Build a mud kitchen, cheap and cheerful
We have recently joined a forest school. There’s always a range of activities but our kids love the Mud Kitchen.
Incase you are not aware, a mud kitchen is toddler sized outdoor kitchen where kids can get really muddy. It’s a safe space to get creative and learn all kinds of skills.
Our boy can spend 3 hours making mud pies, mud cakes, mud pancakes, mud salmon en croute.
One day, when it was time to leave the forest school mud kitchen, our boy was obviously still up for another 3 hour shift.
I said “it’s ok we can make one at home”. Not really sure when I was going to find time to do this.
A 2 year old doesn’t let you forget a thing.
The next morning over breakfast I asked “what would you like to do today”.
His response: “build a mud kitchen”.
Now he doesn’t always get what he asks for, but today I said “yes”.
So here we are.
Firstly, why a mud kitchen?
The Benefits of Mud
- Reduce depression. Exposure to the bacteria in mud releases relaxation and soothing endorphins. (source)
- Improve health. The bacteria in dirt helps immune systems develop. This can help prevent allergies. (source)
- Sensory play. Children love different textures.
- Allow our children to experiment. Children are naturally scientists. Mud play allows them to explore this at their own level.
- Mud cakes are delicious. (at least that’s what you pretend when you are offered one)
- Tests comfort zones. Whilst some children are happy to roll in the mud, others prefer to poke at it with a finger. A mud kitchen allows children to explore at a level they are happy with improving their sense of self.
- Learning. The mud allows for endless imaginative play and develops communication skills.
- It’s a lot of fun.
With these benefits in mind, it was time to begin.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had the drill out. I felt like mud fun should be free so I didn’t want to buy anything. Even though some of the mud kitchens out there are truly fantastic.
My mission was set. A mud kitchen: simple to make and free.
What you’ll need.
- Scrap wood: no splinters, not tanalised
- Old kitchen equipment, finally something to do with that saucepan you can’t quite throw away
- old paving slabs or flat stones.
- Some hooks.
Step by Step
Search the house, especially the kitchen, garden, shed or garage for anything you have lying around that can help you out.
Roughly lay out your collected items to see if the idea you have is possible.
Find the perfect muddy spot in the garden. Warning: This may involve some gardening.
Make an even foundation.
Lay a foundation with some of your finds. We used old paving slabs. This stops the wood soaking up mud.
Get out the drill. Drill pilot holes to avoid wood splitting. Put in the screws to hold it all together.
Decorate to your taste. The children can help paint and choose the layout of your kitchen utensils and cookware. I added a couple of screws to hang utensils. Hooks would probably have looked prettier.
Allow plenty of time for play. Oh and grab yourself a cuppa.
I was delighted to see the look on my sons face as we completed the mud kitchen. He took real pride in the fact that he’d helped to build it. He proceeded to enjoy some long awaited mud fun.
As always this is not a full risk assessment, just an aide to get you thinking. check out our article how to risk assess[ninja_tables id=”565″]
Turns out the benefits weren’t only for the children. I had a great time too.