How to Make Miniature Adobe Bricks for Kids

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Many buildings in the southwest are made from sun-warmed adobe bricks.
Many buildings in the southwest are made from sun-warmed adobe bricks. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Making miniature adobe bricks for a school project or rainy day activity is simple and inexpensive. Native Americans and other people in the southwest used adobe bricks to build their homes and other structures. The ultimate in environmentally-friendly building supplies, real adobe bricks are made with clay, sand, water and the heat of the sun. To make a fun building brick for children, you will need similar materials. Luckily, you do not need to live in the desert or wait for a hot and sunny day to dry your miniature adobe bricks.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown or red air dry clay
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wax paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Ruler
  • Knife

Mix some air dry clay, sand and a teaspoon of water in a large bowl with your hands. If the mixture is difficult to manipulate, add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time, until it is easy to work with. If you get your mixture too wet, it will take much longer to dry and may be almost impossible to form into bricks.

Work the mixture with your hands until the sand is spread evenly throughout the clay.

Spread the sand and clay mixture into an even layer on a sheet of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to be sure your layer of adobe is not taller than 1/2 inch. Using a rolling pin will also help remove air bubbles and prevent cracking as the bricks dry.

Cut the bricks along the edge of a ruler. Be sure to cut uniform pieces to ensure that all bricks will be the same size.

Allow the bricks to dry on the wax paper until they become hard. You may place the bricks in the sun to show children how the Native Americans dried their adobe, but this is not necessary for air dry clay.

Remove the bricks from the wax paper. You may need a knife to help you remove the bricks. The bricks will adhere to surfaces using a hot glue gun or concrete adhesive.

References

  • "The Incredible Clay Book"; Sherri Haab and Laura Torres; 1994
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