Earth Play for Earth DayIt’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 – the ones 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
Do your kids enjoy building and playing with mud?
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