This week we are inspired by our collaboration with the Botanic Gardens and the amazing mud play area they’ve build us. You don’t need a giant area like this though, just some mud in a tray or storage drawer or an empty area of the garden to dig in will be enjoyed by children. Try to dress them so the play won’t be spoiled by either of you worrying about mess. It is fun to have some art materials like paper but also some toys for imaginative play and water to add to make it sensory. Give them lots of tools for mixing and bowls for holding it in. Try to follow the lead from wee ones and what they are interested in exploring as much as possible. Here are some ideas:
Have some bowls and scoops (just old kitchen ones are fine) for mixing and dishing out. A toy tea set would be amazing or some old pots.
Having some water for pouring will let them make foods and potions, mix paint or create a volcano like ours.
Add in some toys for imaginative play, like toy animals or dinosaurs or diggers and trucks. Children will enjoy creating small worlds in their mud area
You could try some muddy art work. The artist Richard Long used mud collected on walks to create art works. In these he has made a huge mud painting on a gallery wall and a small work on paper with a pattern of mud finger prints.
If you show your wee ones that mixing water with the mud will make a paint you can let them experiment. It helps to have the biggest paper you can find. Even an old white sheet would do and give them lots of scope for some big splatters. Like us they could try making marks by splatting from a height, using a brush or just their hands.
Or even their feet!
The important thing is to have fun getting a bit messy in this sensory and creative play and to enjoy watching how wee ones can experiment and test out a material. You may come up with lots of other ideas that we haven’t included.