Our Mud Kitchen

Date: 20th Apr 2015 @ 7:31pm

We are always busy, thinking of ways to enhance our outdoor provision at St Matthews. We have used a lot of recycled items found at home and in charity shops. We added a Mud Kitchen area which has a water butt, wooden ‘stove’, sand, teapots, jugs, sieves, pebbles, sticks and a big tub of sticky, sandy water! Oh, and of course some aprons for the mud pie chefs!

What is a Mud Kitchen?

Mixing soil, water and a range of other natural materials in early childhood has deep importance and endless possibilities for well-being, development and learning. A mud kitchen includes elements of the home corner and cooking from indoor play, which are then hugely enriched through the special nature of being outside.

To allow the children the freedom to play, explore and learn it is really important that children are encouraged to feel the textures of the materials with their fingers, transfer liquids from one container to another to, splash, slop, stir and to create sticky mud and explore its adaptations.

The children will also explore and consolidate a range of other skills like:

Ladling, squashing, collecting, decanting, estimating, filling, grinding, crushing, adding, sharing, moulding, squashing, picking, smoothing, measuring, sieving, selecting, sorting, foraging and serving.

Some of the values that mud kitchens provide for children include:

• Creative expression and invention (mud can become anything!)

• Problem solving opportunities (e.g. how to make soup thin or thick, how to make mud meatballs stick together)

• Cooperative play possibilities (e.g. let’s cook dinner, let’s have a restaurant, let’s feed the baby—you be the baby)

• Stress reduction (being outdoors in nature helps children relax)

• Building stronger immune systems (research indicates that some exposure to dirt helps build resistance to bad bacteria)

• Growing affection for the stuff on our earth—soil, stones, sand, and growing plants (leading to care for our planet)

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