Welcome to the no homework series by Play-based-parenting, if this is your first time visiting you might want to check out the very first addition to the series which was the Magic Spelling word tactile tray. I started this series to help parents face homework battles in confidence and avoid the dreaded evening complaints that come soon after you announce it’s homework time. The homework series promotes play-based novel activities that are simple and that engage children in tactile, sensory, visually appealing, playful ways. The second idea in the series is this Nature writing with mud paint that is fantastic for learning sight words or spelling words while outdoors in the sunshine.
We did this nature writing with mud paint one afternoon in the sunshine to challenge Dimples on his spelling list from school. As many of you know, he is a very active and hands-on boy who is a visual learner and doesn’t learn well from traditional spelling lists. He is also competitive – So if I use the word “challenge” he always accepts. So, after he had some afternoon tea and spent half an hour jumping on the trampoline and some time in the garden climbing tree’s, I set up a literacy challenge on his spelling words, with this fun hands-on nature writing with mud.
First, I gave him two bowls and asked him to find two different dirt patches then fill the bowls with two different colours of dirt. As he went off exploring for different types of dirt (or mining as he preferred to call it), I gathered some eucalyptus leaves, sticks, dried leaves and thick strands of grass. I wrote some words on the dried leaves and set up an invitation to do nature writing with mud. He returned with some beautiful rich dirt from around the farm that I added a dash of water to. Using a stick the little miner mixed it into a mud paint and started writing some of the spelling words that I had prepared.
Writing with mud paint
Success! Writing with mud was super easy and fun. The bowls were paper so it was easy to toss them into the compost bin after the kids were finished. We did it outside in the sunshine so I didn’t have to clean up, not that there was much mess! A few splashes of mud paint that got on the concrete could be swept off when dry or wash off in the next rain. Then we just threw the sticks and leaves back into nature when we were done and let the mud paint spelling words dry. Spelling challenge complete.
This was such a simple outdoor activity that was playful, kinaesthetic and interesting for children, yet they practised their spelling words at the same time. We adapted the writing with mud for Miss T as well, she used the eucalyptus branches as a native paint brush and did some sweeping, swirling painting on her page, she also did her name and some lines and patterns.
Mud play after the no homework challenge.
After Dimples did the spelling word leaves I had wrote out for him, he chose to do some nature writing with mud his own way… He did some other words off the top of his head and underlined each as he sounded them out. Then of course, after doing things the way it was planned, he had free play with the mud paint and did some creative painting and process mud drawing of his own. I think next time we might use some utensils from the mud kitchen like this process art.
Thanks for reading the writing with mud spelling challenge of the No Homework series. I hope you enjoyed it and can adapt it to suit your children. Follow along on the blog or social media for more alternatives to traditional homework spelling sheets.
I’d love to hear from you.
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