Have you been looking for a way to get your kids or students playing outside more? Do you want a way to engage them in creative, open-ended play? Build them a mud kitchen!
Today, Jenny Santeramo, a fellow play advocate, mom of five, and owner of Greyson’s Treasures Play Kits for Big Imaginations, will be sharing with us how to make a DIY Mud Kitchen!
Making a Mud Kitchen
There are so many ways to put together this magical mud kitchen. Collect some old pallets and nail them together, simple as that.
You could also look for a used piece of furniture that is child height to use for the base. We used a jigsaw to cut a hole for a large metal bowl sink, but if you have one laying around, just use a real sink. No matter how simple or elaborate you make it, the kids will jump right in mixing, stirring, dumping, and creating.
Learning through Play
Younger children enjoy the simplicity of scooping, dumping, and mixing. They will have fun using their imaginations to make mud pies, stone soup, or simply enjoy the feel of the water or mud.
Building their imagination
You could add a play register and chalkboard easel for older children to come up with a menu. They enjoy creating a shop to sell their creations, bring your money as prices can be steep. Then let them get into the dramatic play involved with operating a mud bakery. The possibilities are endless!
What to include in your mud kitchen
First, look to nature to fill your kitchen. Water and dirt are the only essentials. Beyond that, you can include:
- Wood pieces
- Grass, weeds, herbs, flowers
- Gems, or scraps from the kitchen such as the cut-off ends of celery or whatever you happen to be chopping up that day
- You’ll also need a variety of utensils, bowls, containers, pitchers, ice trays, medicine droppers, etc.
- A scale and balance add to the science fun!
- Another thing to consider including is a pump-style soap container. We had one that was mostly out of soap, but the kids were able to add water and get bubbles.
- You can also check your recycling bin for treasures such as empty juice bottles, yogurt containers, egg cartons, etc.
- Local thrift shops can be a great resource for interesting things to include as well.
Other things to include in the mud kitchen
Have the children collect items to freeze in an ice tray to investigate later, try adding play dough, freeze baking soda mixed with just enough water to make a paste, and any scent you’d like such as vanilla or cocoa powder to make pretend ice cream. The possibilities are endless!