Many young children are fascinated by mud, and playing with it is a great way to explore the characteristics of solids and liquids, and how dirt and water change when they are mixed together. Did you know your child can build using mud in much the same way a beaver does to build a dam or birds do to build their nests?
Start by finding a safe spot outdoors where your child can dig in the dirt, and where together, you can collect some natural materials like fallen twigs, dry grass, acorns, feathers, and pebbles. Then provide your child with some water, a small bucket or other container for mixing the mud, and a spoon or sturdy stick for digging and stirring. Encourage her to make some nice thick mud in the bucket. Then invite her to create tiny homes for imaginary creatures using the mud as a base, and adding the other natural materials in and around it.
Can she get small stones and twigs to stick to the mud? How runny or thick does it need to be for different parts of the structure? Invite her to find the perfect mud recipe for building by experimenting with different amounts of dirt and water. Have fun together imagining what types of creatures might use these little homes.