Frozen! Winter Art Activities

Yes, the children will let you know that the blockbuster Disney movie, Frozen, can be an inspiration for anything and everything cold and icy. You don’t need any cryokinetic powers to produce ice and snow. Depending on where you live, just venture outside or open the freezer. Most of these activities take little or no preparation…and remember, it’s the process, not the finished product…so “Let It Go” if you think the end result is for children to make something that looks like something recognizable (i.e., providing a pattern of a snowflake or snowman to use with the art medium).  Have fun discovering the science in these activities while exploring with art!  As Olaf said, “Some people are worth melting for.”  I think the children will agree.

frozen 1 frozen 2 Rainbow Snow Painting
Fill spray bottles half full with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ (do not dilute the color by adding water). If you have snow, go outside and have fun spray-painting snow. If it gets too cold and fingers in mittens don’t work too well with the trigger sprayers (my favorite sprayers are the ones from Ace® Hardware), let the children scoop the snow in buckets and bring it inside to your water table. Spray away. Observe how the colors blend to make new colors. Way cool!frozen 8

Paintsicles
Squeeze Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ or BioColor® into ice cube trays. Cover trays with aluminum foil and insert craft sticks (poke through foil) into each cube. Place trays in freezer overnight. Pop paintsicles out of the trays. Provide heavy white paper or tagboard and using the craft stick as a handle, children paint the entire paper with bright blocks of color.

frozen 3

Ice Designs
Draw designs on heavy white paper with a washable marker. Using plain ice cubes, children “paint” over the designs and watch how the colors soften and blend..frozen 4Ice Castles
Materials Needed:
Ice—cubes, blocks, etc.
Table salt
Rock salt
Kosher salt (optional)
Eye droppers
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™
Sensory tub or water/sand table
Small containers/cups to hold the salt and Liquid Watercolor™

Procedure:

  1. Freeze water in a variety of sizes and shapes of empty containers—plastic bowls, jello molds, cardboard milk containers, ice cube trays, etc. In cold climates, children could put the containers of water outside to freeze.
  2. Empty the ice shapes and ice cubes into the sensory tub or water table.
  3. Place small cups of salt and rock salt in the tub.
  4. Place small cups of Liquid Watercolor™ in tub.  Add an eye dropper to each cup.
  5. Problem solve with the children how best to use the ice to form ice castles, deciding which blocks of ice would be best on the bottom and which would work better on the top.  Children can sprinkle the salt on top of each chunk of ice before adding another piece.  Talk with them about how the salt begins to melt the ice.  Then when another piece is added, the water refreezes and becomes part of the newly added piece of ice, helping it to stick together creating ice castles.
  6. Children then use the droppers to drop the Liquid Watercolor™ into the cracks and holes created by the rock salt and salt making a colorful kingdom.

Learning Outcomes/Desired Results:

    • Cognitive-Science – Cause and Effect: Discuss the chemical reaction that ice has when salt is sprinkled on it.  Salt lowers the freezing point of ice, causing it to melt.
    • Cognitive-Science – Cause and Effect: Solids transforming into liquids.
    • Cognitive-Science – Cause and Effect: Mixing primary colors (red, yellow and blue) you make the secondary colors (orange, green and purple).
    • Physical-Fine Motor Skills: Using small muscles (pincher grasp) in fingers to squeeze the bulb of the dropper and to pick up grains of salt and chunks of rock salt.
    • Physical-Fine Motor Skills – Eye-Hand Coordination: Hands and eyes working together to accomplish a task; using fingers to manipulate dropper with color and squirting colors into salt crevices.
    • Cognitive-Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Some children will have difficulty in figuring out how to get the color into the dropper and then onto the ice. Handling the eye dropper will be a challenge, so they should be shown how to use it and encouraged to keep trying until they succeed.
    • Language Development: Children talk excitedly about what they see happening.
    • Encourages creativity and persistence.
    • Social/Emotional Development: Fostered as this is an open-ended activity with no right or wrong way to do this activity.  It promotes children’s self-esteem.

frozen 5 frozen 6 Nature’s Frozen Beauty
Freeze nature items (leaves, pine needles, flowers, berries, small rocks) in silicone cupcake liners or an aluminum or silicone cupcake/muffin tray. Let the children put items (flower, leaf, etc.) of their choice into each of the cupcake liners. Then fill them halfway with water. Before putting them into the freezer or outside, insert a paper clip (open half-way) into each cupcake liner that will be used to hang up the frozen decorations. Once frozen, pop them out of their mold (cupcake liner or tray) and decorate your outdoor environment by having the children hang them on tree branches, fences or whatever else will support the icy decoration. As the temperature warms up and the sun comes out, the children will observe and discover what happens to their once frozen beautiful decorations.frozen 7

Product Recommendations:
Ultimate BioColor® Creativity Kit (BCKIT3)
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ Classroom Favorites Pack (LWKIT4)
E-Z Pull Extra Large Clear Trigger Sprayers, 12 oz. – Set of 6 (TSBOT)
Super Safe Plastic Droppers - Set of 12 (12SSD)
6 Paint Cups in a Base (PNTCPS)
Best Value Sand & Water Activity Table - Medium (LWTAB)
Sand and Water Buckets  – Set of 6 (BUCKSET)
Indestructible Scoops - Set of 4 (SCOOP4)
Regular Craft Sticks - 100 Pieces (CRAF)
White Sulfite Paper - 500 Sheets ((A80SU)
Extra Sturdy Tagboard - 100 Sheets (9WT)
Colorations® Super Washable Chubby Markers (16CHB)

Bean Bag Bonanza! 6 Games for Young Children

The bean bag is a “handy” loose material and you can never have too many! Make sure you have enough so that each child has one if not four at their disposal. There are an endless number of games that you can play. Let the children make up their own games too. Here are six super games that can be played indoors or outside.

Bean Bag Bonanza

Eeeny Meeny Miny Mo Name Game

A great get-to-know-you name game to play at circle time. With one child holding a bean bag, the entire group of children at circle time begin chanting…

Eeeny Meeny Miny Mo,

(child holding bean bag tosses it back and forth from one hand to the other)

Throw a beanbag, toss it low,

(child throws bean bag underhand to another child in the circle)

Say your name,

(child who catches bean bag says her name)

Way to go!

The game continues until each child in the group has a turn tossing and catching the bean bag.

CBB

Bubble Gum Rhyme

Another fun game to play a circle time. With children sitting in a circle, have them pass the bean bag from one person to the other next to them, chanting this rhyme…

Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish,

How many pieces do you wish?

Whoever is holding the bean bag at the end of the rhyme, gets to say how many pieces (i.e., from one to twenty). The bean bag is then passed again from person to person while counting that many times. When the number is reached, the game begins again while chanting the rhyme and passing the bean bag.

COOLBEAN 2

Lost Gold

With children sitting cross legged in a circle, show them the precious gold—a yellow bean bag. Tell them that the precious gold will be lost. Have one child leave the room while you give the gold (bean bag) to another child sitting in the circle. That child hides the gold under their legs. The child who left the room is instructed to return to circle and find the missing gold. The child who is seeking the gold walks around the inside of the circle. Everyone sitting in the circle begins clapping. They clap slower or more softly if the child seeking the gold moves away from the gold and louder and faster when the seeker gets closer to the gold. Children clap their loudest and fastest when the seeker is directly in front of the child who is hiding the gold. The seeker points to the child who he thinks is hiding the gold. If his guess is incorrect, the seeker continues walking and listening to the clapping until he guesses correctly. When the seeker guesses who has the gold, that child gives him the gold. The seeker joins the circle and sits on the floor. Another child is asked to leave the room and the gold is given to another child sitting in the circle who hides it under their legs. The game continues until everyone has had a turn finding the gold.

Bean Bag Shuttle

Make two boundaries with jump ropes or tape about 12-15 feet apart. Have children stand behind one of the boundaries with several bean bags at their feet. At the opposite boundary place a bucket or basket for each child. When you say a locomotor movement (walk, run, gallop, skip, creep on hands and knees, frog jump, etc.) children will pick up a bean bag and travel that way (i.e., gallop) to the opposite side and put the bean bag in the container (bucket or basket) and run back to the starting boundary. The game continues with different locomotor commands.

ABCTOSS

Over and Under

Have children form a straight line one person behind the other. If you have a large group of children, divide them into 2 or 3 lines parallel to each other. Give the first person in each line a bean bag. When you say, “go” the first person in each line passes the bean bag overhead to the person behind him. The bean bag continues to be passed overhead from player to player. The last person receiving the bean bag quickly moves to the front of the line. The game continues until the original leader once again stands at the start of the line. The activity is repeated, but this time the bean bag is passed between the legs of the players. The third time the game is played, the bean bag is passed overhead to the person behind them. The second person in line must pass the bean bag between their legs to the third person behind them. The third person passes the bean bag over their head to the next person and so forth in the same “over-under” pattern.

COOLBEAN 1

Co-operative Bean Bags

Each child places a bean bag on their head and then walks around the designated play space keeping the bean bag balanced. If the bag falls off a child’s head, that child must let it drop to the ground and freeze (turn into ice). To become unfrozen another player must come to help. The helping player can hold onto his own bean bag (placing one hand on top of the bean bag on his head) and pick up the fallen bean bag with the other hand and give it to the frozen player. The player is now unfrozen and puts the bean bag on his head and is free to move again.

Product Recommendations:
Colored Beanbags – set of 12 (CBB)
Excellerations® Super Sensory Beanbags – set of 12 (COOLBEAN)
Excellerations® Alphabet Beanbags – set of 26 (ABCTOSS)
16′ Nylon Jump Ropes – set of 3 (JMPRP16)
Mavalus Removable Poster Tape – set of 3 (MAVALUS)
Classroom Activity Baskets – set of 6 (CATCHY)
Large Red Bucket (LBUCKRED)

Cool Bean Bags!

Once you put one of these super sensory bean bags in your hands, you’ll quickly discover why they are nicknamed COOLBEAN. Each bean bag is covered with soft chenille fabric nubs, making them irresistible to the touch. Grasp them, squeeze them, and listen to the crinkling sound they make. They come in 4 bright colors and are the perfect size and weight for tossing and catching. COOLBEAN definitely engages the senses—vision, hearing, touch and kinesthesia (sense of body’s movements). What also makes Excellerations® Super Sensory Beanbags “really cool” is that they are for children ages 18 months and up and are even washable!

Benefits of Using Bean Bags:

  • Younger children may find bean bags easier to handle than a ball. A bean bag is usually smaller and softer than a ball; consequently a child has less fear of being hit or hurt.
  • Because bean bags can’t roll away, they may be less frustrating for the child with poor coordination skills.
  • Catching and throwing a bean bag helps a child develop the skill of grasp and release.
  • A bean bag will help a child develop the hand strength required for handling a ball.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  1. Gross motor skills: using the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk
  2. Fine motor skills: using the small muscles of the of the body (eyes, hands, fingers) to perform specific movements such as throwing and catching
  3. Hand-eye coordination: hands and eyes working together smoothly to meet a challenge
  4. Balance: being able to hold the position of the body through the interaction of muscles working together
  5. Laterality: understanding of the differences between right and left and being able to control the two sides of the body independently and together
  6. Kinesthetic awareness: inner messages from the muscles, tendons, and joints received by the body in order to move
  7. Listening skills: ability to follow verbal directions

Here are some fun and challenging bean bag activities for young children. In next month’s post, I’ll share several games that you can play using bean bags.

Bean Bag Toss

Child tosses bean bag upward into the air and catches it before it hits the floor. Child first catches it with two hands. Child then attempts to catch the bean bag with one hand and then the other hand. The height of the toss should increase as the child’s skill improves.

Child tosses the bean bag back and forth across the body from one hand to the other. The height of the toss and the distance between hands should increase as the child’s skill improves.

Child tosses the bean bag into the air, turns around and then catches it. Challenge child to clap hands once, and catch it. Ask child to clap hands twice, then catch it.

Bean Bag Throw

Place a hoop on the floor, lean it against a wall or hang it up. Have child step back and throw a bean bag into the hoop. With each successful throw encourage the child to take another step back to make it more challenging.

Attach a target to a wall. I like to use one of the Excellerations® Pair-a-Chute. Keeping his “eye on the target,” the child throws bean bags at the different colors on the parachute.

Bean Bag Catch

Find a partner and play catch with the bean bag. Remind the child to use only his hands to catch and to keep his eyes on the bean bag. Play catch with your partner throwing underhand. Play catch with your partner throwing overhand. This time, stand close to your partner and play catch. If you catch the bean bag without dropping it, take a step back. If you drop it, take a step up. See how far apart you can get playing catch with your partner.

Using both hands, one child holds a bucket or basket. Let the other child toss bean bags to the child holding the bucket, who attempts to catch each one in the bucket.

Bean Bag Balance

Have child place bean bag on a body part—head, arm, shoulder, elbow and walk in the open space or on a designated line marked out on the floor.

Try a crab walk with the bean bag on the tummy or a creep like a cat with a bean bag on the back.

Bean Bag Jump

Have child place bean bag on the floor. Ask the child to jump forward over the bean bag. Ask them to jump backward, then sideways. You can repeat this series several times.

Have child place bean bag between their knees and jump forward like a kangaroo.

Product Recommendations:

Excellerations® Super Sensory Beanbags (COOLBEAN)

Brawny Tough Activity Hoops (HOOPSET)

Excellerations® Pair-a-Chute (PAIRUP)

Classroom Activity Baskets (CATCHY)

Sand and Water Buckets (LBUCKRED)

The Hokey Pokey Bone Dance!

skeleton dancing  It’s that time of year to learn “All About Me and My Body” and that includes the bones in our body! Halloween is a great time to introduce bone anatomy to children. Wherever you look, there are ghosts, vampires or boney skeletons trick or treating. We all have a skeleton made up of many bones. These bones give our body structure, let us move in many ways, protect our internal organs, and more. A fun way to learn about our bones is to sing and move to the traditional song, “The Hokey Pokey,” but instead of putting the body part “in” and “out” substitute the body part with the bone name. Of course, with my early learners, I can use the generic words; for example, I could use “finger bones” or “toe bones” instead of phalanges…but, hey, if the kids are interested in learning the “big” words…go for it! A great educational tool and visual aid to use is the Foam Skeleton Floor Puzzle. Not only will the children learn about bone anatomy but it will also de-sensitize them to the scary figures at Halloween, teaching them what a skeleton really is. First sing the song including 2-3 bones and then each day add another bone. You can make it fun and easy by starting with the head and going all the way down to the phalanges of the toe bones. Always make sure to end the song with, “You put your skeleton in, you put your skeleton out; You put your skeleton in, and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey Bone Dance, and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.
skeleton map

General List of Bones of the Human Skeleton:

cranium = skull

phalanges = finger and toe bones

sternum and/or ribs = chest

humerus = long bone in arm that runs from shoulder to elbow

ulna and/or radius = large bones of the forearm

pelvic = hip bone

femur = thighbone

patella = knee bone

tibia and/or fibula = leg bones

spine = backbone

skeleton = whole body

The Hokey Pokey Bone Dance

You put your cranium in,

You put your cranium out,

You put your cranium in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey Pokey Bone Dance,

And you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about!

You put your phalanges in,

You put your phalanges out,

You put your phalanges in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey Pokey Bone Dance,

And you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about!

You put your sternum in,

You put your sternum out,

You put your sternum in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey Pokey Bone Dance,

And you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about!

You put your pelvic bone in,

You put your pelvic bone out,

You put your pelvic bone in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey Pokey Bone Dance,

And you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about!

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Foam Skeleton Floor Puzzle (LIFESIZE)

Human X-Rays (SKELETON)
Our Bodies Paperback Books (OBBKS)

A Round of Applause for Active Learning!

“When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.

                                                                                                Samuel Goldwyn (film producer)

Praise, reward and cheer your students without candy or presents. Recognize children by praising (express warm approval or admiration) the positive things they do. Children appreciate a teacher’s affirmation that they are doing a good job and what better way than involving all classmates in celebrating their participation in an activity or game.

Remember, creative teachers aren’t born, they’re made by the teacher next door. The following ideas or “cheers” I have learned from other teachers but have added my own little twist. Use them often as the children never tire of them. Encourage your students to make up their own. Jump for joy. Sing and shout. Hip! Hip! Hurray! Let’s Celebrate! 10 Cheers for Learning!

A Round of Applause

Clap hands in a circle in front of body. Clap other shapes—A Triangle of Applause, A Square of Applause, etc.

A Pat On the Back

Everyone put one hand up in the air. Now put it on your back and give yourself a pat on the back!

Roller Coaster

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Lean head back like going up a roller coaster. Cup hands and fingers like holding onto a pretend lap bar. Make “Ch ch ch ch ch” sound as arms and hands climb above your head. When they reach the top, swoop arms down and say “Wooooooo!”

Na Na Hey Hey Good Job (song: “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”)

Wave arms back and forth above head and sing, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey-ey, good job!” Repeat song and replace “good job” with “goodbye.” This one is my favorite as I am known to my six grandchildren as Nana Banana!

Firecracker

images-8

Hold palms together vertically in front of body. Make a sizzling sound (Ssssss) as you wiggle your palms in the air like a firecracker going off. Clap hands above head like a firecracker exploding. Wiggle your fingers down like the sparkles coming down from a firecracker and say child’s name in a high pitched voice or make the “Ahhhh” sound like people watching fireworks might do.

Sprinkler

Put your left hand on the back of your head. Stick your right arm out and begin to sweep the arm horizontally making a “Ch ch ch ch ch” sound while jerking the right arm in front like a rotating sprinkler. When your right arm can go no further to the left, clap hands back fast to the beginning on the right.

Stomp, Stomp, Clap (song: “We Will Rock You”)

If children are dispersed in the room after being engaged in an activity, have them move back to their seat stomping their feet and clapping their hands while saying, “Stomp, Stomp, Clap.” “Stomp, Stomp, Clap,” over and over until they reach their seat. As they move, sing “You Are, You Are, Awe-some.” “You Are, You Are, Awe-some!”

Truck Driver

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Tell children to turn on the engine with their pretend key. Grab your steering wheel and make a “Rrrrrr” sound as you pretend to turn the wheel and drive. Hold up right hand and pretend to pull on a horn and say, “Honk honk.” Next put fist by mouth like it’s a CB radio and say, “Good job, good buddy!”

Hamburger

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Stick out your right hand, palm down—this is your hamburger patty. Put left hand under the right hand and wiggle fingers like a flame, and say “sizzle, sizzle, sizzle” moving the hamburger patty across to one side of your body. Ask, “Is it done yet?” Turn right hand over and say, “Not yet!” Move hamburger patty to the other side of your body with left hand sizzling underneath. Ask again, “Is it done yet?” Say, “Yes,” and with both hands, give a thumbs-up and say, “Well done!”

Fan-tas-tik!

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Tell the children to get out their bottle of fantastik® spray cleaner and hold it in their right hand. Have them move the pretend bottle back and forth across their body as they spray, saying “You’re psh, psh psh…” (spray once for every ‘psh’). Hold up the other hand, palm facing out and pretend to wipe in circles over the liquid and say, “Fan-tas-tik!” “You are fan-tas-tik!”

Goals/Learning Outcomes:

  • Promote emotional development
  • Nurture social skills as all children participate together
  • Reduce discipline problems by redirecting children in positive ways
  • Engage movements across the body’s midline
  • Focus children’s attention, sending blood and oxygen to the brain
  • Develop eye-hand coordination
  • Facilitate language development
  • Build self-esteem and confidence

emodolls

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:

Excellerations® Emotions Plush Dolls (EMODOLLS)

Excellerations® Moods & Emotions Classroom Set (MOODS)

Know Your Emotions Books (EMOBKS)

Being a Good Citizen Books (CITIZEN)

Excellerations® Emotions & Moods Posters (EMPC)

Excellerations® Changing Emotions Block Puzzle (CHANGES)

Outdoor Art – Fly Swatter Painting!

IMG_3068

Fun, messy, creative and super-sized activities can take place outdoors. As an Outdoor Preschool Teacher for 12 years, I made opportunities for art every day in my outdoor classroom. The large space, different textures and objects, and ease of cleaning up all contribute to the success of art experiences outside. If you are a follower of my blog, plan on seeing me post oodles of more art ideas for the outdoors.

Materials:

Process:

  1. Place butcher paper or painting mat on the ground or adhere to a fence with clothespins or tape
  2. Pour paint onto the plastic art trays. One color per tray.
  3. Set the trays of paint on the ground or on a nearby table
  4. Place a different shape paint swatter in each tray (with color of swatter matching color of paint)
  5. Children press paint swatter into the paint and “swat” it onto the paper. They can keep “swatting” and making prints until they run out of paint on the swatter. Then have them choose a different shape swatter and different color.

Variations:

  • Put paper on the outdoor easel instead of the ground. Children who never paint at the indoor easel, might be excited to paint with a paint swatter and “swat the flies.”
  • Squeeze a few dabs of different colored paint onto the paper and invite the children to swat the paint flies.

3thesnailstrailyoyoprints20091127Suggestions:

Of course, you can buy some inexpensive fly swatters at your local dollar store. I especially like the Fun Shapes Paint Swatters from Discount School Supply®. They are just the right size for little hands and each of the 6 styles of swatters are a different shape and color. Children can use the swatter of their choice and easily return it to its correct color paint tray.

I’m not a big believer on insisting that children wear smocks every time they want to engage in an art activity. Make smocks available for those who may want one. For some children, the idea of wearing a smock discourages them from the activity. It interferes with their freedom. Encourage parents to send their children to school in clothes that can and will get dirty.

Goals/Learning Outcomes:

Physical Development—Fine Motor Skills—Building hand-eye coordination

Physical Development—Gross Motor Skills—Using large arm movements and whole body as children reach and stretch and slap the paint on the paper

Cognitive Development—Math—Color matching and one-to-one correspondence (swatter to paint trays)

Cognitive Development—Math—Geometry—Learning about shapes

Language Development—Children talking about how the colors are changing as the paint splats mix together and commenting on the noise that the swatters make as they hit the paper

Social Development—Cooperative—Children share the shape swatters and the space they are working in

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Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:

Brawny Tough Large Plastic Art Trays – Set of 5 (RECTRAY)

Fun Shapes Paint Swatters – Set of 24 (FLYSWAT)

Butcher Roll Paper (#5024 or #5036)

Cooperative Mural Art Material – 4′ x 10′ (LWMAT)

Colorations® Simply Washable Tempera Paint – Set of 15 (SWTALL)

Colorations® Machine Washable Toddler Smock (PTODSMOCK)

4-Way Acrylic Panel Easel (4WAPE)

Dirt + Water = Mud-luscious!

SK Internat Mud Day Post

On Sunday, June 29, children all over the world celebrated International Mud Day by getting messy with mud — one of nature’s best play materials!

Playing in dirt and mud is actually healthy for you.  Researchers now recommend playing in the dirt as a way to boost the body’s immune system, that digging in the dirt (and even ingesting a little bit of it) actually can help decrease a child’s risk of allergies and asthma.  The basis for this stems from the idea that limiting child’s play to primarily the indoors limits their exposure to natural organisms that build a healthy immune system.  In addition to the physical health benefits, dirt and mud play simply makes a person happier.  Recent studies report that children are spending 90% of their time indoors and more than 8 hours per day in front of a screen. Let’s get the kids outside and decrease stress and anxiety, decrease obesity and depression, build a strong immune system, and have fun!  International Mud Day reminds us that we should embrace mud play every day.  Here are ideas to bring mud play into your early childhood program—

Mud in the Sensory Table:

SK Internat Mud Day Table

Buy some clean fill, black dirt or potting soil and dump into your sensory/sand and water table.  Add child sized gardening tools, an array of containers, flower pots, artificial flowers, rocks, seed pods, sticks, plastic insects or dinosaurs.

Mud Patch:

If you have the room and the resources create a permanent digging patch.  You can buy the dirt from a nursery or building supplier.  Mix in approximately 1/3 sand to 2/3 soil to provide a more “diggable” mix.

•  Make mud castles, houses or forts using buckets and assorted containers.  Use sticks for supports.  Include tunnels, secret rooms, and even a moat.

•  Make rivers and dams.  Dig a river in the dirt and add water.  Build a dam to form a small puddle.

•  Bring in the toy trucks and props to create a construction zone.

Mud on Cookie Sheets/Baking Trays or Art Trays:

Create personal mud patches, smooth with hands and watch kids finger paint in the mud, write in the mud with sticks, make mud prints by placing mud-covered hands and feet on a clean sheet of paper, drive a toy car through the mud…the possibilities are endless..

Mud Painting/Art Ideas:

•  Set out an easel or find a large cardboard box.  Instead of paint, fill your paint cups or sand buckets with mud and let the children explore with brushes or their fingers to make mud paintings.  Add items from nature (leaves, petals, pine needles) to mud paintings creating a mud collage.

•  Make mud balls by shaping mud into balls by rolling the “dough” in your hands. Decorate the balls with flowers, leaves, rocks, or small twigs. Stack the mud balls on top of each other to create a unique sculpture.

Cooking in the Mud Kitchen:

SK Internat Mud Kitchen 1

Similar to your indoor/dramatic play housekeeping area, the kitchen requires a cooking appliance—an old plastic stove or box made into an oven.  If you can find an old cabinet or dresser, the children will have a place to work and store materials. Tree stumps or tree cookies can also be used as table surfaces.  Old pots and pans, mixing bowls, spoons, utensils, funnels, and other kitchenware give the kitchen an authentic feel and offer lots of different opportunities for play.

SK Internat Mud Kitchen 2

•  Make Mud Pies & Cupcakes—use old cake or pie tins, muffin tins, and even shallow plastic containers.  Once the pies or cupcakes are “baked,” it’s time decorate them with pebbles, petals, and leaves.  Yum!

•  Make Mud Stew—collect dirt, grass, leaves, twigs, and acorns in a large container.  Add some water and Soup’s on!

There are so many benefits of mud play besides the tactile, sensory experiences of squelching mud between fingers and toes. Children develop hand-eye coordination, learn about cause and effect, have fun co-operating, communicating, socializing, sharing, problem solving, discovering, laughing, experimenting, building, negotiating, imagining, and yes, getting a little dirty in the process.  If you find it hard to allow mud play in your early childhood program, you are depriving the children of a childhood that is well-lived and messy!

SK Internat Mud Day Hands

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Best Value Sand & Water Table – Large (BVST18)
Brawny Tough Art Trays – Set of 5 (RECTRAY)
Colorations® Air-Tight No-Mess Paint Cups – Set of 10 (10PC)
Natural Bristle Brushes – Set of 10 (10PCB)
Colorations® Indoor/Outdoor Adjustable Acrylic Panel Easels (4WAPE)
Jumbo Dump Truck (BIGTRUCK)
Construction Trucks – Set of 3 (TRUCK3)
Sand and Water Buckets (BUCKSET)
Premium Sand Set – 51 Pieces (SET51)
Classroom Starter Kit – Medium Animals (MEDANI)
Papier-Mache Flower Pots – Set of 12 (MACHEPOT)