Mud kitchen fun with Ano and Vongai

Mud kitchen fun with Ano and Vongai

Mud kitchen fun with Ano and Vongai

Time for some mud kitchen fun with Ano and Vongai!

Ngati muendesei kunotamba mumadhaka.”

In Shona we have a saying that is similar to the one above. The one above means we should take him/her to play in the mud. Meaning quite literally taking the child to have a roll around in the mud.

The age at which this is done varies of course for each child. But usually by about the age of one a child has had at least one encounter with a muddy patch.

Ano is – as you will see – a great enthusiast of the mud kitchen concept. In our video below, she has a good old rumble around in the mud kitchen as she gets to work whipping us up a treat. Vongai is of course the great sous-chef, on hand to do the important tasks of mixing and tasting. Fun fun fun!

The Process

The process for establishing and playing with your mud kitchen should be as unique and personal to you as you choose.

You can let inspiration and your imagination guide you or you can have a dedicated space complete with tools and ingredients. Our mud kitchen is an evolving thing. Sometimes we put more effort into it than others.

We do have our go-to things to take out with us though:

  • Old pots and pans. These generally live in the garage or the pantry.
  • Real spices in containers. It just adds that extra level of believability in my opinion. But if you would rather you can also use sand and make believe you are sprinkling, pouring etc
  • Old kitchen scales. We use plastic ones because they’re easier to clean and aren’t so prone to rust.
  • Measuring jug
  • Things we collect on our nature walks. This gives an extra talking point during our walks as it encourages the girls to observe the world around them and remember the names of the things they are collecting. So stones, pine cones, leaves, feathers, ferns…. the list is endless. Just make sure to oversee the collection of these things as not all nature’s products are friendly.
  • A surface to work on. Today we are using an old box of baby wipes which doubles up as the stove and the oven.
  • Wooden spoons (mugoti) to stir the meals with.
  • Plates to serve the food in.
  • Water of course. To make mud with.

Once you’ve got those things ready all you need is your mud kitchen crew outside and working.

If you enjoyed this video and would like to watch more cheap or free STEM activities to try out with your little one check out our Youtube playlist now.

We also have more free or cheap STEM activities posts on this page.

The benefits of the mud kitchen

Besides the fact that the mud kitchen is massively enjoyable there are a multitude of reasons that you should endure the laundry mess and encourage this kind of play.

  • Mud kitchens are great practice for real kitchens. With little possibility for having an accident, kids as young as one can begin to explore the processes of preparing a meal, or being in a kitchen.
  • This includes planning and preparation of a meal, measuring out the ingredients, organising the process from start to finish.
  • You can take this opportunity to measure precise amounts for your ‘recipes’. It’s a great way to learn mathematics in a practical way. From number recognition to identifying volume.
  • You can also play fun games like measuring water in lots of 100ml and then guessing how many 100ml lots it would take to fill your saucepan. Simple things like this also help your little one appreciate patterns and encourages them to start looking for patterns elsewhere in the world.
  • Great creative play and even if the kids aren’t cooking they can pretend play at being grown up. By pretending to be one of the grownups kids emotional understanding is heightened.
  • Gross motor skills are called upon while doing things like picking up and holding saucepans and wooden spoons. Fine motor skills are needed for things like opening up the spice racks, cutting up things, picking up smaller items to decorate their “food” This all is invaluable for when they are in school.
  • Mud kitchens offer great sensory experiences, which are brilliant for encouraging your little one’s development. Textures in particular are a big thing for Vongai. She was one year old in this video, and as you can see she had a sensory field day!
  • It’s a great teamwork exercise for both kids and grownups. We like it as a child-led activity, and it’s fun to watch Ano delegating tasks and organising the activities.
  • Fresh air is great! No contest. And because mud kitchens happen outside… fresh air is present.
  • And of course there’s the hidden benefit that mud play strengthens little ones immune systems. The micro-bacteria you find in mud does a fantastic job of challenging and helping their immune systems to grow.

So next time you wonder what to do with the kids at home, try the mud kitchen first. You might just surprise yourself with how much fun you have.

Self-employed mom to 2 wonderful kids Ano and Vongai. Super juggler and general SuperWoman in a maxi dress. My family is my everything.

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