Our outdoor kitchen area has always been a popular place and finds children of all ages gathered around it at any time of the year and in any weather!
I have noticed that these have suddenly become very popular in childcare settings and there seems to be mixed views on them. I can be a tad OCD about the mud thing so I tend to offer different items, the fun and learning is just as fulfilling. I also call mine an outdoor kitchen so as not to give the idea that only mud can be used here. We recently spent some time using a friends outdoor kitchen and this one did include mud! We also added lots of other cool stuff as well.
Shaving foam became cream for topping cakes and mixing in to hot chocolate!
This activity was enjoyed by all the children in both settings. 1 year olds through to 12 year olds! How many toys and activities have an age range that broad?
We added dried pasta, rice and all sorts of dried foods. There were conkers, pine cones, twigs and leaves as well.
Some of the muddy, squelchy, gooey stuff was enjoyed fully with bare feet, so we set up a bowl of warm bubbly water to wash it all off again at the end!
So make it your own! Keep it clean or bring in the mud! Do what you feel happy with but it really is a great resource. Have fun!
Some things to consider though, just from experience.......
- Cordon off an area. Define it in some way to contain the mess to one area.
- Have a bucket of bubbly water and a towel near the house so that children can clean off before coming in and pop a box for muddy shoes by the door.
- Having this on a paved area works well as it is easy to hose down after play.
- Once play is over, give the children a big bowl of soapy water and sponges and ask them to wash up the dishes! This becomes another fabby activity in itself! REMOVE THE MUD FIRST though or you will have an even bigger, muddy mess!
Today's play meets the following Prime and Specific areas for the EYFS.
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional
- Communication and Language
- Expressive Art and Design
- Understanding the world