Mud Theme

Yes, a MUD THEME!  Okay, okay, first things first!  Yes, this theme includes dirt, water....well, mud!  Yes, it WILL be messy...there is just no way around that!  If you feel the need to always run around after the children cleaning up as they go, this theme will challenge you!  

This page is filled with information, activities, ideas and preschool lesson plans for your preschool classroom!


Rather than avoiding messy themes, embrace them!  Just because they are messy does not mean your classroom will be full of chaos!  Okay, maybe a little chaos, but controlled chaos!  Begin the theme by introducing the kids to what it is that makes mud.  Brainstorm with them about ways to keep the classroom from becoming to messy!

Introduce them to your dust-buster, broom and dustpan and washcloths. Let them know that cleaning is their job as well!  Perhaps you can assign classroom helper for the different types of messes that WILL occur this week.

The important thing is to not let the messiness of this theme control you.  If you find you are spending more time saying "Make sure no dirt gets on the floor." you may need to work on adding "tunnel vision" and just sit with the kids and enjoy the play!

Before beginning this theme, send a letter home letting the parents know the theme is coming!  Tell them to dress their kids for play!  Hang a sign outside your classroom that says "If your children come home clean, we didn't do our jobs!" or "Dress for a Mess--this is MUD WEEK!"

Now, let's breathe.......and have loads of fun!!!!


Other suggested themes to combine with this Mud Theme:


Let the Mud Theme Planning Begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.


Mud Theme Art

Mud Sculptures

Materials Needed: Dirt, water, rocks, googly eyes, sticks, twigs

Mix water and dirt to make mud.  

The children sculpt mud into people, shapes, etc.  Let dry.


Colorful Mud Theme Painting

Materials Needed:  dirt, sifters, trays, paint cups, water, food coloring, paint brushes, tagboard or posterboard to paint on.

Have the children sift the dirt over trays to remove rocks.

Put sifted dirt into paint cups.  Add water.  Mix to a batter consistency. 

Add food coloring and mix.

Paint and enjoy.

SUGGESTION:  Sifting the dirt might be a great circle time activity this day.  They can all help prepare the dirt for painting and then be part of adding water and color!


CHALKY MUD PAINT

Materials needed:  sidewalk chalk, cheese graters, dirt, water

Grate the chalk on a cheese grater.  The children help with this.  Please be sure this is supervised.  This might be a good activity to do at the manipulatives table the day before the activity.  It will take a lot of chalk dust!

Mix dirt and water to make mud.

Add grated chalk to each cup of mud.

Use with paint brushes or as finger paint.

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Mud Theme Block Center Ideas

Add PVC pipes and joints, dump trucks and small blocks or sorters that will fit in the piping.

The children work on ways to get the sorters or small blocks from one side of the block area to another using these items with the blocks you have at your centers.

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Mud Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your mud  theme!


Clean Up Tools!

A mud theme a messy one so let's be sure the kids know:

1.  HOW to clean up this week and

2.  That they ARE the cleaners this week!

Materials Needed:  dry dirt, mud, Dustbuster, broom, dustpan, dry and wet cloths, small basin of water, trash can

(** Please note:  Most regulations do not allow a vacuum to be in use when the children are present due to allergies, so do not show them or expect them to use the vacuum.  

Tell the children that they will be using dirt, water, mud and other messy items this week!  Talk about playing in the water and the dirt and the mud.  Invite their thoughts about playing in it!  They have lots of stories!  Enjoy them!

Tell them that it is SO much fun to play with but will take ALL of them to make sure their classroom stays cleaned up at the end of each day!

Ask for their ideas on how to clean up dirt; how to clean up mud; how to clean up water.

Introduce the dirt, mud and water.

Introduce the clean up tools to them.

Let the children take turns cleaning up some spilled mud, water, dirt.

You may want to introduce helpers this week for specific clean up helpers.  See the Miscellaneous section at the end of this page for information on that!


I Love Mud!  Sung to the tune of Three Blind Mice

(I believe this song is from a CD from Rick Charette)

Mud, mud, I love mud.

I'm absolutely positively, wild about mud!

I can't go around it, I've gotta go through it.

Beautiful, fabulous, super-duper mud!

Big Teddy White, his clothes were mightly clean

Went swimming in a pool of mud, he made quite a scene.

He started with the backstroke, followed by the crawl.

You should have seen him swimming when he heard his father call!

Julianna Root, in shiny yellow boots,

Saw a pool of mud that she wanted to go through.

She only took two steps, then she disappeared,

Nobody has seen her for twenty-five years!


Pigs, People and Mud...A Puppet Show

Discuss mud and pigs, uses of mud for people, etc.

Materials needed:  Puppets....a pig and a person, a piece of brown fabric, felt or paper to represent the mud on the floor...or, if you are brave!- some mud in a large bin (c'mon, puppets are washable!!)

Person:  Hi there Pig!

Pig:  Hi there Person!  What are you doing today?

Person:  Well, it is SOOO hot out, I am going swimming in the pool (lake, pond, etc.) with my family to cool off.

Pig:  You cool off in the pool?  Hmm, that's interesting!

Person:  Why?  Have you ever been to the pool?

Pig:  Well, I'm a pig....pigs aren't allowed in the pool!  But I cool off without going far!

Person:  Where.....in the pond?

Pig:  No.

Person:  In the lake?

Pig:  No.

Person:  Where then?

Pig:  Right THERE (point at mud).

Person:  (searching and looking all around)..Where?  I don't see any water!

Pig:  It's right there, mixed with that wonderful dirt!

Person:  The mud?  THE MUD??  You COOL of in the MUD???

Pig:  Yes, it is pretty cool...really!

Person:  But it's so dirty and yucky!

Pig:  But it's so cool!  You've never been in the mud?

Person:  No...well, I've jumped in mud puddles a couple of times.  

Pig:  That's it?  That's all you do with mud?

Person:  Well, I was told it's good for other things, too.

Pig:  Like what....rolling in, right?

Person:  No, not rolling in, but for making pottery, for construction--making stones and bricks and it makes awesome volcanoes!  

Pig:  But not rolling in?

Person:  No, not for people, but lots of bugs live in mud.

Pig:  Well, I didn't know about all that!  Now, let me show you another way mud is helpful!  Come roll in it with me!

Person:  I don't know.....

Pig: C'mon, I'll show you!  (Rolls in the mud making happy squeals.)  Wow!  That was fun and now I'm cool!

Person:  Well, maybe just my feet.  (Person puts foot in mud.  Makes an "ewww" sound and then says..)"Wow, that IS nice and cool!

Take this as far as you want!  Person stomping, jumping or rolling in mud.

Person:  Well, I have to go now!  Stay cool!

Pig:  I will!!!!

Talk to the children about the uses for mud.  Do they remember some of the things the person said it is good for?


How is Mud Made?

Materials Needed:  Chart paper, marker

Ask:  Have you ever played in the dirt?  Where?  (Listen to answers--in the back yard, the park, etc.)

Ask:  Have you ever played with water?  (Listen to answers--in the bathtub, in the rain, in the pool, etc.)

Ask:  Have you ever played in the mud?  (Listen to answers)

Ask:  I wonder--Where does mud come from?  (List answers on chart).

Ask:  How would we make our own mud?  (List answers on chart).

Say:  This week we are going to use dirt and water and other things to make all kinds of mud!


5 Little Pigs

In advance, make 5 pig pictures for a felt board or bring 5 stuffed animal pigs to circle (or have 5 children act this out and do it a few times so each child has a turn to be a pig!).

Five little pigs rolled in the mud

Squish, squash, squish, it sure felt good. 

The farmer took a pig out, and cleaned him up nice

Four little pigs rolled in the mud

Squish, squash, squish, it sure felt good. 

The farmer took a pig out, and cleaned him up nice

Three little pigs rolled in the mud

Squish, squash, squish, it sure felt good. 

The farmer took a pig out, and cleaned him up nice

Two little pigs rolled in the mud

Squish, squash, squish, it sure felt good. 

The farmer took a pig out, and cleaned him up nice

One little pig rolled in the mud

Squish, squash, squish, it sure felt good. 

The farmer took a pig out, and cleaned him up nice

No little pigs rolled in the mud, 

They all looked nice and clean

The farmer turned his back and what do you know!

All those little pigs jumped back in the mud!

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Mud Theme Cooking Ideas!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation!

Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific mud themed questions while making these fun snacks!


Edible Mud Pies

Materials needed:  Instant chocolate pudding mix, milk, whisk, bowl, oreo or other chocolate cookies, rolling pins, plastic ziplock baggies, cups, spoons

Have the children help you to open and pour the chocolate pudding mix in a large bowl.

Have the children help you measure and pour in the milk.

Have the children help you whisk the two ingredients until smooth.  Refrigerate bowl of pudding.

Place cookies in large ziplock baggie.

Have the children take turns tapping the cookies with the rolling pin and rolling them to crush them!

Take pudding out of refrigerator.  Have the children help scoop several scoops into a cup.

Have the children help to sprinkle 1 or 2 teaspoons of crushed cookie over the top of their pudding!

Optional...add a gummy worm*!

(*Do not use gummy/fruit snacks if you have vegetarians in your classroom.  These snacks are made from gelatin which have animal by-products in them).

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Mud Theme Dramatic Play Center

Cleaning Dirt

Provide a large table or wading pool filled with dirt and sand sifters.

The children sift the dirt and take the rocks out of it.

Provide aprons/smocks and bowls to put the rocks in.

Gardening

Provide items for the children to scoop dirt into cups and plant seeds!

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Mud Theme Ideas for your Easel

More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)


Mud Painting

In advance, make a large bowl of mud.  Place mud in paint cups.  Provide large paint brushes for the children to paint with.

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Mud Theme Large Group Games

that help build their muscles while they have fun together!


Puddle Jumping---Of Course!!!

Create your own puddle in your yard by adding water to a dirt area.  

If you do not have a dirt area, provide a wading pool with dirt and add water for the children to jump in!


Just Add Water for a Mud Theme!

Do you have a sand box?  Add water to your sand this week!  It is great mud!  Add dump trucks as well!

Be sure to have a bin of warm soapy water and towels available.  The grittiness of the sand can be irritating to the children's skin.  They can rinse their hands and dry them before moving on to play elsewhere in your playground.


Mud Bricks

Materials needed:  Buckets of dirt, bucket or bin with water, grass, strong spoons to scoop and mix with, ice cube trays, "igloo" makers (plastic molds), sand pails

The children mix water and dirt into a bowl or bucket.  They add grass to make it thick.

They scoop some into their molds, ice cube trays etc.

Remove from molds and let sit in the sun to dry and make bricks.  Then try to build with them!  The children will love exploring these by: building with them, crumbling them, poking them, etc.


Mud Art

Materials needed:  Large poster board, pincher type clothes pins, dirt and water.

Attach poster board to a fence with the clothes pins.

The children use their hands to mix water and dirt to make mud.

They form the mud into mud balls (like snow balls).

They throw them at the poster board!


Stuck in the Mud

This form of freeze tag is for your older preschoolers.  

They play tag and who ever is tagged must freeze with their legs open and arms out...they are STUCK IN THE MUD!

To be "un-stuck"  a child climbs under the legs to release them!


Mud Themed Kitchen

When I was younger, this was our favorite thing to do outside!  We had old bowls, spoons, cups, plates, etc. and lots of dirt and water!  We used boxes for tables and for the "stove and oven", but you could use a sand table and bring out a table and some chairs!

Set up a mud kitchen bin to take outside that has all the items the kids will need to play house and serve mud recipes!

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Mud Theme Library Ideas

Book Suggestions for the Library

These books may be available at your local library or you can also purchase them at Amazon by clicking on the blue title links below.

The Best Mud Pie (Rookie Ready to Learn) by Lin Quinn

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

Ducks in Muck (Step into Reading, Step 1) by Lori Haskins

Mud by Mary Lyn Ray

Mud Family by Betsy James

Mud Pie Annie (I Can Read!) by Sue Buchanan

Mud Puddle (Munsch for Kids) by Robert Munsch

Mud, Sand, and Water by Dorothy M. Hill

Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke

The Puddle by David McPhail

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Mud Theme Math & Manipulatives Ideas

to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!


My Own Recipe

Materials needed:  several teaspoons and tablespoons, water, dirt, bowls

The children add water to a small amount of dirt.  What happens when you add 1 teaspoon of water and mix?  2 tablespoons?  Etc.


Stick in the Mud

Materials needed:  Muffin tins, sticks/twigs from outside and premade mud (or have the children make mud!).

Place mud in each of the muffin tin compartments.  Place numbers next to each compartment.

Encourage the children to count out the corresponding number of sticks/twigs into each muffin tin.


Magical, Mucky Mud!

Materials needed:  Bowls, spoons, baking soda, water, black food coloring (found in the cake aisle of the supermarket, or you can add colors together to make black).

The children mix the ingredients to make a mud consistency.  The feel/texture is fantastic!!!


Bugs in the Dirt

Materials needed: Numbered cups with dirt in them, plastic bugs, tweezers

The children place the corresponding number of bugs in each cup.

Of course, this is a mud theme......so add water and pipettes also!

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Mud Theme Music & Movement Ideas

To get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!


Children and Pigs in the Mud Theme Movement!

Play music that is somewhat upbeat.  Talk about mud and how it feels. Have children jump in the "mud", "make mud pies" in the mud.

Now have children "invite" some piggies to join them.  Oh, the pigs are playful, they are running in the mud, let's catch them!

Oh, now the piggies are hot from all that running!  They like to cool down by rolling in the mud.  Let's help them!

Continue acting out other things that happen in the mud...perhaps they are walking and it begins raining and the dirt is turning to mud!  It is getting harder....and harder...to walk in, it is so mucky and sticky!!

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Mud Theme Sand & Water Table Ideas

Sifting

Add dirt and rocks and pebbles as well as sand sifters to your sensory table.

Let the children sift for rocks.  You could add "jewels" for them to find as well.


Mudpies

Let the children add water to the dirt and make mud!  Add spoons, cups, molds, ice cube trays etc.


Clean Mud

Add 3 bars of Ivory soap to the table and safe plastic knives or spoons.

The children shred the soap into the table.

Have the children shred 1-2 rolls of toilet tissue to the soap and mix it with their hands.

Add warm water to the soap and toilet tissue and have the children squish it together.

Keep adding water until it is a muddy consistency!

If you add glitter to this, it is AWESOME!


Mud Mountains and Volcanoes

Does this even need more information?!! Volcanoes are fun anytime but go great with a mud theme!

Make mountains and volcanoes out of mud.  Add pipettes and water to drizzle it down the sides.

Or, add baking soda and teaspoons along with vinegar and pipettes for volcanoes!

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Mud Theme Science Activities

for your Preschool Scientists in Training!


Mud Fossils

Materials needed:  mud, items from nature such as leaves, sticks and flowers; small classroom toys

Have the children gently press items into mud that you have in a shallow tray.  Leave the items in the mud and the tray outside for 24 hours to dry.

Once dry, gently remove the item.....fossils!!


Water Displacement with Dirt--Eureka!

Provide small, clear plastic cups.  Draw bold lines about 1/4 of the way down from the top of the cups.

Provide water in small measuring cups and dirt with spoons.

Have the children pour water to the bold line.

They add dirt, one spoonful at a time.

What happens to the dirt?  Does it sink, float, turn to mud?

What happens to the water line?  Does it rise?  Why?

Keep adding dirt.  Predict...how many spoons will it take to make the cup "full"?

VARIATION:  Provide 1 liter plastic bottles and funnels.  Have the children fill about 1/2 with water and add several spoons of dirt.  

Cover.  Shake.  Watch as the water and dirt separate over time.


Temperature Changes

Provide cups, ice cube trays, bowl, spoons, dirt and water.

Have the children make many concoctions of mud!

They fill the assorted containers with the mud.

What will a change in the temperature do to the mud?  

Ask for suggestions from the children regarding where to put the containers to see these changes:

The refrigerator;the freezer; outside; inside; in the light; in the shade, etc.


Worm Farm!

But of course!  This would be GREAT!  All you need is a large clear container, soil, worms, a spray bottle and dark paper to cover the outsides. (They do their best work in the dark, so you may be able to see their tunnels after removing the paper from the sides.

For other suggestions on making Worm Farms, go to the Science Section of the Worms Theme by CLICKING HERE:

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Mud Theme Writing Center

Stick Writing

Provide shallow trays of mud along with craft stick, pencils or twigs.

The children practice making letters, their names, etc.

Provide stencils to use here as well!

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