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Have you seen all the adorable mud kitchen ideas floating around on Pinterest? You know, the ones that are more stocked and stylish than your own kitchen?
While it certainly isn’t necessary to take it to that extreme, it can be super fun to create (and play in) your own little mud kitchen space!
Mud kitchens seem to have become a trendy thing lately and for good reason – mud play never gets old! I had to give it a try, especially considering the documented health benefits of playing in the dirt and mud. And it’s been worth it. This little space in our yard has resulted in hours of independent play!
We had so much fun creating this charming little mud kitchen for our boy to play in! The best thing is that they’re completely customizable to your own preferences. Setting up a mud kitchen can be as simple or complex as you want it to be! The hours of fun your kids and their friends will have playing with it make the process completely worth it.
Here are 9 ideas to inspire your own mud kitchen space!
1. Choose your kitchen.
The first thing to decide is whether you want to DIY or buy your mud kitchen. This depends completely on a few things: Would you rather spend more time or money? How much building experience or knowledge do you have? How do you want it to look when it’s finished?
After looking at way too many DIY’s and comparing them to buying options, I ended up going the DIY route. I liked the idea of being able to customize it and make exactly what we wanted. I also liked the illusion of spending less money, although that probably didn’t end up being the case all things considered.
But I have no regrets because I LOVE the way it turned out!
When I began building, I fully intended to share building plans with you. But after quite a few mess-ups, backtracking and step-by-step figuring, I realized there was no way I could actually do so. My deepest apologies…but you know what they say about the best laid plans.
The best I can tell you is that I found a picture of a mud kitchen I really liked and tried my best to replicate it. But hold on…keep reading and I promise I’ll try and be more helpful 😀
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any decent ones on the market right now to recommend. But if you want a DIY with some actual building plans, this is a great tutorial! Or, if you’re feeling adventurous like we were, draw up one of your own!
2. Pick a cozy spot.
I chose a corner spot because I wanted the mud kitchen space to feel like it’s very own outdoor room. It’s strategically located close to my garden and is within full view of our kitchen window. It’s also as far as possible from the fence we share with the neighbors who have two dogs outside that constantly bark at us.
3. Add plants and flowers.
This is something I’m still working on for ours as a final touch. We already had the perfect spot between a forsythia and lilac bush, but a few pots of flowers will finish it off nicely!
4. Add kitchen accessories.
Once you’ve got your mud kitchen, it’s time to add all the fun stuff! My little dude especially loves pouring water, so we focused a lot on different kinds of cups and pouring containers. I work part-time with a local restaurant, so I had access to a basement storage room of old food prep supplies!
Here are some of the things we added to ours (plus extra ideas):
- Mixing bowls
- Stirring spoons
- Pots and pans (upgrade yours; give kids the old ones?)
- Muffin pan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Coffee mugs
- Latte cups with saucers
- Salt and pepper shakers
- Ice cream scoop
Hit up some thrift stores and garage sales to find old kitchen supplies for cheap. Or check with your grandma or any old lady hoarder that you know. On top of all that, I did purchase this play set of pots, pans, and utensils from Amazon for our mud kitchen as well.
5. Create a business!
Another aspect of mud play is to turn it into a business! My little dude loves asking, “What can I get for you?” and then creating something at my request. Add a chalkboard with a special mud pie menu and create a mud pie stand! If you have a toy cash register, you could even bring that out!
6. Collect ingredients from nature.
This is something your kids will probably automatically do on their own. But in case they need a little inspiration, grab some jars or containers and fill them with “ingredients” from around the yard.
Some of our favorite ingredients were cedar branches, leaves, and an assortment of flowers to top everything off. We also added dirt to our salt and pepper shakers, which adds a nice touch!
7. Add furniture.
So far, we’ve just been borrowing the little table from our deck. But a certain grandpa mentioned making a kid-sized picnic table for the little guy, and I think that would be the perfect addition to the space!
Part of the play is food preparation, but Finn also loves serving up his creations afterward. A table and some chairs or tree stumps would be perfect, especially when friends are involved.
8. Add fun finishing touches.
One reason I wanted to DIY our own mud kitchen was so that we could add all the fun finishing touches like the shelf and hanging rack for utensils. And I couldn’t resist the little wood slab burners for the stove!
Finn even had his very own idea abut adding a funnel and pipes that would empty into the sink! (We’re currently working on that part :D).
And make sure to weatherproof the wood if you DIY! We used this nontoxic wood sealer on ours, which added a nice finish. It definitely repels water but probably doesn’t work quite as well as a conventional wood sealer. Personally, that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make when it’s being used for a kid’s play space.
9. Create a small garden and mud space.
Arguably the most important aspect of a mud kitchen is the mud! Make sure to provide an area nearby where the kiddos have access to water and dirt. We built a small double garden bed and filled one side with dirt for the sole purpose of digging and mud pie creation. The other side has a small garden for our little guy to tend to and provide ingredients for his mud creations.
Whenever he wants to make mud, we fill up a five-gallon bucket with water and bring it over. Then he can dip his little watering can in and water the dirt until he has glorious, gloppy, brown mud!
That’s our mud kitchen! We’ve already spent hours playing with it, and I’m sure there will be many more. Hopefully, this leaves you with some inspiration to go forth and play with mud (it’s not just for kids, ya know)! It will be totally worth it in the memories you create with your loved ones!
For more mud play ideas, check out these mud tree faces we made!
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