Earth Play for Earth Day
It’s Earth Day today, and I decided to share an activity we did last week where we investigated soil properties in our garden and built mini adobe bricks. Of course, this project can be done on any day of the year and can be incorporated as part of ancient civilizations unit. In fact, our own adobe bricks were inspired by our ongoing Mexico geography and history unit and by our recent trip to Mexico where adobe bricks are still widely used in construction.
Adobe bricks are made out of sand, clay, water, and some kind of organic material (straws, sticks, and/or manure). Our goal was to investigate which mud bricks will be stronger – made out of enriched soil, the ones from a dirt pile or the ones where plant material is added to dirt. Smarty also insisted on making mini-bricks out of air dry clay for comparison purposes.
Set Up and Materials:
All you need for this activity is water, mud and something to shape your bricks in. We are participating in the project Recycle and Create, and the theme for April is egg cartons. Egg cartons are perfect for making mini-bricks – they don’t come out perfectly square, but their shape offers opportunities for trying things out, and they dry out relatively quickly (we left ours outside for 2 days). I also threw in some perler beads to decorate our mini bricks, but Smarty didn’t want to use them on the bottoms of the egg carton, since she wanted to make patterns and pictures, not a random sprinkle of beads.
Smarty predicted that air dry bricks will be strongest, followed by enriched soil bricks, and that pure dirt bricks will be “the crumbliest”. She was a little disappointed that she was not allowed to add “manure” to her bricks.
Mud brick building occupied my 7 year old for good 2 hours. It was a deliciously dirty activity with a lot of mixing and picking the best place to dig. In the end, Smarty spent significant time arranging beads on her mud bricks – I hope you can see an American flag on one of her bricks
Our bricks were quite ready by Saturday – perfect for trying to balance them, build small structures, and test an initial hypothesis. Unfortunately, Smarty took the bricks out and mixed them all together before we could discuss the differences, but she told me that her hypothesis was correct, and that “earth bricks” were the driest and the crumbliest. As expected, air dry clay bricks faired well, but enriched soil bricks turned out quite well too and already endured several play sessions.
Project Recycle and Create
Project: Recycle & Create is a group of bloggers who focus on a different material each month and see what kids can make with it. It's a celebration of creativity and recycling in one. This month is - you guessed it - egg cartons. Have a craft to share? Add it to the linky below or visit the main page to see how else you can participate! Happy creating!
Powerful Mothering * Planet Smarty Pants * Widsom Knowledge Joy
There’s Just One Mommy * Lemon Lime Adventures * Sugar Aunts
Peakle Pie * Little Bins for Little Hands * Playtivities
Danya Banya * Teach Me Mommy * Still Playing School
Creative World of Varya * Mama Miss * Preschoolers Day by Day
We're celebrating imagination and creativity! This month is Egg Cartons. Add your link of things made with these materials - by, for or with children. Look around, be inspired and have fun! - Also check out our Pinterest board. *By linking up, you agree to have your images featured / shared with credit.