INSIDE: Mud Kitchens are the best. In our backyard, it is the most played with toy all year round! Here are some tips to setting up your own mud kitchen for your kids!
My Real Mud Kitchen
I love seeing all these super fancy pictures of mud kitchens online and on instagram. They are sparkling, they are clean and they devoid of mud. Here is a picture of mine. It’s dirt. Very dirty. Because it gets used a lot! In my mind this is what a mud kitchen should look like!
What is a Mud Kitchen?
What exactly is a mud kitchen? Its a dedicated play area usually outdoors where kids can pretend to bake, cook and create imaginary dishes using various natural items. There is usually a shelf to prepare the ‘food’; hooks to hand cooking utensils; a shelf to store items and storage underneath. The main feature of the mud kitchen is usually a sink or a large mixing bowl.
Kids can use dirt, rocks, leaves, faded flowers, rocks and pebbles, twigs and whatever else is in the natural environment to cook. Mud kitchens are amazing places to promote sensory and and imaginative play.
What Skills Are Worked on In a Mud Kitchen
Sensory play is central to mud kitchen and that is why I absolutely love them! Mud kitchens are also great for working on a variety of skills such as:
- They encourages co-operation skills when playing in groups
- Stimulates fine and gross motor development
- Fosters creativity and imagination
- Promotes problem solving and strategy building skills
The Best Sensory Play Kits for Kids
Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and has a enoumous positive impact on brain development.
Our Sensory Play Kits are a fun and easy way to keep your child engaged while at the same time capitalizing on the benefits of sensory play to nurture their mind!
Shop our ready made sensory play kits here.
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How to Set Up Your Mud Kitchen for Kids
For my daughter’s 3rd birthday I had a mud kitchen built for her. Now 4 years later and 2 more kids our mud kitchen is still on the most played with toy in our backyard. All three of my kids use it all year round. In the fall, its full of leaves, in the spring – faded flowers. They will even go and play with it on mild winters days!
But our mud kitchen get the most use in the summer. That is when I can really let them have lots of water and make the most mud!
Our mud kitchen is very basic and honestly, that is all you need. If you are looking to set up a fancy. There are a few ways you get build your mud kitchen. You can purchase one and assemble it yourself; you can build one yourself or you can set up some bowls, pots, pans, water and dirt and call it a mud kitchen!
Here are some mud kitchens you can assemble out of the box:
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Here are the instructions I used to have our mud kitchen built. We were having some work done on our back deck and while he was there I asked him if he would be able to build a small mud kitchen for me. I gave him to design and he was able to put it together in less than a day. Here is a great articles with instructions on how to build your own mud kitchen.
If you don’t want to commit to an actual mud kitchen or you don’t have the space, a fantastic option for a mud kitchen is this idea from Busy Toddler.
What To Put in Your Mud Kitchen
On most days my mud kitchen just has lot of dirt and leaves and sticks and sometimes rocks. Thats what in our backyard. The best part of a mid kitchen is that you don’t have to keep setting it up for it to be fun. Once you have your basics you can let your kids use their imagination and the natural environment to fill it up.
Here are the basics in my mud kitchen:
- Old pots and pans
- Old cooking spoons, whisks, slotted spoons, spatulas
- Large mixing bowls
- Measuring Spoons
Around the same time that we built our mud kitchen we replaced all our pots. So put all the old pot outside in the mud kitchen. I purchased cooking utensils and mixing bowls from the dollar store.
Once you have these basics your kitchen it all set, but of course your can add more.
Here is a list of extras you can add to your kitchen to make it more fun:
- Scissors (for older kids)
- Old Spice Jars
- Ice Cube tray
- Muffin tin
- Dish Soap
You can store all of this stuff in a large storage bin.
Ways to Play your Mud Kitchen
Your mud kitcehn will never get old, but sometimes you may want to add something new to change up their play. Here are a few ideas and items you can add:
- Faded flowers
- Water beads
- Vegetable clippings
- Lawn clippings
- Faded plants in the fall
This activity is good for kids 2 years and up (with adult supervision). My kids are 3, 3, and 6 year old.
Looking for more summer and outdoor activity ideas? Check out of these other round-ups for more ways to keep your toddler or preschooler busy this summer:
- 25+ Outdoor Water Activities to Keep Kids Cool This Summer
- 40+ Awesome Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids
- 30+ Easy Outdoor Art Projects for Kids
- 60+ Awesome Outdoor Activities for Kids
- 45+ Awesome Water Sensory Bins for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- 40+ Water Table Activities for Toddlers
- 21+ Spray Bottle Activities for Toddlers
- 20 Amazing Backyard Obstacle Courses
- 21+ Amazing Summer Sensory Bins
- 25+ Adorable Summer Crafts for Toddlers
- 40+ Ice Sensory Play
- 12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Toddlers + Kids