Everyone enjoyed playing in the mud as a child, right? Well, that’s what you get to do with hikaru dorodango (“shining mud ball” in Japanese). Except this time, you don’t just wash the mud off and forget about it. Instead, you create something beautiful and unique. You also form a surprisingly strong attachment to a piece of artwork that you create from something so mundane.

Professor Fumio Kayo of the Kyoto University of Education has created an easy method that even children can follow. He used dorodango to study children’s developmental psychology, and found that children would become attached to their mud and put tremendous effort into shaping and polishing their dorodango. The phenomenon was first made famous in Japan back in 2001. I hope you too will enjoy this wonderful pastime.

Note: The finished dorodango pictured here were done by Bruce Gardner. Finished dorodango photos by Amelia Milazzo.