Mini Monets and Mommies: D is for Dirt

Thursday, June 19, 2014

D is for Dirt

Dirt art for kids? Yep, it's true! So, the kids might get messy -- but, isn't that half the fun anyway!

nature science

It’s the fourth day of the ABC’s of Nature hosted by School Time Snippets and…D is for Dirt! I’m a dirt aficionado. When my son was 2-years-old the only thing that he loved more than trains was dirt. He could spend hours kicking up the dirt at the playground making steam for his imaginary trains. He also spent plenty of time digging through our garden, looking at the creepy crawlies that worked their way through the soil just under the ground.

I’m always up for a good old dig through the dirt to explore what’s in it activity. At the same time I also can’t help but to turn this theme crafty. So, let’s combine science and art. Start your child out with a bin of dirt. Scoop a few cups out of the garden or yard, and put them into a container or an old cardboard box. Give your child a magnifying glass to get up close and personal with the dirt. Have her draw what she sees to document her observations. This may include:

·         Small-sized pieces or clumps of soil

·         Seeds

·         Pieces of plants

·         Earthworms or other bugs

Kids' activities
Go back later (or on another day) and re-visit her science exploration by talking about her drawing.

Before you toss the dirt back into the garden, stop and show your child how she can transform it into a colorful crafting item. If the dirt is damp, set it out in the sun to dry out. Ask your child what she thinks will happen if you spread out the dirt in a bin or on a piece of cardboard and put it in the hot sun. Check back to investigate how the sun is drying it out. When the dirt is dry, you’re ready to start the art-making process. Your child can mix up batches of her own colorful dirt (use it like colored craft sand) to make a textured piece of art shaped like the letter D.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·         Your dirt

·         Food coloring

·         A stick or craft stick

·         Plastic containers or a cupcake tin– Reuse old yogurt containers or those little tubs that deli turkey comes in.

·         Clear-drying school glue

·         A marker

·         Cardboard or thick paper – You can reuse the front of an old cereal box instead of buying new board.

Here’s What To Do:

1.      Divide the dirt into at least two containers (or sprinkle it into each segment of a cupcake tine). The more containers that you use, the more colors of dirt your child can make. 

Soil science
2.      Add a few drops of food coloring to each bin. Use one color per container or mix two (such as yellow and blue) to make a new hue. Have your child mix up the dirt and food coloring with a stick. Allow the colorful dirt to dry. Hint: If the dirt is still wet, you won’t see the color clearly. The drier the dirt is, the more vibrant the color.

Children's art
3.      Write the letter D on the cardboard. Your child can draw this herself, or (if she’s struggling) you can write it first and she can trace over it.

4.      Squeeze the glue over the letter D.

5.      Sprinkle the colorful dirt on the glue.

Alphabet activity
If you want to create an alphabet of dirt letters or don’t want to bring the dirt inside later, your child doesn’t have to use glue. Make letter cards by drawing on card stock or cardboard and simply have your child shape the colorful dirt over the lines. Snap a photo to save this temporary art. Hang your pics up inside or use them as letter learning cards!

Add to the literacy lesson and read a book (or two!) about dirt. Here are a few titles on the subject:

Dirt: The Scoop on Soil (Amazing Science) by Natalie M. Rosinsky and Sheree Boyd

A Handful of Dirt by Raymond Bial

Dirt: Jump Into Science by Steve Tomecek and Nancy Woodman

SOIL! Get the Inside Scoop by David L. Lindo

Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food by Cris Peterson and David R. Lundquist


  1. My daughter loves playing in dirt but I never thought to use it for anything crafty. Great idea!

  2. I've never thought of coloring the dirt before! Fun idea! My kiddos love digging in the dirt, too; they love finding the worms!

    1. My son is 12 and he still loves finding the worms too!

  3. Fun! I'd never have thought to add food coloring to dirt! Great idea!

    1. Thanks! The bright colors (such as green and blue) work the best.

  4. I've never thought of coloring dirt either! What a fun idea (who knew dirt could be even MORE fun? lol!)

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  12. D also stands for delightful, one of the positive words that start with D that resonate with us, moms :)