What’s not to love about playing with dirt, and even better, playing with mud? Most all of us have done that in our lives at some point, and had a great time, too. Those of us who still love to play in dirt often use gardening as an excuse. I had never heard of dorodango though, a common occupation of children in Japan. Then there’s hikaru dorodango, the art of making shiny mud balls! I know I’m going to do this, it’s just one of those things that you see, and right away, you’re running outside for dirt.
Hikaru dorodango experienced a resurgence and brand new popularity thanks to Professor Fumio Kayo of the Kyoto University of Education: SHINY MUD BALLS: Kyoto Professor Taps into the Essence of Play. I really need to come out from under my rock more often, I had no idea, and this just looks so amazingly cool and fun. Professor Kayo’s personal recipe is included in that article, along with his method:
How to Make Shiny Dorodango
1. Pack some mud into your hand, and squeeze out the water while forming a sphere.
2. Add some dry dirt to the outside and continue to gently shape the mud into a sphere.
3. When the mass dries, pack it solid with your hands, and rub the surface until a smooth film begins to appear.
4. Rub your hands against the ground, patting and rubbing the fine, powdery dirt onto the sphere. Continue this for two hours.
5. Seal the ball in a plastic bag for three or four hours. Upon removing the sphere, repeat step 4, and then once again seal the sphere in a plastic bag.
6. Remove the ball from the bag, and if it is no longer wet, polish it with a cloth until it shines.
Over at The Creators Project, you can read about Bruce Gardner’s dorodango, along with beautiful photos and a brief video.
Have fun playing with the dirt, I know I will!