DIY Outdoor Educational Toys: Mud Kitchen
My kids LOVE to get dirty, and guess what?! I let them! Not only do I let them, I encourage them. Playing in the mud is a wonderful children’s activity. It’s free, it’s healthy, and they are learning! They are working on skills like sensory development, creativity, and imagination. They are using different behavioral schema like transforming, transporting, and circulation/rotation!
Mud Kitchen: Easy and Cheap!
So, naturally, we had to have a mud kitchen. What surprised us was how easy and inexpensive it was too make! We found the pallets at a construction site, collected some free pallet wood from our local home improvement store, and we bought some wood screws! Everything else we had on hand, like old kitchen supplies such as scratched up pots/pans, extra set of measuring cups/spoons, random large utensils that don’t get used often, and a mixing bowl! The overall cost was under $10!
Here’s what you’ll need to make a mud kitchen:
- Pallets: Two small pallets and some wood from a 3rd large pallet (can often find for free);
- Wood screws;
- Scrap wood (usually free from any home improvement store);
- Glass jars for decorations;
- Spare pots, pans, measuring cups, spoons, a mixing bowl;
- Optional: Juice bottle, flowers, and hosing/tubing.
Ready to Create Yours? Follow These Steps:
We started by prying half of the boards off of the 2 small pallets and screwing them together side by side with wood screws.
We then took two larger boards from the large pallets and attached them about half down with wood screws, reenforced underneath with some scrape wood.
We used some spare wood from a mango tree that we cut down for 3 legs (one for each front corner of the counter and in the middle for support. This could be done with scrap wood as well!).
We used a routing tool to cut the circle for the “sink” ( I flipped it over and traced the lip of the bowl and then we cut 1/4 in in from that). It should easily come in and out for cleaning.
We used some scrap wood for a shelf and some spare jars for herb pots/flower vase.
I made a fun gravity sink filler with a big juice bottle and scrap hosing. I cut the bottom of the bottle off, cut a hole in the lid and shoved a length of hose in it. Its a big hit amongst our kids!
Add the Accessories You Already Have
From there, you just add whatever accessories you have in the back of your kitchen drawers or cabinets. If you don’t have anything to spare, you can usually find very inexpensive utensils and pots/pans at thrift stores.
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About the Author
Annie Knott is a South Florida Native and is proud to call Oakland Park her home. She is the mother to 4 young children. Annie has taught gymnastics, dance, art classes, and directed summer camps for over 15 years. She currently teaches nature-based guided play classes in the community. If Annie isn’t attending one of Oakland Park’s fun-filled events with her family, she can be found gardening in her exotic fruit orchard, paddle boarding on the Middle River, or photographing nature & wildlife.