Making mud pies in a mud hole or a mud kitchen is a fun outdoor art idea and nature sensory activity for kids.
Making mud pies is one of my favorite memories from childhood, and in my opinion, mud pie making is a childhood nature sensory activity not to be missed. Is there anything better than the feeling of squishing mud between your hands as you mold it into a mud pie?
Invite children to create art with mud in the backyard, at school, at the park, or out in nature. Creek shores are a great place to make mud pies! Use the mud pie-making art and craft supply ideas, our step-by-step how-to tutorial, and the mud play tips below. You might also enjoy learning how to make a DIY Art Table and mud kitchen and this list of outdoor learning and nature activities for kids.
Related: DIY Backyard Chalkboard for Kids
What are Mud Pies Made Of?
There are two primary types of mud pies that I am aware of. Children make mud pies or cakes with a mixture of dirt (soil) and water called mud. While mud pie dessert recipes are usually made with oreo cookies, chocolate, fudge sauce, heavy whipping cream, etc. This informative post is about how to make mud pies with dirt and water, not the sweet treat many people think of when you say mud pie.
How to Make A Mud Pie Out of Dirt
To be honest, I feel kind of silly giving directions on how to make a mud pie. If you give a child a stick and some water outside, they can usually figure it out. We did, didn’t we?
My brothers and I did not have a mud pie kitchen or any special pots and pans for making mudpies. First, we dug a hole in the ground and added water to it to make mud. Then, we used sticks to mix the water with the dirt or soil to make a mud hole and pulled the mud out with our bare hands. I remember having lots of fun forming the earth into shapes using the perfect mixture of mud and water to make a mud pie or cake.
Although my daughter has an outdoor art table and mud kitchen we build when my husband and I ran an in-home daycare. You don’t need a mud kitchen to make beautiful mud pies. I never did, and I’m willing to bet you didn’t either. A mud hole, some sticks, and a pair of bare hands or two always work just fine!
Related: Acorn Marble Necklaces Nature Craft
Mud Pie Nature Art and Craft Supplies
- Twigs and small sticks
- Natural items such as rocks, shells, leaves, grass, feathers, and flowers
- Mixing spoon or stick
- An old towel or rag
- Mud play clothes or a waterproof apron
- Containers, bowls, bottles, and ladles for holding and moving water
- Glass gems or multicolored glass stones (optional)
- Outdoor table or mud kitchen (optional)
- Old bowls, pots, pans, muffin tins (optional)
- Camera (optional)
Related: The Best Art Supplies for Kids and Why Young Artists Should Use Them
Related: How to Make a Fairy Garden
Mud Pie Nature Art and STEAM Activity Step-by-Step Instructions
Making mud pies is a fun process art STEAM activity for kids, and making mud pies comes naturally to most kids. Give them a stick and some water in a place they can dig, and they are good to go.
How do you make mud pies?
Follow the simple step-by-step instructions below to teach kids how to make mud pies:
- Go on a nature hunt to collect fresh flowers, rocks, sticks, shells, and other natural items to decorate your mud pies with.
- Gather mud pie supplies from the list above, and place them and any natural treasures from the great outdoors on a mud pie kitchen counter or another work surface. (The ground also works great!)
- Dig a small hole and add water to make a mud hole, or add some soil, dirt, and water into a mud kitchen bowl. Mix well with a stick or an old spoon.
- Continue to add more soil or water to adjust the mixture until the mud is the consistency you like. (We like our sculpting mud for mud pie making to be somewhere in between the texture of play dough and clay.)
- Add some play sand to the mud mixture if you’d like to play with another texture (optional).
- Use an old spoon to put mud into old pots and pans, or work with it directly on the ground or a tabletop or other work surface.
- Invite children to become chemists mixing the perfect amount of dirt and water to mold mud pies and create sculptures with their bare hands.
- Decorate mud pies or create shapes and sculptures. Mudpies can be decorated by placing natural materials like rocks and flowers and other fun items such as glass gems, action figures, and cars! (As an example, look at the mud pie mandala and the happy face my daughter and I made in the photographs.)
- Take pictures of your mud sculptures, pies, and other creations, and share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #rhythmsofplay (optional).
- Clean up. Making mud pies is messy but fun!
Related: Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101
Mud Pie Making Play Tips for Kids
- Recycle pie pans from your local bakery to use for making mudpies.
- Look for bowls, pots, and pans at thrift stores and garage sales.
- Small sticks are great for drawing with mud pies to make simple pictures, and also can be used to practice writing, in the same way, as a writing tray can. Decorate your pictures with any of the mud craft supplies on the list above for even more fun.
- Keep a bowl or container of water nearby to dip muddy hands into when you need to get the mud off, and an old towel nearby to wipe them. Your hands won’t be super clean when you wash them with this option, but they won’t be caked in the mud either.
- My daughter likes to decorate mud pies over and over again, so we keep another container of water standing by to drop muddy items into so they can be rinsed and reused to decorate mud pies repeatedly. This option also makes it easy to clean up later, because it’s really hard to clean things that are caked in dried mud.
- Re-use dried-out mud by adding water to it. You won’t need more than a few pans of mud around to make mud pies as long as you have a good system to reuse it.
- Playing with mud provides a valuable sensory experience for a developing child. Allow your children to mix, grab and play with the mud as much as they like to develop their sensory system.
- It’s also fun to invite children to engage in imaginative or pretend play while making and playing with mud pies. There are several dramatic play options perfect for mud play, and I’m sure your kids can come up with more ideas than I can. My daughter plays for hours, just like I did as a little girl.
Mud Pie Nature Art and Nature Sensory Activity for Kids
Making mudpies is an outside nature art activity that provides a valuable sensory experience for the developing child. It’s process art, a sensory activity, and imaginative play all in one super fun activity. Make some mud pies today.
You might also enjoy this list of fun ways to play in the rain!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
More Outdoor Play Ideas and Activities for Kids
- Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities for Kids
- DIY Outdoor Art Table & Mud Kitchen
- Start Your Own Fairy Garden
- Best Sandbox Ideas for Kids
- How to Plant Spring Flowers
- DIY Outdoor Chalkboard
- Sand and Water Tables for Kids
Leave a Comment