Mud Glorious Mud!

Posted on 15th April 2019

Mud kitchens, as we know them today, are a fairly new introduction to our outdoor spaces, but the concept is very much an age old favourite thing to do outdoors. Jan White, an independent consultant supporting high quality outdoor provision, really got me thinking about the value of mud kitchens in relation to children's learning and development.  You can find out more from at  Jan White Natural Play 

WHAT IS A MUD KITCHEN?
It's a place where children can go to mix potions, experiment with materials such as mud, stones, water, sand, leaves and just about anything that can be found in an outdoor space.  Young children can spend long periods of time being totally absorbed in mixing, stirring, imagining, chatting about and changing materials. They use their imaginatiions to create all sorts of concoctions such as magic potions, petal infused perfumes, cakes, stews and much more.
 

WHAT DO YOU NEED?
You need a small, preferably sheltered space in your garden or back yard. The homemade mud kitchens that are created from old pallets, sinks, basins, buckets and scrap materials are often best and enable parents and carers to design and create a space with their children. This is all part of the fun. Saucepans, tools and utensils in the mud kitchen are simply a collection of low cost items that are often sourced from charity shops and old items from the kitchen.


TAKING CARE
Make sure that all items used in the setting up and resourcing of a mud kitchen are safe for use. There should be no sharp edges, splinters or rough surfaces that can be harmful to children. Purchased topsoil is best and you can keep it clean and free from pets by covering it with a lightweight cover such as a tent ground sheet.  It is also useful to keep a basin of soapy water close by so that children can wash their hands when they are finished playing.  To avoid attracting vermin, avoid putting food items in this space. Just use natual resources such as mud, sand, water, stones, foliage and flowers from the garden.
 

SOME LEARNING THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE MUD KITCHEN 
Language: Imagination, coversation, new language
Maths: Capacity, full, empty, half full, overflowing, heavy, light, heavier than, lighter than, more, less, too much, too little, how many, one to one correspondence, shape
Science: Properties of different materials, change in materials, investigating cause and effect, playing with and naming different utensils, (metal, wood, runner, paper, card and plastic)
Creativity: Imagination, transforming materials
Physical: Pincer grip, hand muscle development, deep sensory development throughlifting and moving heavier items in and out of the kitchen
Social & Emotional Development: Playing together, being absorbed in imaginative and scientific play, developing precision and persistence 
 

WHAT IS THE ADULT ROLE?
Just be there and listen to the children. Support new vocabulary emerging from using new tools and making discoveries. Provide additional materials that will extend thinking and learning. Just be natural and play with the children.

So now as we move forward towards summer and hopefully children are outside more, get going and create your own mud kitchen!  ENJOY!

To get a step-by-step guide in creating your own fabulous mud kitchen visit Mud Kitchen

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