Summer Water & Sand Activity: Mud Pies and More
Children will love experimenting with soil and water
- Grades: PreK–K
Skills: Children will engage in creative investigations to develop an understanding of mud.
- plastic basin ar sand table
- plastic potato mashers
- plastic tablecloth or drop cloth
- chart paper and marker
- shovels, scoops, plastic
- spoons, containers
- several bags of soil
- aluminum tart tins
- smocks or old shirt
- camera and film
In Advance: Tell families that the children will be investigating dirt and mud. Ask families to send an old oversized shirt for their child to wear. Have a camera ready to document the process of this project.
1 During group time, ask the children if they know how mud is made. Write the question on chart paper and record each child's response. Explain that they will work in small groups playing with and learning about mud.
2 Place several bags of soil into an empty sand table or basin. Ask the children if they know what soil is. Invite them to touch the soil and describe how it feels. What does the soil remind them of? Where have they seen soil before?
3 Fill a plastic container with water. Invite a child to pour the water onto the soil. Ask the children to feel the soil and describe what has happened to it. Then, saturate the soil with water. Invite a few children to mix the water into the soil. What have they made? Provide the children with scoops and plastic containers and encourage them to play with the mud.
4 Explain to the children that they can fill a tart tin with mud to make a mud pie. When they're done, invite them to place their mud pie on a sunny shelf in the room or in a sunny area on the playground. What do they think will happen to the mud? Allow the children opportunities to check on the mud to notice changes that are occurring. Ask: What are some other things we can do with mud? List their ideas and provide opportunities for experimentation.
5 After each child has had a mud experience, create a language experience chart to record all the things they learned. Use the photographs to document the process of the project. Invite children to create dictations about the photographs. Exhibit the children's documentation on the wall or in a book format.
For younger children: Give children time to create mud pies of their own design. Offer containers of different shapes and sizes that children can use for their muddy experiments.
For older children: Ask children to place their mud pies in different areas of the classroom, such as beneath a sunny window, in a cool, dry area, or inside a cabinet. Let them check their pies from times to time to see which is drying more quickly than the others. Ask: "Why do you think this happened?" "What did some pies have that the others didn't?"
Remember: Some children might not want to engage in this activity because it's so messy.
Provide the children with sturdy paper plates, paintbrushes, plastic cups, several bowls or cups of mud, plastic spoons, water, and smocks. Invite them to paint a picture on a paper plate using mud. Children can use water to dilute the mud and change its consistency as they paint. Exhibit the children's finished work with a description of the process.