Our MUD KITCHEN might just be my favorite kids' project yet! I've been dreaming of building one for L since late last Summer and this Spring we went for it! Collecting things and building it was definitely fun for me...I love scouring antique shops and junk stores with an idea in mind. And now L has a blast playing in her MUD KITCHEN nearly every day! She's always loved digging in her dirt pit, so we set the mud kitchen up right beside it.
-old pots and pans, muffin pan, mixing bowls, old tea set
-cooking utensils and/or garden tools
The best places to find things for your MUD KITCHEN are yard sales, flea markets, antique and junk stores. If you find a water-proof set of shelves or little bench, that would work great! We ended up making ours out of some lumber and cinder blocks. L helped sand and paint the wood, I painted two lil burners on the top pieces, and we finished it off with a few coats of polyurethane. I love that L was able to make it her own!
We found this perfect mirror to attach to the kitchen for only $15 at a local antique store. I wanted a mirror for a bit of a "kitchen window" effect, plus it makes our tiny yard look a bit bigger! It was the only one I could find that had a wooden backing to it...most others were particle board or cardboard. Our mud kitchen is up against our house, a little bit protected by the weather, but when it pours rain the kitchen still gets wet. Make sure everything on your kitchen is more-or-less waterproof.
Along with the burners I painted on top of the mud kitchen, we also attached two lil knobs (to turn the stove and oven on, of course)! You can find knobs really cheap at your local Habitat for Humanity or at your local hardware store. Since ours were attached to solid wood, I just glued them on with some superglue. So far it's worked great!
On the side of our mud kitchen, we attached two cute lil hooks. Again, we found them at a local antique/junk store for $1. They couldn't be more perfect! L hangs her lil dish rags on there and when she's all done playing with her kitchen each day, I have her clean it up. She brushes the dirt off with a dry rag, follows up with a wet rag, and she puts all her pots and pans away.
Like many activities like this, my biggest tip to you would be to withhold some of the kitchen supplies, giving your kids a lil more day by day. On the first day I gave L her pot, pan, and mixing bowls. On the second day, we added an empty milk carton, egg carton and vanilla bottle. After that, we threw in a muffin pan and some old silicon muffin cups. I have an old child's tea set I'm saving for a special day as well. Keep things interesting and mix it up!
Sparkle bottles would be a fun addition to your mud kitchen too! Not to mention, making some potions out there as well. (Tell me I'm not the only one who mixed up "magic potions" with water, dirt, wild onions and herbs as a kid!)
How much would your child LOVE a mud kitchen??? Mmm...mmm...mud pies, mud spaghetti, dirt scrambled eggs, mud muffins...