| - Science/Measuring/Five Senses
|Making mud outdoors is always fun for young children, but if that is not possible, try this. Bring in an extra-large container of dirt and let your children help sift it to remove stones, twigs, leaves, and other items. (Set the nature items aside to use later.) In an old plastic dishpan, or similar container, help the children stir the dirt with water, starting with a combination of three parts dirt to two parts water and adjusting the amounts as necessary. Invite the children to explore the mud with their hands and fingers: How does it feel? What does it look like? Sound like? Smell like?
| - Art
Make some mud and let your children use it for the activities below.
|Mud Fingerpainting: Make a mud mixture with the consistency of fingerpaint. Give each child a large piece of heavy brown paper, cut from a grocery bag or similar paper, with a spoonful of the mud in the center. Invite the children to use their hands and fingers to make designs on their papers with the mud “fingerpaint.” (Children who don’t want to get their hands dirty can use cotton swabs to paint designs with the mud.)
|Mud Printing: Pour thin mud into shallow containers and set out pieces of heavy brown paper. Let the children dip their hands and fingertips into the mud and then press them on their papers to make handprints and fingerprints.
|Mud Pies: Make a thick mud mixture. Set out small disposable tart pans, spoons, and nature items, such as those from the activity Making Mud, above. Invite the children to make mud pies in the pans and use the nature items to decorate the tops of the pies.
| – Color Recognition
Set out a brown cardboard carton or an extra-large piece of brown paper or fabric. Ask your children to search for brown objects in the room (make sure brown toys, pictures, and so forth are within easy reach). Whenever a brown object is found, have the children place it in the cardboard carton. At the end of the game, remove the objects and discuss their various brown shades.
Pour thick mud into an old cake pan and set out a package of large birthday candles (or use sticks to represent candles). Invite one child at a time to play this game with you. Begin by asking the child to tell his or her age. Then have the child insert that many candles in the “mud cake.” Count the number of candles together. Then ask the child to add three more candles. How many candles are in the cake now? Ask the child to take away two candles, and then count together how many candles are left on the cake. Continue with similar adding and subtracting directions as long as interest lasts.
MUD BATHS – Dramatic Play/Movement
Pigs know that rolling in mud is great for their skin. On hot days, taking a mud bath helps to keep them cool. Clear an open area inside your room and ask your children to imagine that it is a big mud hole. Then have them pretend to be little pigs and roll around—this way and that—in the soothing, cooling “mud.” If you like, play some music for the piglets to roll around to.
| - Science
This is a fun activity for your children to try outdoors during a spell of warm, sunshiny weather. In a large container, such as an old plastic dishpan, have the children stir together dirt, water, and handfuls of grass to make a thick, clay-like mixture. Show them how to form the mixture into small rectangular “bricks.” Then help them find a sunny spot to place the bricks where they can be left to dry for several days. (Note that the smaller the bricks, the faster they will dry.) When the bricks have dried and hardened, encourage the children to use them for making whatever they wish.
Tune: “Down by the Station”
Out in the backyard
Invite your children to act out the song as you sing.
Early in the morning,
See the little children
Playing in a row.
See them stirring mud
And making little mud pies.
Stir, stir, pat, pat,
Watch them go!
– Food Preparation
Let your children help you make instant chocolate pudding. Pour the pudding into individual clear-plastic cups for “mud.” Have each child crush a chocolate cookie wafer inside a small plastic zipper bag. Then show the children how to sprinkle their cookie crumbs on top of their pudding to represent dirt.