Make Mud Brick Buildings
Young kids love the tactility of mud, and chances are your preschooler has already gotten into his fair share of mud adventures. Why not join in the fun (and make it educational while you're at it)? Make mud bricks with your child and teach him about this important building material and the ancient cultures that used it. Encourage your child to imagine what it was like building with bricks in ancient Egypt or Rome, and maybe even build a pyramid! This activity is especially good for kinesthetic learners who benefit from hands-on projects.
Here's a useful tip: when making the bricks, add a little plaster of Paris to the mud mixture to help it hold together better. Experiment by adding a little plaster at a time until the mud mixture reaches a good consistency.
What You Need:
- Plastic bucket
- Muffin tins or ice cube trays
- Rocks, stones, or gravel
- Sticks and weeds
- Plaster of Paris or mud (for "cementing" the bricks together)
What You Do:
- To make the mud bricks, have your child put the dirt in the plastic bucket and help him mix in just enough water to form a mud ball.
- Carefully press the mud into muffin tin cups or ice cube tray sections.
- Place the tins or trays in a warm place and let them dry for about ten days, or bake in a 250 degree oven for fifteen minutes.
- When the bricks are cool, have your child drop them onto newspaper spread on the floor. Some of them will break and some will remain solid; use the solid ones for building.
- Now the building fun begins! Help your child attach bricks and other items together in a free-form building using plaster of Paris for the "cement." If you don't have plaster of Paris, you can also use mud to bind the bricks together.
- Have your child carefully spoon plaster onto the other building materials (rocks, sticks, weeds, etc.) and attach them to the building.
- Let the building dry overnight. Depending on the size of the building, it may need longer to dry completely.
Now your child has his very own brick building that's perfect for pretend play! If you have bricks to spare, why not make more buildings? Build a house, a tower, or even a miniature city.