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Setting Up a Mud Kitchen
Play with food and cooking is, quite possibly, the most universally appealing and accessible pretend play theme for kids at any age. Toddlers can emulate us making meals, and older children can use mud kitchens to cook up grand feasts, make concoctions or conduct science experiments.
To make a mud kitchen, all you really need is a set up that allows kids to play with water and whatever set of bowls, scoops and other containers you can spare, with a little surfaces on which to mix, mash, stir and “cook.”
Get quick inspiration!
Choose a spot for your mud kitchen:
If you don't have dedicated outdoor space, remember that you can fill a reusable shopping bag with any of the items below and head to a nearby green space to set up your pop up mud kitchen, too! Or, use flour and water to make a "kid kitchen" somewhere in your kitchen at home!
Build the kitchen:
- Work with kids to drape a tarp or bed sheet over a rope strung between two trees to designate the patch of earth as a special space. Or maybe just make a sign that says their name and "Mud Kitchen." Kids can enter and leave, and they just seem to know that special stuff happens there.
- Think about what objects you need in any kitchen. Then, use sticks, leaves, twine or even sidewalk chalk to turn a tree stump or log into a stove, a pile of sticks into a roaring fire, or the hollow of an old tree into an oven. Need some inspiration?
- You can use recycled materials and just things you may have around the house, kitchen or garage to create a space in which you can fashion some kind of sink/bowl for mixing, a place to store your scoops and tools and a space to work.
- Watch this quick video to see how to build a "no nails" mud kitchen. To make your own version of this "no nails" kitchen, you'll these materials:
- Recycling bins (2)
- ~6 foot lengths of 2’x4’ wood (2)
- Milk crate
- Small trash can
- Nesting bowls
- Duct tape
- Garden stakes, twine and pipe cleaners
Add in some cooking tools:
- Cake or pie pans
- Muffin tins
- Cookie sheet
- Ice cube trays
- Cups and bowls of various sizes
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mortar and pestle
Don't feel like you need more than a bowl and water to get started. It's actually fun and promotes ongoing engagement if you add a new item to the kitchen every so often.
Manage the Water Supply:
Let the cooking play begin!
Why is this activity great for kids?
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