This post may contain affiliate links.
Edible Earth soil layers dirt cups is a creative, hands-on way to teach kids about the different types and layers of soil. It is a little twist on the traditional Oreo dirt cups recipe and teaches a lesson in the process of making and eating.
This fun no bake dessert idea came from a Raddish Kids box we got some time ago. I’ve had this post waiting in draft for some time, and finally got around to finishing it up! We have had the Raddish Kids subscription for a long time and just love it! My kids are always excited when they come & it has really helped them to become confident in their cooking abilities.
What Are Soil Layers?
The earth has five different soil layers, also called soil horizons. The different soil layers each have a distinct profile, different nutrients and a different chemical composition.
There are soil scientists called pedologists & soil classifiers who study soil particles to learn all about the different way soil is made and what it is made up of.
The layers include: Bedrock, Parent Layer, Subsoil, Topsoil, Humus
Ingredients for the Edible Soil Layers Dirt Cups
To make this fun little treat you will need the following ingredients:
Oreo Cookies- or other chocolate sandwich cookies
Butterscotch and Chocolate chips or nuts (broken up peanut butter cups would also be delicious!)
Chocolate Instant Pudding or pudding cups
Gummy Worm Candy
Clear cups or jars
Instructions to Make the Edible Soil Layers Dirt Pudding Cups
I have a printable packet that teaches about the different layers of soil. It’s in both color and black & white. You can use this to learn about the different soil layers.
Get your ingredients ready. If you are using an instant chocolate pudding mix, whisk it up now with some cold milk. Chill the pudding mixture.
You’ll need to crush up the Oreos and graham crackers. We put them into bags & crushed with a rolling pin & a meat tenderizer. It could also easily be done in a food processor, but this is much more fun!
Elbows make a great tool, too! 😉
Put the first layer in your soil layers dirt cup or jar. This layer represents the bedrock layer of soil. We used a mixture of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to look like rocks. Bedrock is solid rock deep underground.
After the bedrock layer comes the parent material layer. The parent material is made up of bedrock that is weathered and other organic material. This layer is the beginning of soil development. To make this layer by fold together some pudding and some of the chocolate and butterscotch chips.
The next soil layer is the subsoil layer. We used crushed graham crackers to represent this layer. Subsoil is made up of minerals, sand, silt and clay.
The topsoil layer is represented in our model by using chocolate pudding. Topsoil I made up of decomposed organic matter, plus broken apart rocks. There are a lot of earthworms in this layer, so we put some gummy worms here, too!
The top layer of soil is the humus layer. This is full of decomposing leaves, sticks, and insects. We made this layer out of crushed Oreo cookie crumbs with some candy leaf sprinkles mixed in.
Top it all off with some green sprinkles to represent the vegetation, and your soil layer model is complete!
My son got creative and made an Oreo into a bush to add more vegetation.
This is more than just a treat, make sure to teach about the soil layers, also called soil horizons, as you make this! You can use my printable set to aid in your teaching.
Take it Outside Now:
Take a soil profile in your back yard to see what different types of soil you have. Soil can have many different characteristics depending on the climate, level of moisture, and zone that you live in. Study to see if the depth of the soil matters. Does it look different as you dig deeper?
See More Earth & Geology Related Activities: