Since joining Pinterest and reading lots of ideas for EYFS on Facebook, I knew I was lacking something in my life… It’s only now that I know what it is! A MUD KITCHEN!!
There are so many things we want and need to do as teachers, but during term time we are either usually too busy or damn right shattered. I had decided that this Easter holidays was going to be the time that I would devote to designing and building our mud kitchen. Well, when I say I, what I actually mean is my lovely hubbby! I would be providing the tea and cake, whilst being very good at telling him what should go where!!
I had done lots of research, and knew the type of kitchen we’d like, and had even found a couple of pictures. To which Mr EYFSmatters would reply “HHmmmm I’m not sure it’s going to look exactly like that!”
So “we” (the royal we obviously”) set to with a pile of pallets I had managed to secure from a local garden centre, and a pile of nails and screws
My original idea was to use an old metal sink, but then changed my mind and decided to go for washing up bowls. This way they won’t rust, can be replaced easily and cheaply, and most importantly can be given a good old wash with some soapy bubbles at the end of the session!
After a little while, a few swear words here and there our lovely kitchen begins to take shape.
Luckily we had chosen the most beautiful day weather wise, I am not sure how popular I would have been had it been tipping it down with rain! Once the two structures were in place, we then had the tricky task of transporting them to school- and fixing them securely and safely into their new home.
Luckily we don’t live too far from school, so we were there in a jiffy. My colleague and I had decided the perfect spot for the Mud Kitchen would be to go next to our digging area. This area is immensely popular, and seemed like the perfect marriage. We then also moved around a few pots and planters so to create a herb garden, where the children can grown and tend to herbs that they will be able to use within the Mud Kitchen.
We only live a short distance from school so we were there in a jiffy, and within minutes our shiny new mud kitchen was sitting rightfully in it’s new home.
We also made the decision to move around of some pots and planters, and create a herb garden, where next week the children can begin grow and tend to their own herbs. On introduction of the new Mud Kitchen we will talk to the children about the herb garden, this will provide a great opportunity to talk about growing and harvesting. During this introduction we will also explain how hand washing in essential after playing in the mud, and will set high expectations of this being a routine the children will follow.We will also encourage the children to leave the kitchen in good condition for the next group of chefs and be shown how to replenish the loose parts and “wash” the dishes in a bowl of water—an activity that is almost as fun as the cooking.
Why Mud Play?
Mud play provides so many opportunities for learning! Mud is the perfect stimulus for exploring and experimenting. The delicious gooey mud can be anything the children want it to be… yummy dinner, tea with two sugars, a birthday cake, a bowl of soup, lotions and make-up, ice cream with chocolate sauce, magical drinks and potions, spells and perfumes. This work is filled with emotional, personal and social value, and offers the context for learning a wonderful range of new and interesting vocabulary and verbal language exchange and expression.
*Some of the values that mud kitchens provide for children include:
Creative expression and invention (mud can become anything!)
- Problem solving opportunities (e.g. how to make soup thin or thick, how to make mud meatballs stick together)
- Cooperative play possibilities (e.g. let’s cook dinner, let’s have a restaurant, let’s feed the baby—you be the baby)
- Stress reduction (being outdoors in nature helps children relax)
- Building stronger immune systems (research indicates that some exposure to dirt helps build resistance to bad bacteria)
- Growing affection for the stuff on our earth—soil, stones, sand, and growing plants (leading to care for our planet)
abcdoes explains in his publication on “mud play” how the children are going to be exploring and consolidating a range of skills like:
Our children will not only have the enhancement of the herbs from the herb garden, which they will have grown themselves, but will also have access to different natural resources like pebbles, gravel, bark, wood
chips, seeds, pine cones, shells, glass beads, wood slices, sticks, moss. We could also add other textures and additions such as washing up liquid, scented shampoo, paint and even a bit of glitter.
I am expecting the Mud Kitchen to ‘evolve’ as the children play in it, and will go with their imaginations and ideas. I am sure they will come up with far greater ideas than I could ever possibly imagine!
I plan to create a “Mud kitchen-Mud Play” case study once the kitchen has been introduced. I will endeavourer to film week 1 and then week 3/4 and observe, comment, look at similarities and differences and how the play has developed within this time. Please do pop back to read this if you’d like to!
For now, all it remains for me to do, is root out my old clothes to wear to school, I have a feeling I may get a little splattered!
* Taken from Community Play things