Mud seems to fascinate many toddlers. It’s wet, it’s squishy, it can be shaped, it can be piled, it can be smeared and, before it can be washed away, it can certainly get a reaction from the adults. If you see your child wallowing in mud and getting dirty, try to curb the urge to grab and plant him or her in the bathtub forthwith. Playing in mud is just one of the many ways in which a toddler explores his or her world. There’s no harm to engaging in an activity with different textures of mud, provided:
- The mud is clean.
- You stay around to make sure the toddler doesn’t eat it.
- You do clean up your child thoroughly afterward.
In this activity with different textures of mud for toddlers, we will play with different types of mud, make mud objects, build mud castles and round it up with a mud bath.
- A sandbox, if there is no yard
- A shallow mud pit, if there is a yard
- A water bucket
- A spade
- A plastic cup or glass
- A spoon
- Multani mitti (available in the cosmetics sections of Indian grocery stores in the USA)
- Shredded thin paper
- Soap flakes
Prepare different types of mud:
- Sandy mud
- Smooth garden soil mud
- Clay mud
- Multani mitti mud
- Soapy paper mud
Have your toddler dip right in. Ask him or her if he/she notices any difference in the mud consistency and textures. Which one does he/she like best?
Talk about how mud is formed when it rains or when someone leaves the garden tap or garden hose on for too long.
Talk about mud and its various uses. Plants like mud as it helps them grow; some plants like Lotus can grow only in muddy soil. Some mud, like that of Multani mitti, is used to clean the skin. Some mud, like mud from the Dead Sea, is used in natural treatments for skin problems. Some mud, made from clay and shredded paper, can be used to make pots, vases and various other objects.
Talk about animals, insects and birds that like mud. A Hippopotamus likes mud as mud keeps it cool. Some birds like the Flamingo and the Magpie build their nests with mud.
Talk about how mud feels good between the toes.
Tell the preschoolers that garden mud can contain germs, so it is important not to put it into their mouths and to always wash muddy hands with clean water and soap.
If you have a yard, pick a spot for the activity with different textures of mud and, with the spade, dig a shallow ditch. Fill it up with water and let the ditch get muddy. Let your toddler play in this.
Make mud pies and mud balls, and build mud castles. Decorate with shells, colored stones and sweet wrappers stuck on toothpicks.
What Else to Do
Do some gardening while you are nice and muddy. See “Grow With Me! Creating a Toddler Garden.”
Read about the mud-loving earthworm: Meeting the Earthworm.