This featured nature book for kids Mud is a picture book written by Mary Lyn Ray. Mud is a short and fun story for children ages 4-7. This book is a turn-of-the-season book showing the effects winter melt has on the beginning of spring.
My Experience with Mud
I have used this featured nature book for story hour as well as with our nature kindergarten program as a visual for seasonal changes. Starting off this story hour we began by reading Rainsong Snowsong by Philemon Sturges, a set of two weather related poems. We then read Mud and talked about the changes in the seasons that we had noticed so far. This book was full of colorful pictures and interesting adjectives to describe mud, something many children do not get to experience hands on.
After reading both books we spent time on two related crafts, one process and one product. For our process craft we painted with puffy mud paint on construction paper. Using shaving cream, tempura paint, craft glue and coffee grounds all mixed together they created abstract artwork with gusto! The kids had a really good time slopping the mud around and some even got into it with their fingers!
Our product craft was a rain stick to go along with Rainsong, Snowsong using toilet paper rolls, dry rice, dry pea halves, staples and markers. I had the parents help staple four staples into the end of the toilet paper roll by positioning the stapler and helping the children squeeze. Then they colored their toilet paper roll however they wished, filled it a quarter of the way with either dry rice or dry pea halves. Then they finished it off with four more staples.
Mud Outdoor Activities
Mud is an easy natural phenomenon to choose outdoor activities for: let them play in it; I took them to the mud kitchen at the preschool as our free-play activity. The mud kitchen was supplied with tons of used kitchen supplies that the children could use to make mud soup, muffins, pies and whatever else they came up with!
Overall, Mud is a great illustration of seasonal change using a fun and dirty part of nature children inherently are attracted to but don’t often get to experience. Get out there, make some mud, and enjoy the experience.
*Teacher Tip: for early childhood kiddos learning about descriptive words, read Mud and then have them play with it and brainstorm fun and unique descriptive words for what they feel.