Mud Pie Kitchen On Our Balcony!

by Rashmie on May 4, 2012 · 18 comments

in Creative Play,Nature Learning

I’m beyond thrilled to introduce to you our mud pie kitchen! Ever since I first saw it on Let the Children Play‘, I’ve been yearning to make one for Pari. I knew she would love it. It has all the elements of play that’s close to her heart (in fact, to any child’s heart!) cooking, getting touchy feel-y in mud and water, making pretend dishes, washing utensils and – well – feeling oh-so-busy!

So, we finally have it – on our balcony!

The amount of delight this has brought to Pari is inexplicable and immeasurable! Really.

This makes me kind of sad and cross with myself that I took so long to set it up. What was I thinking? Is it some rocket science that I needed to decode! (insert rolling eyes!)

But, now that it’s here, I’m giving a pat on my back that I finally got down to doing it without any further engineering.

Yes, this was one project that I’ve slept over for long! I kept thinking I’ll get a wooden kitchen made by the local carpentar (who never has the time!) Or that, I need to get some milk crates to create storage. Or, I must get some really nice soil/dirt from the nursery to get started. And hey, don’t laugh at my ambitiousness – I was even secretly planning to grow a patch of grass on my balcony. Well, it’s still there on my agenda. But then, I’ll go easy. Take baby steps.. ;)

After all, the pictures of mud pie kitchens that I’ve seen all over the mommy and teacher blogs are just so inspiring and good-looking – to say the least. They have a mud puddle, pretend kitchen, washing sink. And, not to mention – a lush green backyard!

All my vision, ambition and creativity is fine. But, I should have known that all the creative details are what WE long to create – for the love of our children. The children will play with as much fervour with just a basic set-up, given that it should trigger their imagination and awe.

Now I know that Pari would have been as thrilled with just some mud, basic tools, containers. It would not have mattered to her that they are in the backyard, on balcony or in the bathroom. Bathroom! Aha – there I go again – I just got an idea! (your turn to “roll your eyes”. Go ahead, do it!)

Okay, I know you want to see the pics now. Here you go…

These are from about 10 days back. Since then, lot more has transpired in our outdoor kitchen. I’ll keep you posted about the tinkering, progress and innovations happening there.

Some of the essential ingredients to make a mud pie kitchen as engaging as possible – besides of-course MUD

  • Source of running water
  • A decent-sized counter that serves as the live kitchen
    • You can set one up using bricks and place a ply board or marble slab to serve as the counter
    • You can use an an old worn-out table
    • I’ve seen some using wooden crates stacked one on top of other
  • Trays, large- and medium-sized spoons, spatulas, rakes, tools to dig etc
  • Cookie cutters, moulds
  • Natural elements to decorate – dry leaves, twigs, dried pods, pinecones
  • Some storage space  – to keep things back where they can find the next time

As you can see, we got going with whatever we had at hand. A terracota pot – placed on that large plastic drun served as another counter besides the old table and the ply-board top.

Some coconut shells that I’d saved for exactly this purpose was the most used tool! (Oh, I use quite a bit of coconut in my cooking!)

As you can see, we started off without a counter. I had her play on the ground  – over an inverted plastic tub as the base. But, after a while, I got the old table out from our store room. To expand the base, I placed a large rectangular piece of plyboard – about 2 inches thick. And, beyond that point – we just kept adding more and more elements!

Those cookie-cutters proved so engaging! She made a bunch of cookies or muffins in different shapes.

That white mould came with our microwave to make idlis (rice pies). But, I never used it much for I prefer the traditional way much more – over a gas stove.

A tray to pretend-bake mud cakes

And here she makes some “chocolate sauce”. I of-course had to pretend-eat or rather - savour!
Egg cartons! Aren’t they so versatile for play!
A tap to clean up right there is a huge saviour!
She’s been playing in her outdoor kitchen for hours every. single. day since then!
And, she’s found so many innovative ways to play.
I’ll share some of those ideas in future posts. In the meantime, I’m also restructring and remodeling the balcony space to accomodate more outdoor play ideas.
Sharing some more inspiration for mud pie kitchens from my fellow mom bloggers. Have a look:

Any more ideas to make out mud pie kitchen even more exciting and engaging? Please share.