Simple to set up, our mud kitchen activity requires only a bucket of mud, a few kitchen items and a handful of “past their best” pantry items.
The inspiration behind today’s mud kitchen activity was the awesome pretend “coffee shop” which kept the hooligans busy all last Friday morning. If you haven’t seen it, click here to pop over and check it out! It was a huge hit, and required nothing more than a few basic supplies and some sand, water and dish soap.
I’m happy to say that our mud kitchen today was also a complete success, and once again, the hooligans were engaged for most of the morning cooking up a storm with a bunch of stuff I already had on hand.
For those concerned that we wasted food doing this activity, I want to say that all of the items you see in the round tray, are materials that we’ve used previously in many of our sensory bins. When we’re finished with a bin, I seal up the pasta, lentils, rice etc. to be used again and again. We’ve been using these same dried food items for a couple of years now.
As for the shaker bottles, I used a small amount of oatmeal, which lasted the entire morning, and some old, dried dill that was past its best.
Supplies we used to create our mud kitchen:
For your convenience, I’ve added affiliate links for some of the products in this post:
- lentils, rice, pasta and corn kernels (from our stash of sensory bin supplies)
- shaker jars filled with oatmeal and dried dill
- meatball scoops
- biscuit cutters
- meatball scoops
- pie plates, tart tins and small bowls
- large bowl for mud
- water jug with spigot
To make our mud:
I used a mix of approx 50/50 sand (from our sandbox) and potting soil, and stirred in just enough water to make it moldable.
The hooligans spent the better part of the morning scooping, pouring, mixing and garnishing their concoctions.
And I gotta say: they looked fantastic!
I was impressed with how deliberately the preschoolers worked, carefully arranging and decorating their plates.
We snipped some herbs and flowers from the garden and they added those to their creations.
After about an hour, I suggested that they use the water from our camping jug, to make soup.
Our water dispenser:
Our camping water jug is a much-loved addition to our outdoor play space when the weather is warm. They love having their own personal supply of “running water” in the yard. It’s great for activities like this, because it saves me from running in and out of the house to refill pitchers with water, and the kids don’t soak themselves at the dispenser like they tend to if they’re using the garden hose.
I’d placed the water-jug a short distance away from the mud table, so they ran back and forth, filling their small bowls with water, and dumping them into the large bowl of mud, until it was brimming. Then they added flowers, cut grass and their food items, and stirred and scooped the soup into their bowls.
I had them wear their aprons to keep their clothes from getting too messy. These aprons are THE BEST! I made them a couple of years ago out of the legs of worn out jeans so they’re really durable, and water and stain resistant. They’re easy to make, requiring only basic sewing skills. Click here to see my tutorial.
Clean up was a snap:
At the end of the morning, I drained the water in the big bowl off into the garden, and then I dumped the contents of the plates and bowls into the bowl. I used the cookie lifter to scrape the mess on the table into the bowl, and then we dumped the whole thing into our compost bin. A quick spray with the hose had all of the tools and table clean.
When it comes to good, old-fashioned fun, you really can’t beat a bucket of mud for keeping kids engaged and entertained.
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