Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This activity is designed to get children connecting with nature; experiencing the health and developmental benefits of connecting with the earth and messy play. Younger children will experience sand, soil and mud through all their senses. Older children will explore and experiment with sand, soil, water and mud, investigating their various forms, states and uses.

This activity is designed to help connect children to the wonders of the natural world through sensory and play-based learning.

EYLF Learning Outcome


Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

3. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

1. Children become strong in their social and emotional well being

Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners

1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

3. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies, and natural and processed materials

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

1. Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes

3. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

Equipment needed: Soil, sand, water, a collection of natural loose parts (sticks, stones, seed pods, leaves, flowers, straw, etc), buckets, spades, watering cans, old cooking utensils (mixing bowls, spoons, plates, cups, muffin trays, cake tins, cookie cutters, etc), containers for mud brick moulds (e.g. take-away containers).

Supporting resources:

Other resources:

Cool Australia Presents Biodiversity on Vimeo (


The team at Cool Australia continually reviews and refines our Early Learning resources in line with expert advice and current educational practices.


Teacher Worksheet

Background information

Content information for educators: Getting dirty and messy play is great for children’s development, health and well being. There is a growing body of research that suggests children who regularly participate in all kinds of messy play feel happier, are more active and resilient, have stronger immune systems, develop stronger social and emotional skills, and have fun while they’re doing it!  Playing with mud is the ultimate sensory experience, stimulating all of the senses and maximising opportunities for learning and development.

Often Early Years services experience resistance from parents regarding messy play. Early Years professionals have an important role in ensuring that parents and families understand the benefits of providing children with opportunities to get dirty, and the impacts of those opportunities on development, health and well being. The Dirt Report is a great resource for parents, outlining the many benefits of outdoor and messy play. You co

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