Explore Cultures & Architecture with Kids by Making a Mud Brick House

by Wendy Kwasny on March 15, 2013

One way to explore other cultures throughout history is by examining how they lived. In what kind of structure did they live and work? Many cultures have made their homes with mud brick. It’s easy to recreate an approximation of these homes or design your own (as we did) using small mud bricks. Here’s what we did.

Gather these things:

  • clay dirt
  • water
  • a base like a paper plate or cardboard
  • skinny sticks
  • straw or grass clippings
  • other embellishments, herbs, leaves, etc…

I found some nice clay dirt at the local dirt BMX bike ramps in my neighborhood. I just walked in with a large bucket and walked out with dirt. (Don’t worry, I didn’t make any potholes.)

Mix some small pieces of straw in with your mud. The straw helps hold everything together when the bricks are formed.

You can use ice cube trays with removable-able inserts, but I used a silicone mini-brownie pan as a mold for my bricks.

Fill a bowl with about 4 cups of dirt and 1/4 cup of straw (you can use dried grass clippings or little twigs). Add water until you get a nice mud, like thick pancake batter.

Spray your mold with non-stick spray. Pat the mud down into your mold or lightly tap it on a hard surface to compact it and remove any air bubbles.

Pop the mud into your oven at 350 for at least a half an hour. Honestly, I forgot about mine and left it in there for quite a while and it was fine. Just check it and when it’s dry, pull it out.

Pop the bricks out of the mold and play with them a little until you find a design you love. Then de-construct your house and thin your extra mud to make a mortar.

Lay the bricks like, well, bricks. I used a sturdy paper plate as a base. Add mortar to the sides and top and firmly press them together. I added some thin sticks between the walls and roof as support in mine. The kids did not.

Embellish your house with leaves, fresh herbs, or sticks!

When you’re finished, go place it in your garden. Maybe watch how long it lasts in the weather and continue the conversation about how you could improve your structure. Keep an eye on it to see who moves in … a fairy perhaps?

Photos by Wendy Kwasny, 2013.

About Wendy Kwasny, Contributing Blogger

Wendy Kwasny is a mom to two kids, a fine artist with 15+ years experience, and an advocate of attachment parenting, hands on learning, equality for all, arts and sciences in schools, organic gardening, and free play. Follow Wendy on Twitter @bendystar and all of us @RedPiggyPress.

Like this post? Share it with your friends!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: