Learn how to build a budget-friendly mud kitchen for your kids in half day or even a few hours. I will share my personal experience, so you can also learn how to make a mud kitchen using recycled materials.
I will also give some tips and recommend alternative materials since I have made mine from things that I had available.
What Is a Mud Kitchen?
A mud kitchen is a backyard area or outdoor place where children can use their imagination while playing with dirt, water, sand, and other natural materials. Playing in a mud kitchen simulates cooking with real mud and dirt.
It’s an excellent way for kids to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. They can enjoy the dirty mess and have loads of fun while preparing their mud pie creation.
Interested in some other outdoor things for your kids? Don’t hesitate to check them out here: outdoor toys for 1 year olds and above.
Types of Outdoor Mud Kitchens
Outdoor play kitchens can be simple or more complex depending on what you and your children prefer to choose. A basic mud kitchen might just be a table and a few pots and pans.
A more elaborate one might include a sink, stove, and other accessories. No matter what mud kitchen you choose, building your own easy DIY mud kitchen will be somehow the most beautiful as you put your own hand’s work in there.
My husband is a very good handyman, he could have built a supersonic mud kitchen, but for some reason, he wasn’t in the mood to participate in this discussion. I did a quick google research on both store made and DIY mud kitchens. I was looking for low budget options since we already have a play kitchen indoors.
We also have a cute playhouse outdoors, that I wanted to pump up with a not too fancy mud kitchen, where we can get messy and make a few mud pies.
I have highlighted some easy mud kitchen ideas:
Store Bought Mud Kitchen
If you’re short of time or patience, to make your very own mud kitchen, then getting a store-bought one is a great idea. They might also have a built in working sink in them.
They are usually already made to a high standard, so you don’t have to worry about putting them together yourself. Plus, store bought mud kitchens for kids come in different designs and styles so you can choose the right one for your children.
Pallet DIY Mud Kitchen
It’s not too difficult to create a pallet mud kitchen for your kids, there are plenty of mud kitchen plans online. Pallets are easy to customize and they are accessible at hardware stores.
With the pallets, you get more possibilities for your kitchen design. You can add extra shelves and cut a hole for the sink bowl.
There are also a few important notes to be followed. In most cases, you will have to disassemble them and sand down any rough edges before you start building.
You will also have to seal the elements with outdoor paint to withstand the weather.
Retro Mud Kitchen
Back in the day (when I played with mud as a child) there was very little variety of creative DIY ideas for us.
We didn’t take too much into consideration to create or what more, to buy a fancy mud kitchen.
I was happy to get some plastic cups and old pans, and utensils to play with. But that had more precious value than anything else to have a little kitchen space in nature. We put a piece of plywood on a few bricks or logs, and our beautiful kitchen place was done.
It can fit in a nice backyard corner surrounded by painted rocks.
Mud Kitchen From Recycled Materials
DIY Mud Kitchen from Old Furniture
In case you have a piece of old furniture on hand, you can easily turn it into a mud kitchen with a little imagination and some basic carpentry skills. You can use an old dresser, cabinet, or even a table. Just make sure that the piece of furniture is sturdy and safe to use.
DIY Mud Kitchen from Bits and Pieces
With just a simple piece of furniture, like a small table that can be easily moved around, you can make your own mud kitchen in nature. Just find a cozy space for it in the garden and add some bits and pieces. Use a plastic or metal bowl as a sink.
Decorate it with some old mugs and cups, old pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. Add any other kitchen accessories that you think would look fun and your children would like.
DIY Mud Kitchen from Cardboard Box
An old cardboard box can be turned into a fun mud kitchen, but it’s not meant to be a lasting investment. Surely the kids will appreciate the idea and will enjoy their mud play.
Cut an oven door out of the cardboard box. Use a knife or scissors to make the cut, and use black paint for the cooktop burner. Once the box gets wet, it will start to break down and won’t be used for much longer.
What are the Benefits for Kids of Playing in a Mud Kitchen?
In recent years, the importance of children playing in mud has been gaining attention from educators and child development experts. Digging in mud and dirt can be therapeutic and calming for kids, and it’s a great way for them to get active.
DIY outdoor kitchens provide opportunities for children to experiment with different textures, smells, and temperatures. They can use their imagination for creating new dishes and recipes, and mud pie creations.
One of the main benefits of playing in a mud kitchen is that it helps children to promote imaginative play and creativity. Little children love role play, it’s beneficial for their communication skills.
Mud kitchen kids in action
How To Make Your Own DIY Mud Kitchen?
My husband keeps many furniture packaging leftovers in the basement just in case. He normally reuses these things, but this time it was handy for me too.
Most probably you don’t have the same bits and pieces at home, but you will be able to find most of these or even better alternatives in hardware stores, thrift stores, or garage sales.
Since I had to do this project alone and my child was already impatient, I didn’t want to spend too much time on precise measuring and drawing. Here’s the result:
Materials for Kids Outdoor Kitchen
- 1 Plastic Fruit Box
- 1 Laminate Flooring Plank
- 1 Log
- 4 Wood Slices
- Basswood strip (1 or 2)
- 4 Furniture Feet (or round handles)
- Black Nail Polish (or black paint)
- 8 Screws (3-4 cm)
- 6 Hooks (or S hooks)
- 2 Hex Bolts with nuts (approx. 8cm)
Directions For Mud Kitchen DIY
- Prepare the tools and materials that you plan to use.
- Cut the laminate flooring plank with a jigsaw. (cedar fence pickets, plywood pieces, and wood slats will work fine too)
DIY outdoor cooktop
- Place one half on the log and drill 4 holes both in the plank and log, one size smaller than the screws you will use. You can drill a hole in the wood slices too.
- Place the plank on the log and place the wood slices above the holes, then screw everything together.
- Use black paint or black nail polish on the wood slices to get the cooktop burners.
- Grab the furniture feet or handles and screw them on the side of the log to get the cooktop buttons.
Mud Kitchen Worktop
- Prepare the fruit box. Its length will be the height of the kitchen. It will be an ideal height and easy access for kids.
- Cut 2 pieces off from the basswood strip that is at least 4 cm longer than the fruit box’s width (the basswood strip should fit through the holes on the side of the fruit box).
- Drill 3 holes on both wood strip one size smaller than the hook screw (no need for holes in case you will use the S hooks).
- Place the wood strips through the fruit box and add hooks in the holes. There you will hang the cutlery later.
- Place the other half of the laminate flooring on the top of the fruit box standing upright.
- Drill a hole on both ends (a size smaller than the hex bolt).
- Secure the plank to the box with the bolts.
The kitchen didn’t have front legs or back legs to stand on. Stabbing securing pegs in the ground through the basket mash can make the mud kitchen sturdier.
Add some Muddy Kitchen Accessories
Now that you’ve finished your mud kitchen, it is time to add the finishing touches, all the interesting accessories for fun play!
Every mud kitchen needs a few accessories to make cooking a breeze. A muffin tray makes it easy to put together a batch of delicious mud muffins, while a teapot lets you steep your favorite tea leaves.
A whisk and spatula are essential for mixing and stirring the muddy ingredients. A metal bowl can serve as a sink, and utensils, cups, and pots can be used as cooking tools.
Adding these items will help give your mud kitchen a more complete look and feel. Don’t forget the most important thing: the mud! It’s an essential ingredient for any mud kitchen. Encourage your little ones to get creative and have fun with their new mud kitchen.
Let’s play in your DIY Outdoor Mud Kitchen
Here comes the fun part, when your children get to start playing in their mud kitchen.
Collect some ingredients from nature. You can find leaves, sticks, rocks, and other natural objects from around your yard to use in your mud kitchen. Use these ingredients to create something new. Make a mud pie, sandy smoothie, or dirty mud soup!
Mix together some mud, water, and grass, and then shape it into a cake. Use a stick to make patterns in the mud and decorate it with flowers.
Experiment with adding different ingredients to your mud recipes. Water, food coloring, and even spices can be used to create new flavors and textures.
And, of course, children can always just have fun getting muddy!