Making Mud Pies and Cakes

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by

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Making Mud Pies and Cakes: an activity for children of all ages.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood”(Fred Rogers).

Not only is making mud pies good for the imagination and a great sensory activity, playing in mud is also healthy. Studies shows that sometimes the world we are living in is too “sanitized” and actually contributing to increased levels of childhood allergies and asthma. In this activity, children will become master bakers as they make mud pies and cakes.

“The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions, as it is the latest. Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. Fondness for the ground comes back to a man after he has run the round of pleasure and business, eaten dirt, and sown wild-oats…. To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life,—this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do…. Let us celebrate the soil. Most men toil that they may own a piece of it; they measure their success in life by their ability to buy it…. Broad acres are a patent of nobility; and no man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property.” (Charles Dudley Warner, “Preliminary,” My Summer in a Garden, 1870).

*Please make sure your child knows this activity is not for eating.

  • Supplies:
    • clothes that can get dirty
    • small bowl or bucket
    • spoon (optional)
    • butter knife
    • other baking supplies as desired
    • dirt
    • water
    • sun
    • pie pan or round cake pan (optional)
    • items for decor (seeds, flowers, sticks, rocks, pine needles, and leaves)
  • Read one or more of the following stories:
  • Take your child on a foraging trip to gather the natural ingredients.
  • Sift the dirt to remove rocks and other large objects.
  • Make mud by mixing dirt and water with a spoon or your hands. Continue adding small amounts of water until the mud is the consistency of bread dough.
  • Form the mud ball into shape. Place it in a cake or pie pan as desired.
  • Let it bake in the sun.
  • Mix more dirt and water to make frosting. Continue adding small amounts of water until the mud is the consistency of frosting.
  • Frost your pie/cake with a butter knife.
  • Sprinkle with sawdust, sand, crushed eggshells, dried coffee grounds, and/or orange peels.
  • Decorate with seeds, flowers, sticks, rocks, pine needles, and leaves.
  • Get really dirty and have fun!
  • Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured.