We always keep our eyes peeled for fun and creative play ideas, especially ones that promote play every single day of the year. Being that it’s almost Spring when we’re all chomping at the bit to play outside, we have an activity that will encourage little ones to get their hands dirty.
The best idea we found this week? Setting up a Mud Kitchen! Blog mommy Abbie Kuhn of GREENING SAM AND AVERY offers up a solution to get your kids out there making and imagining as they whip up the best dirt soufflé this side of Texas. It all starts with the right set of equipment: from metal pans to old juice jugs, anything that can still hold dirt is ideal. Throw in a few stirring utensils and old pots and you’re good to go. Abbie even suggests cutting or drilling “holes in any containers that you intend to use for storage so that water can drain out.”
If you’re looking for how to design and construct an actual outdoor play kitchen, you can 1. Go the elaborate way: Shane Conlan posted an instructional VIDEO on YouTube showing his use of reclaimed pallet wood – 2. Or the simpler but just as fantastic way: LEARN WITH PLAY AT HOME’s Deborah Alter-Rasche describes how she created her self-proclaimed quickest and easiest mud kitchen. Don’t have everything you need lying about? No worries! Deborah encourages you to “ask friends or family if they have any old kitchen supplies they don't use any more. You never know what people have lying around.” Wise words.
For pictures (because we all LOVE pictures) of how others built their own mud kitchens and what they used to fill them with, check out BuzzFeed’s 10 CREATIVE DIY MUD KITCHEN IDEAS. If anything, you’ll be inspired on how to design and create your own. Bring on the chalkboard paint!
Believe it or not, setting up a mud kitchen is more than just a good reason to get your kids playing outside. One of the great side effects of this activity is that GROWING RESEARCH SAYS dirt really does have "happy germs" in it that can boost endorphins in the human brain. We dig this idea (sorry, couldn't help it). Apparently the good bacteria (yes good!) in soil also benefits and strengthens the body’s immune system. We’re not saying to eat the dirt, but some contact with it is actually a good thing!
If you hear the words “Waiter, There’s Dirt in My Soup!”… In the case of playing outdoors with a mud kitchen, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.