Ah, mud. We love it almost as much as our kids do -- an for good reasons like we’ve shared in activities like Making Mud and Faces for the Trees. When you combine mud play with another super toy -- trucks! -- you’re taking a simple, compelling play context—construction and trucks—and moving it outdoors. It’s a magical recipe: kids play with their trucks, using them to haul and dump stuff, bulldoze, make tracks, and just ride all over the muddy ground. We sat back and observed kids at play (something all Tinkergarten leaders are trained to do), and several unintended consequences fascinated us. Kids seemed preoccupied and then excited to see their toys get dirty. It was as if the trucks went through the same liberation that these children did in their first week of mud play.
We also noticed that even our smallest explorers (18 month-olds) did more pretending when they played with trucks. And then we had a thought: Maybe we could sprinkle an extra dash of pretend to the mix. We laid out some blank paper, and kids started making tracks -- literally! We also modeled using sticks to draw and delineate roadways for the trucks. Soon our older pretenders (4 and up) were using sticks and rocks to create trees, houses, schools -- an entire world began to form.
When it was time for snack, kids did not want to stop, so we rebranded cleanup as a car wash for their trucks, and everyone left their mud for the thrill of suds and nature brushes (Thank you pine trees) -- but we know those trucks are destined get down and dirty again soon.
We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!Email it to me