I have wanted to make mud bricks with Dimples for a long time but was unsure how to approach it & with the birth of Miss Cherub, I've been a bit behind with planning projects for Dimples. Ever since we made the Marvellous Outdoor Mud kitchen I have been planning to do this with Dimples as a different experience to teach him about the formation of materials and how the elements effect materials, like mud.
He just adores construction activities and has lately been questioning how things work. How was that built? How does that spin? He has been fascinated with the mechanics of things and the structure. So this was a different outdoor play experience still utilising messy sensory play and the fun of playing with dirt but a great lesson in construction and something he is really interested in at the moment.
First we needed to make our mud brick moulds; I collected the bases of milk bottles for a few weeks as they are square and perfect shape and always the same size.
Next we needed to make our Mud "Cement"; This was an interesting lesson on materials and how certain materials are made. As I said before, Dimples has been asking me how things are made like for instance what is cement, how are houses built, where do drains go? everything really. He always comments on bricks and relates it to the big bad wolf. So using this story we discussed how bricks are made to be strong.
We had a great talk about how mud bricks are made. Too wet and they are sloppy and wont hold together, too dry and they will crumble apart. How can we make them stronger? Dimples came up with the idea to add sand, as I had told him sand was in cement. Great! Then we mixed together our dirt and water. I went on to tell him how mud bricks need to be held together by grass or hay so that they are nice and strong right through the middle once they are dry. We added some dry grass and mulched it up so they would hold, a little more sand, a little more grass until it was nice and gluggy.
Further, we talked about how they formed into bricks and the drying process, how they would become strong enough to keep out the big bad wolf and how they kept their shape as bricks through completely drying out and cooked in the sun.
Then, Dimples as cheeky as always decided it was a good idea to splat mud on my leg. I warned him that if he was going to splat mud at me I would have to get him back. With a big Dimpled Grin he splatted me again! I was still heavily pregnant when we made the Mud bricks and didn't really feel like chasing him around but alas he was after a mud fight so that's what he got. I got a handful and splatted his legs before he could run away, then he came back for more. He thought it was hilarious throwing mud at Mummy and then trying to escape my mud covered hands.
The mud bricks took about 3-4 days to completely "bake" in a dry Sunny covered spot in the yard.
After I had been home for a couple of days with the new arrival, Dimples little sister Miss Cherub, I thought it would be nice to do something special with Dimples and spend some quality time with him as I always did. I didn't want our relationship to change so I put Miss Cherub in her Sling and headed up the yard.
Dimples cracked them all out - Mud Bricks, they worked well. He was straight into building mode
Mud Brick Huts and Houses.
Dimples made a flight of stairs, he stacked them up, he made a real house with a stick roof.
We collected some bits and pieces from around the yard from nature to make the mud brick houses real natural pieces of art. He loved it, once he had made a building, he unbuilt it and asked to make a different one.
Dimples balanced them on their sides and experimented with different shaped bricks at different angles then he build a cool house and had to cover it over with the box, and leave it there so he could show Adventures Dad, he was very pleased with his creations. Not only did he made the bricks but he made the house, the roof and the path and decorated them.