Alternatives to Dirt Digging Construction

We have been doing lots of mud play since we have made the New Mud kitchen.
Dimples has 2 new Dirt trucks, an excavator and a dump truck that he got for Christmas and he has been keen to take them out side into the dirt.
However, as they are brand new and will be coming back inside on the carpet. I am afraid they will get wrecked, stained or unable to get completely clean again, I am sure they will end up out in the dirt soon enough but for now we did this alternative to digging in the mud that was just as fun without the mess.

For what ever the reason, whether its new toys, new clothes or just the mess factor, I understand not everyone is comfortable letting their child run amok in the mud. Sometimes its not appropriate or realistic!
This was a fun tactile alternative that was very clean, hands on and still provided some independent free play in the outdoors.
Hands-on Outdoor Construction Play without the grubby clean up. win win!

I placed some Large flattened cardboard boxes down outside and filled a plastic tray with unpopped pop corn kernels and an old bag of lentils (that would never get used) and Dimples got to use his 2 new toys for digging without the mess and the dirt.
You could use any dry ingredient: Rice, Pasta, Lentils, corn, split peas or out of date cooking ingredients after you sort through your pantry.
Dimples enjoyed digging, scooping and loading the dump truck, dumping it out and driving over the yellow work site.
The corn and lentils made a sprinkling scattering sound as they were dumped on to the cardboard. It was also alot more productive then dirt, Dimples could easily scoop large tubs full and see them pile up as he dumped them out.

It was a great tactile experience outside, he enjoyed fiddling with the corn peices and getting right in there with both hands (this would also work well with the sensory challenged who wont get their hands dirty to begin with) and the best part was after his toys got shaken off, they were still good as new: No mess, no scratches, no broken pieces and no clean up. It was relatively Quick and Easy!
I just picked up the cardboard, poured all the corn & lentils back into a container and saved it to reuse next time.

Happy Adventures


  1. Fun activity! I think my kids will enjoy this alternative to sand :)

  2. Yes! We've used beans, and also rice. Beans are apparently toxic if uncooked, so only for older kids. We put down a shower curtain and then just scoop up all the "dirt" at the end of play and funnel it into a big tupperware container. Great post!

  3. Love the idea of lentils, we've used rice, cloud dough, aquarium gravel, and flat marbles. My son is also a bit digger obsessed



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...