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Setting up a Mud Kitchen


Mud kitchens can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. All you REALLY need to create one in your space is dirt + water. The addition of other tools can peak curiosity but sometimes having more "stuff" available can disrupt explorers imagination.

The entirety of our backyard is open for mud play but we do have a designated area for extra tools that our explorers can use. The mud kitchen in our space had to be created as a traveling one because it contains items I use for mud class as well. You can certainly buy or build a formal mud kitchen but I hope to show you that it's not necessary; you can use items you may have lying around, second hand items you've purchased on the cheap or, like me, have found on the side of the road!

What you need:

mud + water - does your explorer not like mud!? Maybe try sand instead!


bowls - scour yard sales, second hand shops, buy nothing pages or ask friends like I did!

buckets - we use buckets for a lot of things; mostly as a stand for our sink, mixing mud, water. The ones we use were my Dads, "don't throw away my buckets" he would say. We didn't Dad, they are being put to good use!

sink - I found an old bowl at an antique shop for $12. I cut a circle big enough to fit the bowl into an old shelf we had lying around and placed it on a couple buckets to create a sink! Instead, you could use a bucket, wheelbarrow, water table or just a hole in the ground - anything you have that will hold water + dirt will do.

big metal thing - Old planter maybe? I found it on the side of the road, a neighbor had it out for free/trash. A little rusty but perfect for mud!

faux stove - using excess wood from a couch I made, I put together a noodle board. I didn't end up liking it for the intended purpose so I painted circles on it, put it on an old storage container as a base and voila, we have a mud stove.

old/second hand utensils, equipment, pots/pans - We don't have any utensils and instead use sticks or our hands but having some around doesn't hurt, especially if explorers don't prefer touching mud with their bare hands. Pots, pans, muffin trays and cake pans are items from our kitchen we never used and also donated by friends.

water dispenser - I purchased this pump and a 5-gallon water jug for our mud classes as an easy way to transport water and it was a big hit. It is SO not necessary but we have it in our space just because we have it. While convenient, without it we would fill buckets or the water table with the hose which works just as well.

water tables + little kitchen - the yellow and green kitchen you see in the photos is about 30 years old, I got it as a Christmas gift when I was 4 or 5. While not a beautiful wooden mud kitchen, it's getting a second, maybe even a third life in our yard as our explorers use it to make mud soup, tea, coffee and whatever else they're inspired to create. The water tables we have had; we received one as a hand-me down and the other I found on marketplace for $5.

I think we have a little too much available in our mud kitchen and we could downsize (who says that about a kitchen?!) Did I miss anything? Let me know if you create your own mud space + what tips and tricks you would share for someone just getting started!

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