- 2 mins
At-Home Sensory Play Activities
Mark your calendar for International Mud Day, which falls on June 29 each year. According to the World Forum, International Mud Day invites children to get dirty in child-driven play, while building a better immune system. This holiday of sorts invites exploration of various kinds for kids of all ages. Mud offers fantastic benefits to sensory explorers who long to touch, sniff, and sift through it with delight and gentle curiosity.
Even for the sensory cautious, exploring mud, whether with a shovel or fingers—or simply watching a caregiver touch the dirt safely—is all part of the experience. These sensory and play-centered approaches build on the child’s understanding of natural materials and emphasize process over the product (although who doesn’t love a good mud pie?). Therefore, children are able to choose their level of involvement and whether they want to act as an observer, a collaborator, or a facilitator.
Sensory play also provides an opportunity for language development, so tune into any questions your child may ask and how they verbalize any sensations, textures, and feelings they experience through play.
Be sure to choose a workspace you do not mind getting a bit (or very!) messy.
Using a small tub about the size of a shoebox, add one or two cups of dirt or potting soil. Your child can create a “city” with small action figures, toy vehicles, and other objects that are okay getting dirty. Have fun making up stories with your child about their creation. You can also try adding a little water to change the texture of the soil.
To about a cup of dirt, add half a cup of water, and mix with a wooden craft stick or spoon. Provide your child with a clean sheet of paper and a sturdy paintbrush. They can try using the paintbrush to spread the mud-like paint across the page. Play with the ratio of dirt to water to change the color of the mud. For thicker mud paint, try adding a tablespoon of cornstarch.
Using crushed Oreo cookies and chocolate pudding mix, create some edible mud with your child. Make the pudding according to the package directions in a large mixing bowl. Invite your child to use their hands to crush up the cookies into crumbs or large chunks, or crush them within a sealed plastic bag. Add the cookie crumbs to the prepared pudding. If your child likes gummy worms, they can add some to the mud snack for a realistic-looking ecosystem of yum!
Another fun way to get muddy this International Mud Day is to garden together! Check out our blog Gardening with Kids — Ten Ways to Get Them Involved to learn more.