It seems like the latest thing for outdoors is a little table or area with several textures to play and mix things up. They are known as a mud kitchen. They come in all sizes. I made a mud kitchen for my children and would like to help inspire you! Keep in mind, I like to reuse materials and find things to make them work. I encourage you to check around your house for things to use and you may be surprised in the result.
Please keep in mind, you are wanting to build a mud kitchen to fit your needs. I wanted:
1) A back on it for hanging space.
2) Bins put in length wise.
3) Space on each side of the bins for kids to put items.
4) A shelf that the older/taller kids can reach but not the little guys.
5) A shelf under it to store items.
I measured my other daycare items and needed to create a frame. The height needed to be one and a half to two foot tall. I bought some 2×4’s and made my frame because I did not have any. It was about $20 in wood cost. I made a table frame that was 2 ft tall and 5 ft long giving me two stations for play. Because I just redid my deck, I kept all of the deck floor boards. I was ready to reuse them! Deck boards are 5.5in wide and have a nice smooth edge on them. My deck was made out of cedar and well worn. I just measured around the areas where the boxes went and cut the boards to fit. I didn’t buy any new tools to cut them. It was just me doing this. Yup, girl power! Anyone can do it with a skill saw and drill!
When adding the shelf to the top, I made sure my back legs were inside my frame to give the 2 inches in the back and have it flush with the wall. I had an extra piece of plywood sitting around and added it to the 2×4’s of the mud kitchen. I added hooks to hang things on and I found this cup holder at a garage sale for 75 cents!
Time to accessorize! I had been looking around at thrift stores and clearance sections. I found several new things to add and other second hand items. I tried to give them things I use in the kitchen so they can learn how to use them and make a mess outside. I want them to have water but limit the amount with this great water jug I found in the filtered water section. It holds 2 gallons and when it is gone, that is it. You can also add a small container of rocks, pinecones, sticks, dried corn, or leaves to this area. Anything you find outside, can be used to make a decoration on a cake!
I am not big on mud but thought in my sandbox area this could work. In several pictures I have seen, Mud Kitchens are against a fence or some corner area. Well, I am chicken when it comes to mud, but sand is ok. So, I placed it next to my sandbox area. Please check out my blog, “Extraordinary Sand Box, you will see and read how that fun space was made. To keep everything together we call this the play house and the kids are all told to keep the sand in the play house. Here is my completed space day and night! Enjoy!
Family Child Care Professional