Beyond Mud Pies - Make Mud Bricks!
Beyond Mud Pies
Kids of all
to play in the mud!
The ideas below will
appeal to older children,
as well as younger kids!
Make Mud Bricks
!What You Will Need:
What You Do:
- Dirt (with a clay base helps)
- Dried Straw or Dried Grass
- Hand Shovel
- Milk Cartons (paper or plastic, pint size works best)
- Ice Cube Trays
- Paper Cups (2 ounce or 4 ounce size)
- Large Bucket or Tubtrug
- Old Play Clothes
- An area in your yard where you can dig, or where you can work with mud
- Create the molds you will need to make your mud bricks by cutting empty milk cartons so they are at least 2" tall. Be aware that the deeper the milk carton, the longer it will take for a mud brick to dry. While the molds can be reused, we recommend you have at least six molds ready to use right away. The more molds you have, the more bricks you can make at one time.
- Mix up a batch of mud to use for the bricks: Shovel dirt into a large bucket or tub, so that the tub is about half-full. Add water to the tub, a little at a time, while stirring the mixture together. You will want this mixture to be the consistency of pancake batter. Of course you can use the shovel to stir the mixture, but it's more fun to stir it with your hands!
- Break pieces of dried straw (or dried grass) into 1" to 2" pieces, and add to the mud mixture. Ask your kids why they think the straw is being added (the straw or grass will help to hold the dirt together).
- When the mixture is complete, spoon it into the milk carton molds. Tamp the container so the mud slides all the way down into the mold. Pat the top of the mixture so it is flat.
- Place the molds in the sun to bake and dry. Depending on the weather, this can take several days. This is a great time to talk about evaporation!
- After a day or two, check your molds. If the mud has start to set, you can remove the molds so that they can be reused to make more bricks.
- When the bricks are completely dried, they can be used to make cool forts in your yard or play area. You can either stack the mud bricks to create your structures, or you can stick the bricks together using more mud. Stacking the bricks allows you to build different structures, while mortaring them together with mud will create a more permanent structure.
Miscellaneous Notes and Tips:
- Use old ice cube trays to make mini bricks! The bricks dry quicker and are perfect for small hands. We like to make several dozen mini mud bricks that can be used to build action figure bunkers, or doll houses. Note: The mud bricks sometimes break when "popped" out of an ice cube tray. To prevent breaking, we line the ice cube trays with plastic wrap before adding the mud. When the mud is dry, we just lift out the plastic wrap and peel it off the bricks. Easy as (mud) pie!
- Use small paper drinking cups as molds for unique mud bricks. These small bricks are perfect for castle walls!
- Having a variety of different sizes and shapes for your bricks inspires some pretty creative building! Things like egg cartons, margarine tubs cut to a shorter size, and other containers found around your house make nice mud brick molds.
- Try stirring the mud and water mixture with your bare feet! Step into the bucket, and stomp away! Many kids love the feeling of the mud oozing between their toes. TIP: To prevent injury, make sure they are no sharp rocks in the dirt if you are going to stomp in the mud. You may want to sift the dirt through a sand sifter to remove rocks or other debris.
- Making bricks from mud and straw is a practice that has been used throughout history. This activity is a fun way for kids to learn about creative building construction, using natural resources.
- Because it takes days for the bricks to dry, we like to make a lot of bricks at one time! This way, when the bricks are done, we have plenty to build with at one time.
- The bricks you make with this activity will last a long time - and even longer if they are kept out of the rain!
- Make sure your bricks are completely dry before you begin to play with them. If the bricks are still moist on the inside, they may crumble when played with. If this happens, you can always reuse the brick to make more bricks!
- We have found that a soil with a clay base works best for mud bricks. Pure black dirt, or soil with a high sand content does not make very long lasting bricks.
- Don't have dirt you can dig from your yard? Call a local nursery to see if they have clean fill you can have or buy. Bring several large buckets or tubs to the nursery to use for hauling the dirt home.
- Since mud can often be difficult to completely wash out of clothes, we recommend wearing old play clothes when playing in the mud. You could even "reserve" a pair of shorts and a shirt just for mud play! This way, every time you want to play in the mud, you could wear the same outfit - mud stains and all!
Regular Price: $12.99
Our Price: $12.49
You Save: 4% ($0.50)
Regular Price: $37.95
Our Price: $34.25
You Save: 10% ($3.70)
Regular Price: $22.95
Our Price: $20.65
You Save: 10% ($2.30)