Let’s Get Dirty: Fun Mud Activities

Guest post by Susan Goodman

muddy_boy_photolibrarycom_250x382Been raining forever and your kids are stir crazy? Grab some old clothes, don some ratty shoes or boots, and go outdoors. Just find some mud patches (or make them) and have a great day getting dirty.

And here are goofy, gooey ways to get started. And parents: Here are some tips to get mud stains out of clothing!

Be an Artist

  • Give your child a stick and a muddy surface to draw on. Mistakes are no problem; mud is a very forgiving medium. Just smooth them over and start again.
  • Mud prints are fun, too. Your child’s muddy hands and/or feet can stamp cool patterns onto a sheet of paper. If you prefer to keep it simple, the sidewalk is another canvas.
  • And then there’s sculpture. Mud balls can become out-of-season snowmen or abstract sculptures.  If your child’s creation isn’t sticking together, just add more water.
  • Here is an amazing mud-ball project, which is an interesting art form in Japan.Your kids might shrink from actually doing it, since it involves rubbing a mud ball for two hours—but it’s a fun thing to tell your kids about during their mud play.

Be a Builder

  • Your children can make buildings of all shapes and sizes if they use sticks to create a frame and pack mud on to it. Houses perhaps, a castle with a moat, a stable to put toy horses in.
  • If they also like the idea of large-scale public works, have them make a river by digging a trench in the mud or dirt. Then, add water as needed. Most importantly, build a dam to protect the town!

Be a Biologist

  • Take a walk through your neighborhood or a local park so your children can learn which animals go under cover during rain and which come out in this type of weather. You might not have pigs nearby, but some dogs will happily wallow in a mud puddle if they have a chance. You may also see birds swooping down to take a bath.
  • This is also a fine time to study worms that surface to breathe when their burrows fill with water. Supply a magnifying glass so your children can get an even closer look. Then, enlist the kids in a Worm Rescue Squad. Ask them to move any worms they find on the sidewalk back to the dirt so they don’t dry out.
  • Now, help them build a worm hotel.

Be a Baker

  • If you’re going to play in the mud, why not go “classic” and make some mud pies? If you have some old cake or pie tins, great. Otherwise, shallow plastic containers work just fine. Once the pies are “baked,” it’s time to make them beautiful! Encourage your children to scour the yard for pebbles, petals, and leaves that will make perfect decorations on top.

Keep the Fun Going Inside

Susan E. Goodman currently writes the “Green Hour” features for NWF’s Your Big Backyard magazine.  She is also an award-winning author of nonfiction books for children, including All in Just One Cookie and On This Spot. To learn more about Susan and her books, visit www.susangoodmanbooks.com.