3 ways to celebrate International Mud Day

3 ways to celebrate International Mud Day

If you think back to your childhood years, one of your memories may be of carefree summer days spent playing in the mud. Perhaps you made a mud pie fit for a king, an epic castle or just enjoyed the satisfying squelch of mud between your fingers and toes. International Mud Day on June 29 is a chance to reconnect with those childhood memories and introduce a whole new generation to the joys of messy play.

The spark that inspired International Mud Day was a conversation between Bishnu Bhatta of Nepal and Gillian McAuliffe of Australia at the World Forum for Early Childhood Care and Education in 2009. Each discussed the barriers faced by children in their respective parts of the world to engaging in muddy, messy nature play. For Bishnu, children had plenty of natural access to mud but few had extra clothes or access to soap. For Gillian, the sandy surroundings of Perth left little mud and caregivers felt reluctant to allow children to get messy. After the meeting, Gillian worked with a group of schoolchildren to raise money for Bishnu to purchase extra clothes which she used to invite a group of Nepali orphans to play in the mud. On that day, children in both Nepal and Australia, even though they were separated by distance, spent the day in the mud and muck. The tradition has continued ever since.

Far more than just a way to get messy, playing in the mud offers many benefits from stress relief to unleashing creativity, inspiring teamwork and igniting curiosity. With that in mind, below are some ideas to help release your inner mud maven.

Paint Like Picasso

Recipe courtesy of Learn, Play, Imagine, http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2014/03/mud-paint-recipe.html

Use mud for your next painting masterpiece! You’ll need:

  • A scoop of mud (carefully sift through the mud to return any wildlife to their outdoor homes)
    Tempura paint (powder or liquid) or food color
  • Containers for the paint
  • Dish soap (optional)
  • Water
  • Heavy paper (poster board, sketch paper, card stock)
  • Paintbrushes

Add a large scoop of mud to a container. Mix in about 1-2 tablespoons of paint or food color. Add water to the desired consistency and a pinch of dish soap (if desired). Use paintbrushes or fingers to create your art!

The Classic Mud Pie

Be the chef with the muddiest pie in town! Create pretend cakes, pies, breads, anything you can think of! You’ll need:

  • Soil
  • Water
  • Fallen leaves, flower petals, pebbles and sticks to decorate your creations

Mix the soil and water together until they become the consistency of dough. It is ready for play when you can mold the mud and it holds the shape. Decorate your creations with natural materials.

The Dish on Dirt

Experiment by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. Retrieved from https://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/science-projects/science-projects-for-kids-soil-experiments1.htm

Ever wonder what makes up dirt? Try this experiment to see all the components in your backyard mud. You’ll need:

  • A mason jar with a lid or clear plastic storage container with a lid
  • Spoon
  • Dirt
  • Pitcher of water
  • Paper towels
  • Magnifying glass (if available)

Fill half of the container with dirt and add water until it is just about at the top. Secure the lid and shake the container for 30 seconds. Let the container sit undisturbed as the contents settle into layers. Use your magnifier to observe the layers. Where are the largest and smallest pieces?

To get a closer look at the different layers, use a spoon to skim off objects floating in the water and place them on a paper towel. Then, pour off the water on top and scoop out the grains from the next level. Repeat as often as needed. Observe the particles from the different layers carefully and compare and contrast them.

Repeat the experiment using different samples of soil to see if you get varying results.

For more information on the benefits of mud play and other creative play ideas visit Australia’s https://couopencities.blob.core.windows.net/couwebsitearchive/community%20and%20culture/Events/Mud-Play-Benefits-and-Activities.pdf

Tag Teatown, and we’ll share your International Mud Day images on our social media

Enjoy your mudlicious day of rekindling memories and inspiring the next generation toward messy play! Share pictures of your muddy play with us by tagging us on Instagram/Facebook!


World Forum Foundation. Mud Day: History of Mud Day. Retrieved from https://worldforumfoundation.org/workinggroups/nature/mud-day/

NAEYC. Preschool Play Plans: Mud-Luscious Play. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/tyc/apr2018/preschool-play-plans-mud-luscious-play

About the Author

Mary Haley
Environmental Educator

Mary has her master’s in early childhood education. She is passionate about introducing young children to the joys and wonders of nature through playful outdoor exploration.

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