Why You Should Consider A Mud Kitchen As The Next Great Toy For Your Kids

Why You Should Consider A Mud Kitchen As The Next Great Toy For Your Kids

Have you heard of a mud kitchen? They’re incredibly fun, messy, beneficial pieces of equipment that can be placed in a domestic or educational setting. Read on to learn more about them and their many benefits for children: 

What Is A Mud Kitchen? 

At a basic level a  mud kitchens for kids is any kind of outdoor furniture/ apparatus arrangement created for children to pretend they are cooking. They can be used by any age, but mostly they are used by toddlers and preschoolers.  

Usually, a mud kitchen will include a basic setup of mud kitchen tables, mud kitchen washing stations, mud kitchen worktops and perhaps vertical walls in which to hang accessories from. The kind of accessories you would expect to see tend to be things like pots, pans, utensils, buckets and bowls. 

Some people also like to decorate with growing and living herbs and plants which children can enjoy the smell and texture of, as well as ‘cooking’ with them too. Some people like to fully kit out their mud kitchen with play cookers, cupboards and washing machines too, to further add to the different possibilities offered by the space. 

Lastly, and vitally, the kitchen is also supplied with a healthy amount of – yes you’ve guessed it – mud. So, lots of safe and thoroughly checked soil, sand and water. The water could be supplied in a bucket filled inside the main house/ facility kitchen and given to the children, or it can be supplied via an outdoor tap. 

Outdoor tap access nearby can be handy to rinse down the mud kitchen every now and again just to create a blank slate for play. For the same reason, it can help to place the mud kitchen on garden slabs, but in an area you don’t mind getting messy and that has good drainage as well. 

Why Are Mud Kitchens Good For Kids? 

We know mud kitchens are loads of fun for kids to play in, but did you know they also offer a range of additional benefits, including: 

Time In Nature

The benefits of children spending time in nature are vast and studies have now shown that children’s overall well-being does increase when they have spent time in nature. One study showed that after spending time in nature:

  • Nearly 80% felt more confident in themselves, felt their experience would boost their work at school, felt they had better relationships with classmates and their teachers
  • Over 80% felt more capable of doing new things when they tried
  • Nearly all felt they learned something new about the natural world around them

It’s undeniably fantastic for kids to spend time outdoors and mud kitchens for kids naturally encourage that to happen because they are used outdoors. 


Children around the age of 3-4 need about 180 minutes of physical activity across the day which should be varied and include at least an hour of vigorous exercise. Being active in a mud kitchen can easily add to the exercise of a child of this age and may also help reduce the child becoming one of the 14.4% who are obese by the age of 4 or 5. 

Children younger or older than this age-group will also inevitably benefit from playing in a mud kitchen because it encourages them to move and play just like they would with toys indoors. 

Imaginative Play & Creativity

A mud kitchen for children can be anything. It can be them starring as a TV chef from a daytime TV show. They could be you making breakfast, or they could be an alien creating planets – such is the beautiful imagination and creativity of a child. Having a space to explore that imagination in, with no restrictions with mess, no limitations; and lots of inspiration from a layout they recognise is invaluable to children. 

Physical Skills

Young children are able to grip utensils, mix mud, grab and squeeze different textures; lift buckets and bowls and pat and squeeze products on countertops when playing in a mud kitchen. This helps with their hand to eye coordination and to help develop hand and wrist strength. 

 Teamwork/ Social Skills

Children will commonly role play in the mud kitchen, pretending to be mummy; daddy or chef, and they will continue playing that role with other children they are playing with; – or of course their parent or nursery staff depending on where the kitchen is. These roles are a vital part of a child’s social awareness and development, depending on their emotional understanding and awareness. These imagination games also lead to turn-taking and sharing; which is also echoed in the non-imaginative use of the kitchen too. 

Communication Skills

When children use a mud kitchen they learn how to build on their ability to express themselves; often speaking about what they are doing and describing what is happening. They may share their thoughts on the way different textures feel; or they may learn to speak more to match the imaginative game they are playing. 

Playing with a parent or other children in the mud kitchen also encourages a better vocabulary and practicing of speaking and communicating in and out of different roles. 


Children grow confidence in all areas when they are allowed to explore their competence and abilities. Whether it is through making friends in the mud kitchen, creating something they are proud of; or simply playing around others – children have a focus in which to grow and develop their confidence further. A common interest and something which spurs their natural imagination. 


When it comes to using a mud kitchen in a nursery or primary school setting; children can get a basic grasp of mathematical concepts if teachers utilise the setting. Using measuring jugs for water, weighing out pebbles using scales etc. It’s very basic but it’s mirroring that basic awareness of concepts children get when ‘baking cakes’ at home; only in an immersive outdoor environment instead. 

An Understanding Of The World Around Them

Children who can play in natural surroundings can get to know all the elements of the world they live in. Little bugs and flies, plants, earth, water – it’s a great way to start to understand the different elements of the ecosystem. Even better, this natural exposure to the natural world and different plants and animals gives the perfect chance for parents and teachers to encourage further thinking and exploration. What is that? How does that feel? What is it doing? 

“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality; and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” – D.W. Winnicott (Pediatrician)

There are many incredible benefits on offer for children when you choose a mud kitchen for your outdoor space. 

If you’re interested in placing a mud kitchen in your back garden; or in an educational outdoor area, consider investing in a high-quality selection of products designed to last; like those on offer from Sovereign Early Years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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