Monday, June 29, 2015

International Mud Day!

What an inviting set up! My friend, Beth Cauffman, and I have been planning International Mud Day at Woodlawn Nature Center for several months. It's a fun way to get outside and connect with nature.

The news crew even joined us! WNDU, The Elkhart Truth, and WSBT were all there to cover the event. I hope I look okay in the news reports. :-) I added a little mud on my face later for more effect!

We set up several stations in the newly certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom, Nature's Connection, and used other nearby space as well.

We had a construction/frog and turtle tub with lots of mud!

In the Nature Art Center, we explored worms, painted using mud with plastic worms on paper and our clear easel, and used muddy colored paints on the easel. It was great seeing some of our Woodlawn Nature Preschool friends there! 

Some of the kids used the worms to paint on the easel--loved it! 


Tug of war was definitely a hit! I am sure we will use this rope time and time again with our boys! I just poured extra dirt in the middle of the rope and adding water. The grass already didn't look great in this part of our Open Play area, so it worked out fine.


The obstacle course was also fun! We had it open to change, so families kept changing things up a bit. We added mud at several parts along the way to keep it muddy!

We made a foil "river"that allowed children to investigate how water flows, an opportunity to dam the stream, and other open-ended options. 

I loved seeing the children take it to their own level, using the ramps, logs, and jugs as part of their experience, even though they were in different areas. 


Dinosaurs were loved by many!

I was surprised the messy materials area wasn't as popular, though the kids were using it more toward the end. We had ramps, balls, logs, tree cookies, buckets, and shovels out.

The Mud Kitchen was a favorite spot! I loved seeing the boys in the kitchen just as much as the girls! Way to go Master Chef Junior! My boys love watching this and cook at home, too. The windows and some shelves came from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.


We had several large tubs near the hose to get fresh water, including a "cleaning" station with soapy water, sponges, and towels nearby. 

We had clay out for children to make nature "faces" on the tree. I love the loose parts Lina included! We also had a couple of domed mirrors (also from ReStore) to check out their own muddy faces and add some if needed.

The dirt digging and brick laying areas were also fun! 

In addition, we had a muddy animal scavenger hunt with information about animals that use mud throughout the woods! It was a fun time! 

Here is our list of formal activities, though the kids made plenty of their own. Lots of smiles and active play!  Lots of inspiration was found online and recorded on my Pinterest Mud Day page. This is our map of activities, with brief descriptions below. Hope you get inspiration or join us next year! 

Mini Mud Run Obstacle Course

Follow the course for muddy fun!

Muddy Faces

Check out how muddy you are! Add some more if you need it!

Mud Tree Art

Grab a small clump of clay and natural materials. Then make a face on a nearby tree!

Clean Up Station

Use sponges and fresh(er!) water to clean off before going home.

Tug of War

Challenge buddies to a muddy tug of war game!

Dinosaur Den

Dinosaurs once romped in mud, as our toy ones do today.

Muddy Animals Scavenger Hunt

Grab a clipboard, pencil, and scavenger hunt and look for these animals in the woods!

Muddy Art

Study worms. Paint with a “worm” and mud. Use earth colored paint on the easel.

Brick Layers

Use bricks, scrapers, and mud to build.

Flora and Fauna Café

Make a mud pie and sit down to a mud dinner.

Messy Materials

Explore ramps, balls, and mud!

Dig it!

Dig to your heart’s content!

A River Runs Through

Sticks, rocks, and mud might impede the river flow.

Turtles and Frogs, Oh My

Turtles and frogs use mud as part of their habitat.