Mud Pie Kitchen On Our Balcony!

by Rashmie on May 4, 2012 · 17 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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum May 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

This is great, really shows how you don’t need to have a huge garden to have messy outdoor connecting with nature play :D. I can’t wait to get one set up for J and T but we are in the middle of major garden refurbishment and have the spot picked out for it but not got there yet.
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum’s recent fabulous post..Exploring outdoors – return to the farm

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stacy May 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Oh Rashmie, it is PERFECT! I love it and I’m sure Pari does too. You are so right about the difference between what WE want and what they would be happy with. That same issue keeps me from doing many projects as well. Think I’ll let go of that for awhile and start working on some of our projects! Can’t wait to see more pics
stacy’s recent fabulous post..on gearing up & winding down

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Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree May 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Excellent! We need to get our Mud Bakery up and running from last year!
Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree’s recent fabulous post..Colorful Bird Nest Creation

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michellescharmworld May 5, 2012 at 12:20 am

Fabulous job!!!
michellescharmworld’s recent fabulous post..One Week In Photos…

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Ann May 5, 2012 at 3:18 am

I can almost smell the mud through the computer! What a great idea – love that you have a tap right there. Your mud looks so good – like clay – perfect for forming.

I so VIVIDLY remember making mud-pies as a child (it might be among my earliest memories)!
Ann’s recent fabulous post..All Signs Point to Fun!

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Artchoo May 5, 2012 at 4:42 am

This is such a wonderful idea! I love all the tools and containers to use with the mud. I’ll have to figure out how to set one of these up on our back patio. Did you take a little taste of the delicious mud?
Artchoo’s recent fabulous post..Tea for Tots

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Kirsty@BowerbirdBlue May 5, 2012 at 7:31 am

Thanks for linking up with our mudpie kitchen, they really are sooo much fun. Love your hand print wall and the egg carton and coconut shell cooking utensils.
Kirsty@BowerbirdBlue’s recent fabulous post..Potato Gnocchi

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shalini May 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

yippeee.. you’ve done it again.. did you know International Mud Day is on June 29th?
Read up what the World Forum Foundation has to say :)
http://worldforumfoundation.org/wf/wp/initiatives/nature-action-collaborative-for-children/international-mud-day-2011/

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Param May 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Pari seems to be enjoying her mud pie kitchen. Luckily the tap in your balcony is indeed a big big saviour:) Just a few days back, when I was thinking of buying a kitchen for my doll (she had seen the pics of dora and barbie kitchen and wanted one) I stumbled upon in this website and was floored seeing the cardboard kitchen. Without wasting much time, we got down to making this and within a few hours we had our kitchen ready. My doll was so happy. Check out this link http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/cardboard-kitchen-953500/, I am sure you and pari will love to try this version too.

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Vicky May 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm

This looks like good, messy fun and certainly kept her busy. The cookie cutters added a whole new dimension. Pinning this! Vicky from http://www.messforless.net

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Ritu Dua May 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Hey Rashmi another good idea!I am so very tempted to try my hands on this kind of project again for in the past I have done some paintings with this kind of material!
Ritu Dua’s recent fabulous post..Wake up and LIVE!

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Ali @ At home with Ali May 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I love your mud pie kitchen and all the utensils you have added to it. Our mud kitchen is fairly basic at the moment… I would love some of those coconut shells.
Ali @ At home with Ali’s recent fabulous post..Play-dough: make or buy?

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Radhika January 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hey kudos to you. I have been also sleeping over days with such idea in my mind, have to put it through. Did you get the mud from a nursery as you have mentioned? That’s my concern – where to get the clean mud or sand to play?

Thanks, Radhika

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Rashmie January 26, 2013 at 10:11 am

Hi Radhika,
We actually had that mud-like soil in a few pots (we’d planted some plants earlier). But, that soil was not conducive for the plants as it was more like mud. So, we used it for the mud-pie kitchen. You can get it from a nursery. Or, if you have a gardener (mali) visiting the area where you live, you can request him to get some.

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Radhika January 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

Hey thanks for the reply. Your blog is v inspiring. Keep posting.

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Jennifer May 20, 2013 at 9:31 am

In addition to our weekly Monday Kid Corner, this week’s theme is MUD. Brush off those archives and link them up at thejennyevolution.com. See you there! Jennifer

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google.com December 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I do believe all of the ideas you have presented to your
post. They are very convincing and can definitely
work. Still, the posts are very short for starters.
May just you please extend them a little from next time?
Thanks for the post.
google.com’s recent fabulous post..google.com

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