Mud pies and rock cakes, petals and potions, sand cookies and claydough, leaf mash and sprinkles……………so much collecting, measuring, pouring, mixing, chopping, mashing, dividing, baking and decorating goes on here! So much incidental natural learning unfolds as children explore the freedom to direct their own learning with independence and confidence. Creativity is fully engaged, fuelled by imagination, fresh air and nature.
An outdoor/mud kitchen is such a simple and wonderful addition to every play space. It should include a broad range of materials for open-ended exploration, providing a diverse range of qualities to investigate that connects the child to the natural world and environment around them. Rich sensory experiences nurture curiosity and imagination.
A Mud kitchen play space does not need to be elaborate, a small table or bench to work on, a little cupboard or crates on their side, a bucket of water with scoops or jug are a great place to start. Keep your eye out at opp shops/ebay or hard garbage for small cabinets that you could adapt to serve as a little kitchen plus a mix of kitchen tools including mixing spoons and bowls of various sizes, spice jars, funnels, sieve, rolling pin, mortar and pestle, chopping boards and safe blunt or wooden knife, pouring bottles and jars, cake pans, trays and muffin tins, woks…..the list goes on! Small brooms and dustpan also for some clean up tools and all part of the play. Waterproof aprons and gumboots are a great addition during colder months.
Playing in nature is filled with natural learning outcomes as children immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of working with natural elements. They are free to imagine, hypothesize, test, challenge and explore through their play. Yes, it will be messy but this style of learning builds strong foundations for later years and should not be underestimated.
Explore – Potion preparation