations who may wish to run their own Mudletics event to contact them to learn how.