Here are 8 fun and fabulous International Mud Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers to do at home, preschool or daycare.
When is International Mud Day?
International Mud Day falls on June 29th every year, which coincides with the end of the school year in our region, making it a perfect way to kick off summer vacation.
What is International Mud Day?
Mud Day or International Mud Day is a day when children all over the world are encouraged to experience the joy of playing with and playing in mud. The idea for International Mud Day was born in 2009 when Gillian McAuliffe from Western Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal, two leaders in the field of Early Childhood Education met at a world forum in Belfast and fell into a discussion about the importance of mud play in early childhood. You can read more about their story and the history of International Mud Day here.
I often set up mud-play activities for my daycare hooligans to enjoy when we’re playing in the backyard, so imagine my delight when I learned about International Mud Day. It’s a whole day dedicated to playing in the mud, and it’s celebrated world-wide.
Mud Day, a fun way to kick off summer!
My daycare closes for the summer (July and August), so the timing of Mud Day is perfect as it always occurs during the last week of daycare before the kids head off on summer holiday.
We’ve made it an annual tradition to take part in the mud day celebrations as a fun way of wrapping up our daycare year and kicking off summer.
Every year, I think up creative, mucky, ways to play with mud, and we spend the day in the backyard getting filthy dirty and loving every minute of it.
Playing with mud is good for your health!
Aside from the sensory aspect and the sheer fun of it all, recent studies have proven that there are actual physical and mental health benefits associated with mud play.
Did you hear that? It’s actually healthy to play with mud!
In honour of International Mud Day, here are some of our favourite mud-play activities from recent years. I hope they inspire you to start celebrating Mud Day with your kids and students every year.
How to make play mud:
Before we get started, you’ll need some mud, and if you don’t have a natural supply of it in your yard, you’ll need to make your own.
To make play mud, you’ll need:
- clean potting soil
- play sand
- large spoons or sandbox shovels
- container (see suggestions below)
- Choose a container to mix your mud in. Depending on the number of kids you’ll be entertaining, it could be as small as a mixing bowl or bucket or much larger, like a storage tote, water table or wheelbarrow.
- Mix the potting soil and sand together in your container in a 1:1 ratio.
- Add water from the garden hose until and continue mixing until you have the consistency you’re looking for.
Some activities like a mud-slide will require your mud to be watery. If you’ll be making mud pies or sculpting with your mud, go easy on the water so the mud holds together well.
8 International Mud Day Activities for Kids
Simple Mud Bin Activity:
The easiest mud activity at all is to simply offer your child batch of mud in a shallow storage bin.
Provide spoons, scoops and bowls, and let them just muck around in the bin. This activity is great for small spaces and can even be done indoors on a blanket or a vinyl table cloth.
Brick-laying Activity for Kids:
The hooligans had a ton of fun with this muddy activity. I set out a bunch of small bricks, and gave the kids a bucket of mud and some trowels. The children stacked their bricks, slathering a layer of mud on each one, and then they used their trowels to scrape off the excess.
Mobile Mud Pit:
One of our favourite ways to play with mud is to set up a mobile mud pit in a wheelbarrow. You can see our mobile mud pit here.
I came up with the idea to create a temporary mud pit in our wheelbarrow years ago when I wanted a mud kitchen for my daycare, but I didn’t want to dig up an area of my lawn to get one. A mud pit in a wheelbarrow was the perfect solution. The kids can stand around it and play as a group, and I can move it to wherever we need it in the yard.
Painting with Mud:
For this activity, we used an old whiteboard that I’d actually planned to take to the dump. I’m so glad I didn’t!
It provided a wonderful surface for the kids to paint and finger paint on. I realize not everyone has a spare white board sitting around, but your kids can paint with mud on a fence, the driveway, or even on a large sheet of cardboard as long as you provide them with paintbrushes and a bucket of mud.
Muddy Car Wash Activity:
A wagon full of mud, some hot wheels tracks and a soapy bin of water at the end of the ramp always keeps my hooligans busy for hours. You can see all the fun we have with our muddy carwash here.
Backyard Mud Slide:
We’ve made homemade water slides before, and they’re a ton of fun, but for kids who love to get muddy, a backyard mud slide is a dream come true. We mix up a big container of watery mud, and the kids load up the slide with it, and slide down through it.
To extend the slide even further, we tuck a camping tarp underneath it.
Gourmet Mud Pies:
The hooligans love to spend a morning making mud pies with mud and pantry items like lentils and pasta. They also trim leaves and stems from the garden to garnish their pies with.
Pro tip: Fill plastic shaker containers with sandbox sand for the kids to use as salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.
Mud-cake decorating party:
Here’s another easy mud activity that requires very little set-up. Supply the kids with a bucket of mud and some spoons, styrofoam produce trays and muffin tins. They’ll have a blast making and decorating wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes and muffins.
Cleaning up after mud play
I always set out a camping water jug and a big basin of soapy water when we’re doing a mud activity. The kids love having a source of running water for their activities and it makes it easy for them to rinse their hands during and after the play session.
Remember to dress for it!
And remember to dress appropriately for mud day. Old clothes are a must, and bathing suits are even better!
More Great Backyard Activities for Kids
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.