These are all things I made during my Christmas holidays. And now I play with mud for work.
With an unusually wet and cool summer in Australia, it is a great opportunity to get kids outside and into the mud!
Getting kids to play with dirt isn't just about getting covered with mud (and poor Mum/Dad having to clean them up after). They are actually learning a lot about soil and environmental science.
Let them mix with their hands! Feeling the mud in their hands is exactly how a soil scientist works out the texture of the soil. The texture helps us to understand how much gravel, clay, sand, silt and loam makes up a soil.
If you ask your kids to decorate your mud surprise, they will probably run straight back into the yard. They will scavenge for cool nuts, berries, fruits and leaves. They will learn about where different leaves and fruits come from, and at what time of the year they can find them.
Most kids will get a bucket of dirt and add water when making their Mud Kitchen treats. How much water the soil can hold is all about soil physics and soil water holding properties. If they get two different soils for two different cakes, they can compare the difference!
Soil is important for life
Whilst they are busy digging up the yard, they will notice grass, trees and all sorts of plants growing in the dirt. Maybe they will even find a worm or two. Noticing that things are growing in the soil will help them to understand where food and fibre comes from and how important soil is in our lives.
Convinced that playing with mud can help learning?!?!
Why not make them a Mud Kitchen!
You can stock your kids Mud-Pie kitchen with kids gardening gear, your old gardening tools, old containers and kitchen equipment. Just make sure they have a bowl and spoon, or they won't be able to bake mud cakes!
Playing with mud does mean mess. But, soil isn't actually 'dirty'. Simple hygiene (washing hands with soap before eating) is all you need to worry about in Australia. And if you give them old clothes to frolic in, then you don't have to worry about them ruining their new Christmas outfits.
Merry Muddy Christmas!
Thanks to my Mum for letting me get dirty during my school holidays. And thanks to Jane Rawson @ The Conversation for inspiration, following the post 'Off the couch and out the door'. Check it out for other awesome holiday tips!