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.
We often play in the yard with mud, making mud-pies and whatnot, but until 5 or 6 years ago, I didn’t realize that International Mud Day existed, and that kids all around the world celebrate the day by playing in the mud.
Mud Day, a fun way to kick off summer!
I was delighted to learn that International Mud Day falls on the same day every year, and that day just happens to always fall somewhere during our last week of daycare before I close my doors for summer each year. 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.
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 mud for play:
Before we get started, let’s talk about how to make mud for mud play. After all, if you don’t have a natural supply of mud in your yard, you’ll need to make your own.
You will need:
- clean potting soil
- play sand
- 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 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 simply a batch of mud in a shallow storage bin. You can provide your kids with 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 mud 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 and here. I came up with the idea to create a mud pit in our wheelbarrow years ago.
I had seen several wonderful backyard mud pits on some of the kid-blogger sites, but I didn’t want to convert a section of our yard to a permanent mud patch. 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 keeps the hooligans busy for the better part of the morning. 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. That way the kids can clean their hands easily during and after the play session.
And remember to dress appropriately for mud day. Old clothes are a must, and bathing suits are even better!
More Outdoor Sensory Play Ideas:
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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. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.