Recipe for Spicy Mud Pies
An early spring sensory pleasure for toddlers and preschoolers
by Anne Siller
The sun is shining. The kids are milling around the house while a beautiful spring day is calling. It's time to go outside!
But wait...what is that low rumbling noise? It's not the boiler kicking on, because it's 68 degrees outside. You know, I think it's coming from the dinosaurs...they must be hungry! Well, there's only one thing to do about that...make 'em pie. They've been awfully good lately; they deserve a treat. And it's a perfect day for making pies...the spicier the better. Dinosaurs so enjoy a spicy mud pie on a nice sunny day....
1. Find a decently warm spring day. One in which the hose will not be too shocking when the younger brother turns it on the older brother. (Ahh, a dish served cold, yes indeed.)
2. Search your spice cabinets and pantry for old spices: You know, the fish rub you bought 4 years ago at the farmers' market, the GIANT jar of oregano that you've had longer than your oldest child. That's what you're looking for. Avoid the peppery stuff (no cayenne, no curry). Nothing that will bother soft skin if it comes in contact. Oh yeah, then cross "clean the spice cabinet" off your to-do list.
3. Gather some old pots and pans, hit the recycling bin for different containers. (Thanks, Honey, for NOT taking out the recycling!)
4. Round up your toddlers and preschoolers. Put them in their play clothes (are there any other kind?) and tell them it's time to play in the mud.
5. Bring singing, joyous children outside. Have them carry out the dinosaurs.
6. Hand everyone shovels, or the spoons you bought at the Dollar Store, and tell them to start diggin'. Steer them away from the perennials.
7. Divvy up the spices authoritatively. Don't leave it to chance, or to the children.
8. Have each child start making a mud pie. You, too. Add water, add the spices. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
11. Feed the Dinosaurs. They are cranky.
12. Look the other way when the 2-year-old samples the cuisine.
13. Lay pans out to "bake" in the sun.
14. Take pictures. Because you know you'll want to tell the story to Grandma, unless Grandma has a serious dirt complex. (Or maybe especially if Grandma has a serious dirt complex. Heh. Payback.)
15. Lather, rinse, repeat...until everyone is thoroughly dirty, thoroughly soaked, and thoroughly tired.
16. Round up the troops and head inside. Pile them into the tub.
17. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
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