Preschool Dirt Theme




Dirt is made from rocks, plants and animals which have broken down into smaller pieces with time and weather. Sand is made only from rocks which have broken down into tiny pieces. Another name for dirt is soil. Mud is wet dirt. Dirt varies in texture and color. It can have a tint of red, yellow, blue, brown or black. Underground dirt is the home to many animals and insects. Some of these are the worm, ant and mole. People sometimes use dirt for their homes. Mud mixed with grass and straw, and then baked is called adobe. Bricks are made in a similar way. Plants need dirt in which to grow.


Book List

Harry The Dirty Dog - Gene Zion
Milk Rock - John Kaufman
Stone Soup - Ann McGovern
The Mud Pony - adapted by Caron Lee Cohen
The Piggy in the Puddle - Charlotte Pomerantz



Songs & Fingerplays

Mud - poem

Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy-squash between the toes!
I'd rather wade in wiggly mud
Than smell a yellow rose.

Nobody else but the rosebush knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes.
---Polly Chase Boyden

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

I Love To Play - Sung to "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

I love to play in the sand box.
I love to play in the dirt.
I love to play in the wet mud.
I squish it and watch it squirt.

Dirt And Mud - Poem

Dirt and mud,
What a dud!
They make you unclean,
Then your mom turns mean.

You know about dirt,
That gets on your shirt,
And messes up your pants,
So your mother raves and rants.

You know about mud,
That ugly brown crud,
That gets on your shoes,
So your mother yells at you.

There's dirt and mud,
Wherever I roam.
I'm sorry mom,
But it follows me home.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



Arts & Crafts

Terrarium

Plastic container
Gravel
Small plants
Rocks
Branches
Moss
Plastic wrap Screen or stocking

A terrarium is a world in miniature. Make it and keep it outdoors. Use a large clear plastic container or jug. First, have your child add a layer of pebbles--this will promote drainage. Cover the pebbles with a layer of topsoil about two inches thick. Place a few rocks in the terrarium--these will add natural beauty and will hold heat during cold nights. Next, add branches and moss, as well as small plants. Select plants growing in conditions that will be similar to those in the terrarium. For instance, if the terrarium is going to be in the shade, select shade plants; if it's going to be partly in the sun, have your child plant semi sun-lovers. Water the terrarium so that it's moist inside (not too much!), then cover the opening with a sheet of plastic. The terrarium will also make a nice temporary home for worms and other critters--make a screen to allow air flow (or use a stocking) and make sure it's not in the full sun. The children will enjoy checking the terrarium and maintaining this world in miniature.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Fossils

Needed:
Soil Water Flour (for low-clay-content soil)
Baking tin or pan
Toy animals
Sticks, twigs, small rocks
Optional: Popsicle sticks

Make fossils right in your backyard! If your soil has a low clay content, mix in one part flour for every four parts of soil. Add enough water to make a bread-dough-like texture, then smooth the mixture into a tin or pan. Now you're ready to make fossil imprints with toy dinosaurs or animals. Also make impressions with sticks, stones, shells, leaves, and interesting yard objects. Cut the "fossils" into irregular shapes and let them air dry. Create bone impressions of ancient creatures by pressing twigs into the mud mixture to make a skeleton, then removing them before the mud dries (or how about a popsiclestickosaurus?). Finally, try making "prehistoric" footprints. Have your child step or press his or her hand lightly into the mud pan. Then, use a twig or stones to embellish the hand or footprint--add claws, talons, or an extra digit or two. Wow! When the fossil dries, you'll have evidence of the most strangest, most peculiar, creature that ever walked the planet!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Puddle Prints

You will need: muddy puddle, piece of white cardboard, felt-tip pen, scissors, clear plastic wrap

What to do: Make a good sloppy muddy mixture in a puddle or old basin. Place the sheet of white cardboard on a firm, flat surface. Put your hand into the muddy mixture - making sure that your palm and fingers are well covered with mud - then press onto the cardboard. Try to get a good clear print. Let this dry in the sun and then carefully mark around the outline with a felt-tip pen. Cut out the handprint and cover with clear plastic wrap. You can make prints of your feet this way too.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Mud Painting

Gather some squishy mud in a bucket. Mix water with it till you feel it is the right consistency. Spoon some mud onto cardboard and using an old paintbrush begin. The children can use their fingers, an old comb or anything else to make interesting patterns. When finished let it dry to take home.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Homemade Mud

Mix 5 pounds of topsoil with 1/4 cup liquid starch, 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent and enough water to make it quite moist. Put mixture into plastic dish pans. Let children play freely with the homemade mud. Use spoons and containers with the mud and play as desired.



Theme Ideas

Mud Prints

Mix up mud in a bucket and spread it along the ground for about 2 yards. It will need to be about 3/4 inch thick. Now put on two old shoes that are each different and walk along your mud road. Next change to two different shoes again. Take giant steps and baby steps. Smooth the mud to start again.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Mud Monster

This needs to use fairly firm mud. If it needs to be made stiffer then add some more dirt. Use your hands to shape the body and add stones, sticks, leaves or anything else from the garden to finish your monster. Leave your monster to dry in the sun.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Homemade "Dirt" - sensory table

After making coffee, save the grounds and dry them. Once dry, add salt and corn meal to make the sand. The texture is cource & the color is like dirt, and it smells good too! The kids love it. Put this in the sensory table. If you don't have a sensory table, use a dish pan or other container--even a small kiddie pool.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Dig It

Have the children collect dirt samples from several different areas on your yard. Spread out the samples on newspaper and compare. Use a magnifying glass to look for small particles in the dirt. Use tweezers to separte rocks, sticks, leaves and other objects from the dirt. Discuss the findings. When done add a little water to the dirt samples to make mud. Use the mud for painting with a brush or finger painting onto a paper: "mud art"

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Mud Pies

Place potting soil in a plastic tub or sensory table. Have the children play in the dirt with plastic shovels, plastic flower pots, artificial flowers, plastic worms, etc. When done add water to the soil and make mud pies. Let the mud pies bake in the sun.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



In the Kitchen

Delicious Mud - serves 1

3 tbsp. instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup milk
2 chocolate sandwich cookies

Place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag. Use your hands to break the cookies into tiny bits. Pour the milk and the pudding mix into a small jar or a margarine tub with a tight-fitting lid. Shake for three minutes. Pour the pudding (mud) into a clear plastic cup. Sprinkle the cookie bits (dirt) on top of the mud. Dig in!

Edible Gardeners Dirt

Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
Chocolate pudding Milk for making the pudding
Cool Whip

The amounts needed depend on how much you want to make. Make the pudding as directed. Fold in Cool Whip to make a Mousse consistency. In a bowl, put a layer of crushed oreos on the bottom. Add the pudding mix as the next layer. Put a layer of the crushed oreos on top to make it look like dirt. Also add gummy worms and serve with a new gardeners shovel. Another idea is to serve this is a new children's play wheelbarrow.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Edible Sand

Use the recipe above but instead of chocolate pudding and chocolate sandwich cookies use vanilla pudding and vanilla or peanut butter sandwich cookies.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



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