Let them get dirty. Let them cake it on if they want to. They might make mud pies, mud forts, and make...well, very muddy kids. But this is all a part of being creative and just being a kid.
I remember one time a few years back, my kids were all playing in the backyard in a huge pile of mud that they had made. A friend came over and saw them like this and practically acted like I was abusing them. I can tell you she wasn't amused when my response to her concern was uncontrollable laughter.
Apparently she got the point though because a few months later, she was at my house with her kids, letting them enjoy it too. The problem was never the mud. The problem was the perception of it. Of course you can't just let your kids play in any mud but if the mud is safe to the best of your knowledge, just let them be kids.
Please don't stifle their creativity by giving them your own ideals of what's proper and what isn't. Give them a stick or something and watch them have fun in the mud if they wish to
Do your kids play in the mud?
*I originally published this on another venue (no longer published there)