School holiday fun for little kids
Soil—it’s everywhere around us. But when was the last time you thought about how much fun you could have with soil?
If you’ve given soil more than a passing thought recently, it was probably about planting a flower bed, or growing a vegie garden. But soil can be great fun, particularly with children! So we’ve come up with our top five fun soily things to do with your kids, to help them discover the ground beneath their feet.
5 fun things to do with soil
Be prepared—this will get dirty, but that’s the best part!
- Jump in muddy puddles.
Be like Peppa Pig and her family, put on some gumboots and jump in a muddy puddle or two! Go one step further … take those boots off and jump in barefoot. Feel that delicious mud ooze between your toes and enjoy the sensation as it coats your feet. If you like, grab some cardboard and make a muddy footprint painting with your kids. Then when it’s dry, you can sit back and look at your soil art together while fondly remembering that squelchy sensation of mud between your toes!
- Make a mud pie.
Collect some soil into a plastic container or alfoil tray, then add water, stir, and voila! Mud pie! To step it up a notch, mix different soils in different containers and then make a layered pie, e.g. a black clay base with white sand sprinkled on top. Decorate it with sticks, leaves, twigs, coils of bark etc. Even though it might look super tasty, don’t be tempted to eat it!
- Make a track for cars and trucks.
You’ll need a big pile of sand/soil/dirt/crusher dust for this one. Make a track in the pile of soil for toy cars and watch your kids race them uphill and downhill, and around all the trails. Make a tunnel if you can, or a bridge with a piece of wood. Watch out for falling debris as you hoon around that corner!
- Convert a sand pit into a dam.
Lots of kids are lucky enough to have a sand pit in their backyard. To mix things up a little, put a hose in the sandpit and convert their sandpit to a beachfront or dam. Add a few toy plastic animals and a healthy dose of imagination, and off they go. Everything is better with water!
- Make a soil cake.
Soil consists of different layers as you move from the surface to deeper in the profile. Make your own pretend “Soil Profile” cake with different items representing the soil layers e.g. crushed paper, homemade biscuits or yoghurt—the limit is your imagination! You could use coloured coconut to represent the grass.
As well as being fun, soil plays a vital role in our existence. The Soils in Schools program was
launched in 2015 and is helping teach Australian school children the relevance and importance of soils in everyday life. The Soils in Schools program is working to draw attention to, and shine a light on the often ignored resource that supports life as we know it. So, dig in, and have some fun with soil!
Kristie Williams, Soil Scientist and Mum of three kids (aged 4, 6 and 8).
For more information:
For more information on the Soils in Schools program and to read one of the four teacher guides currently available, check out the program website (click here). For more soil activities, check out the Soil Science Australia website (click here) or the Soil Challenge book produced by the FAO (click here).
The Soils in Schools program is an initiative of Soil Science Australia. Soil Science Australia is the specialist body for scientists and technicians working with soils, soil management and soil policy. It was founded in 1955 and has branches in all States. It draws membership from industry, professional, academic and government bodies.