If you have a toddler or preschooler, you are probably familiar with the fact that they love to get dirty.
My 2 year old and 4 year old are always asking to do projects that involved making a mess so when my husband proposed the idea of a mud kitchen for them outdoors I was definitely on board.
What is a mud kitchen?
It’s basically a place for young kids to take all of those messy activities and move them outdoors which if you’re like me and you want your kids to spend as much time outdoors as possible, then it’s a no brainer.
The mud kitchen we ended up with looks amazing and was actually really simple to build.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a mud kitchen:
- Wood (we used two 2×4’s and four 1×6’s) – $9
- Pallets – two half pallets or one full pallet that you can cut in half (can often find for free)
- Wood Screws
- 10 Pavers (you may have a few extra around your yard or purchase for around $3 each)
- Sink (price varies greatly — you can use bins or try a Habitat ReStore for a cheap option)
- Drain strainer – $4
- Flowers (a fun finishing touch — you could also have your kids plant seeds)
First, we built the side table which just involved creating a table top by cutting two of the 1x6x8 boards in half leaving four equal length boards and we used scrap book from a fence repair for the cross sections and then used the 2×4’s as legs.
Next we made the longer table which was a little more complicated because you have to account for the sink. Again, we used the 1×6 boards to make the table top and measured around the sink to leave a drop-in hole for it. You may want two separate holes if you’re using bins. If you’re using an actual sink it should come with brackets and screws to attach it to the wood.
Next we attached the half pallets to each side of the main sink table with wood screws. And then added a bottom to the top section of the pallet so that we could plant some flowers in them. We decided that if we ever need to re-plant something, we’d have the kids plant seeds so they can watch the different stages of seeds to seedlings to plants.
We chose to leave the side table detached from the main sink table so that we could move it around to different areas of the yard or even move it to use as a kitchen island to keep the mud kitchen layout evolving.
The final touches included using some wood screws (hooks would probably be prettier) in the sides of the pallets for hanging the kids tools and kitchen utensils on.
We then laid out the pavers to make a floor and added a water-loving plant under the sink to absorb a lot of the drippings.
Finally, the fun part! A wagon full of sand and dirt that made for some amazing mud pies — and mud muffins and mud salads and mud coffee — the play was endless. Mission accomplished! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was to put together and for a very low cost as well.
We just spent one Saturday working on it and it has been such a crowd pleaser with our kids.
I’m thrilled to have another activity outside to keep them playing and using their imaginations this summer!
About the Writer
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor and writer for Modernize.com with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.