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Old 06-29-2013, 12:02 PM
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Leanna Leanna is offline
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Default Mud Kitchen - logistics

I want to add a mud kitchen to my backyard. I have a large, handmade play kitchen that a family friend made years ago that I plan on re-purposing. It it wooden and big and the kiddos loved it when it was in our dramatic play area so I know they will love it outdoors. I have a few dilemmas about how and where to set it up though.

My first thought was to put the kitchen underneath my deck. The kids always seem to want to be under there. I let them draw on the cement all under there with chalk but really it is just weedy and muddy under there. The downside is that it is away from everything else in the yard.
So I thought maybe put it behind the large tree in the corner of the yard. They love this little spot of privacy. But there is no protection from rain back there (unlike the semi-protected area under the deck) and I am afraid the wooden kitchen would rot quickly.
What do you think?

Also, what kids of accessories do you have in your mud kitchens? Where did you get them? Do you have other natural materials stocked there? How do you incorporate water (my outdoor tap for the hose is inside the garage so it is not possible for the kids to get there independently)...ideas?
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:37 PM
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Yay! I love a good mud kitchen. My kids could play there all day long--toddlers on up to the 9-year-olds.

Here are pictures of mine. It's changed a bit since then, but that's the gist. It's well stocked with lots of real metal kitchen tools: pots, pans, spoons, coffee pot, jello molds, colanders, sieves, muffin tins, pizza pans, etc. And lots of shovels for digging up the dirt. This collection looks a lot like ours. Everything came from tag sales--often from the free piles at the end of the day--or from thrift stores or friends'/family's kitchens.

I'd go for under the deck, I think, since they like to go there anyway and it would give the kitchen some protection.

Since it'll be near your house, what about a rain barrel for water? If you mount it up on something, the tap could be right at kid-sink level for them.

My goal for this summer is to rig up a cast-iron hand pump somehow on top of a bin for water access, something like this.

Right now, they gather rainwater from wherever they can find it. Or I set a big bin of water on the table for their use.

And yes, I'd add other natural elements. Stumps for stools and tables. Collections: pinecones, shells, acorns; whatever you find in your rambles.

Have fun!!
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:32 PM
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I loooove you pan tree! If I ever figure out how to post pics I will post some pics of the finished product!
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:08 PM
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I really want to add a mud kitchen but I am worried about the pots and pans with standing water....our backyard can collect mosquitoes pretty bad with any standing water and thats why we got rid of a few other things. also not really excited about the kids digging up the yard in search of dirt. We have a sand box but they would empty that pretty quick if I allow them too. I guess I could bring in a load of dirt so there is another option besides digging a hole. Our backyard is not fancy but its nice and I dont want it to look like 500 kids were turned loose back there. more logistics of a mud kitchen that I would love to hear about.....
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:19 PM
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Just how messy do the kids get with the mud kitchen? Do you have to bathe them/change clothes? I would need to have a container of dirt as most of our back yard is lawn & shrubs & I'd like to keep it that way

I love the idea of them exploring nature - but I don't want to be bathing/changing multiple kids every day. I find there is already some mess with the play sand getting tracked in everywhere.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:18 PM
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My kids get pretty messy on a daily basis (between outdoor play, art, and sensory play) so I am used to changing them at least once. Maybe you could offer waterproof smocks???

I am also worried about standing water. I am trying to figure out how to incorporate water in a clean, safe way too.

Maybe you could offer a big pot of potting soil to start them off?
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post
I really want to add a mud kitchen but I am worried about the pots and pans with standing water....our backyard can collect mosquitoes pretty bad with any standing water and thats why we got rid of a few other things. also not really excited about the kids digging up the yard in search of dirt. We have a sand box but they would empty that pretty quick if I allow them too. I guess I could bring in a load of dirt so there is another option besides digging a hole. Our backyard is not fancy but its nice and I dont want it to look like 500 kids were turned loose back there. more logistics of a mud kitchen that I would love to hear about.....
Standing water is why I like the pots hanging up on our "pot tree" (old Christmas tree with the branches cut short for hanging hooks). They don't fill with water that way. They could also be stored upside-down. We have a clean-up time at the end of each outside time, and return everything to its spot. If water does collect somehow anyway, we end up using it in play the next day, so there's not really time for hatching.

I have strict digging rules--you may dig in the mud kitchen, but not in the rest of my yard. There's a line of stumps as the diving line.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaBearCanada View Post
Just how messy do the kids get with the mud kitchen? Do you have to bathe them/change clothes? I would need to have a container of dirt as most of our back yard is lawn & shrubs & I'd like to keep it that way

I love the idea of them exploring nature - but I don't want to be bathing/changing multiple kids every day. I find there is already some mess with the play sand getting tracked in everywhere.
Most of what we do is actually dirt play, more than mud play, so we don't get drenched daily. Dirty, yes. We wash hands and hose off or wipe with washcloths when arms and legs get particularly dirty, but I don't usually change their clothes. If it's really wet, we're in rain gear or bathing suits usually. Parents know to expect that we get really dirty here.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:17 AM
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I like the idea of a mud kitchen, but not the mess. I just have a large sand box. I purchased a bunch of kitchen utensils at the Dollar Tree. They have some funnels, scoops, colanders, etc. They have fun and it's pretty contained.

I would think that a water jug with the push button spout would work well for a water supply. Atleast it wouldn't be open, standing water...
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