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Make a Mud Pie

For many families, cooking and baking together is an important part of building joyful family connections and memories. Bring some of that joy into your family’s outdoor play and make a mud pie!  Mud is easy to make and can be molded into nearly any shape, making it our favorite material for pretend food play!

In honor of International Mud Day on June 29th, we invite our community to create and share their mud pie recipes to inspire other families to get outside and “bake” together in their mud kitchens. This activity is featured in our June Activity Calendar. If you do not yet have your free copy of the calendar, get it here.

The Guide

Here’s how to “bake” a mud pie:

Invite Play: Invite kids to join you in making a very special type of pie- a mud pie! If you need a little inspiration to kick off play, watch a video read aloud of The Mud Book: How to make Pies and Cakes by John Cage and Lois Long.

Gather your “baking tools”: Grab a pie pan you don't mind getting dirty, a container of water and head outside to find a stirring stick and a patch of open dirt.

Make mud! Trickle a small amount of water on the ground, and use a stick to do a little mixing. Then hand the container of water to your child, stand back, and watch them get to work. Mud making can be super engaging for kids and you may find that your child needs lots of time just to experiment with mixing, stirring and pouring the dirt and water.

Try out mud recipes: Experiment with adding a bit more wte or a bit more dirt to see how the consistency and texture of your mud changes. Ask kids which mud recipe they think would work best for a mud pie.

Add your batter: Once your child has mixed their mud batter, model scooping up a handful, forming it into a patty and plopping it into your pie tin. Welcome kids to join in and continue adding mud until the pie tin is full.

Add ingredients: What kind of pie would your child like to make? If your family bakes real pies, what are some of your favorite recipes? Would you like to make a pie with fruit? Nuts? What could you find outside to be your mud pie ingredients?  Kids can use a bindle, bag or pail to gather sticks, leaves, seeds, tree fruits, flowers or grasses to add to the top of their mud pie. You can also offer a spice or two from the kitchen to add some color and scent.


Enjoy your mud pie! Once your child has finished decorating their mud pie, take a moment to marvel at their creation together. If kids want to keep the play going, make more mud pies. Pull out an old sheet table cloth and enjoy a pretend feast together. Then pretend to smell, taste and savor your delectable delights.

Share! Take a photo and share your mud pie in our OutdoorsAll4 FB group to inspire others to bake and share their mud pies, too. Or tag us with @tinkergarten and #InternationalMudDay so we can celebrate with you!

Why is this activity great for kids?

When kids transform the shape, texture, or nature of materials (in this case, turning dirt and water into a mud pie), they also engage in a universal behavior pattern called the transforming schema, which supports brain development. Best of all, when you let kids lose themselves in play and give them room to mess around, you offer them the openness and freedom they'll need to develop true creativity down the line. Playing and experimenting with ooey, gooey mud helps children to strengthen their sense of touch -- and we know that the better kids are able to tune and integrate their senses, the more effectively they can learn. 

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