Children will develop observation and comparison skills.
- Plastic smocks, ponchos or old raincoats
- Small trowels or plastic sand shovels
- Variety of containers, such as coffee cans, plastic tubs, and pails
- Large spoons
- Chart paper
- Watering cans
Ask parents to bring in a pair of boots for their child on the day you plan to introduce the activity. If you'd like to make disposable smocks, simply cut arm and neck holes in garbage bags. Talk with children about mud. Ask: "What makes mud? Where does it come from?"
- Help children put on smocks and take a walk to a muddy area outdoors. Give children shovels and containers for digging. Make comparisons and observations: "Bill, you have a large and a small container. Which one do you think will hold more mud? How does mud feel? Mushy? Cold? Wet?"
- Encourage students to scoop mud into their containers. Ask, "What will happen if we pour more water into the mud or put it in the sun?" Have children try this. Then talk about how the mud changed.
- Ask children to think about things they can do with mud. Suggest making a mud person. Demonstrate how to shape mud into balls, and help children arrange the balls to form a body. If the mud is too wet, ask them what they think is needed to make it drier (dry dirt or sand). Encourage children to collect branches and leaves for body parts or decoration.
- Let your mud person dry in the sun. How many days do children think the mud creation will last? Record predictions and keep a daily tally. What do they think will make the mud person "melt"?
For younger children: Take easels outdoors. Fill paint containers with mud. Allow children to experiment with paintbrushes and/or their fingers to make marvelous mud paintings!
For older children: Invite children to experiment with adding different quantities of water to the mud and filling molds with the different mud consistencies. Which molded mud structures are firm? Which are weak?
Observation: What do children find the most interesting about mud play? Analyzing mud? Building with it?
Create a new finger paint by adding a small amount of white glue to mud.