I have seen pictures floating around the Pinterest universe of people creating the cutest mud pie kitchens for their kids to play with. Some people use old furniture re-purposed or built them from scratch using old pallets. They added pots, pans, buckets, chalkboards, and tons of other accessories to make them fancier than the kitchen in my first apartment.
Mud pie kitchens, when I was a kid, were a little more simple than that. I remember my grandpa pulling out an old bench from beside his barbeque shed, tying a string around a circle of trees to mark off my kitchen, giving me a few spoons and a few pie tins and telling me to have at it while he tinkered in the shed or the garden. My imagination filled in the rest of the blanks. I spent hours playing out there and the day always ended with him finding a watermelon in the garden for us to split. They are some of my very favorite memories.
This morning we awoke to a beautiful day but mud is aplenty in these parts because of our rainy weekend so inspiration hit. I surprised the littles with a mud pie kitchen to play in all morning.
I started with this old bench that was always part of our deck. I always thought it was built as part of the deck and I never thought about moving it (Yes, in nine years of complaining it was in the way, I never thought to try and move it. It is ridiculously heavy). When we cleaned and stained the deck this spring we found out that it actually wasn't attached. We moved it off the deck and down into its new home in the backyard.
Voila, the perfect mud kitchen...
Enter the buckets (full of dirt, of course), pans, plates, and cups, and a few shovels and we are almost there...
Since mud only has two ingredients: mud and water, we just needed the water.
Add a bucket in the weird planter hole and we have a sink.
The mud pie kitchen was a huge hit. Hours of fun were squeezed out of a few buckets of water and some dirt and the kids were able to get good and filthy.
Clean up was easy. I just hosed down the kids and the bench and we were good to go.
Kids today need to go out and get good and dirty. Build a mud kitchen this summer. I promise it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to entertain kids on these hot summer days.