How to build your own mud kitchen

What could be more fun than playing with mud?! We can’t count how many times we’ve talked about the benefits of mud kitchens. Not only are they super fun but also great for your child’s development. Find out how to build your own in 5 simple steps.

They help them to connect with nature, support their cognitive growth and allow their imagination to flourish. Plus, they encourage children to spend more time playing outdoors which is the best thing about childhood!

Have you ever wondered how to make your very own mud kitchen? It’s easier than you think plus you can use leftover materials and build one at minimal cost. Follow our tips and why not build one for your little explorers?

1) Build your mud kitchen base

You can build it from pretty much anything. We recommend wooden pallets, but you can also use a table, bricks, cardboard or even plywood and a couple of empty buckets. Get your children involved in the building process – we’re sure they’ll love it! It’s also a perfect opportunity for them to learn and develop creative skills. Try to make your mud kitchen as big as you possibly can. If you have enough space, maximise the work surface and build a mud kitchen that can be accessed from both sides so that children can face each other and cooperate.

Our favourite way to DIY a mud kitchen is by using wooden pallets. We love this incredible design by Cassie Fairy.


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A post shared by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy)

1) Carefully dismantle a few brick pallets using a wrecking bar or pallet pry bar. Then remove all the nails from the planks and the supports with a hammer.

2) Decide on the height and width of the kitchen unit and cut pieces of the chunky support wood to create a frame. We went for a height of 2ft. Screw the frame together so that it looks like the image below. Then thoroughly sand down all the wood so that it’s completely smooth with no splinters or sharp edges.

3) Next, use wood adhesive to glue the chunky supporting wood together to form a worktop. Once one piece is glued to the first, add a screw to secure it in place. Then glue on the next piece of wood and screw this to the first two. Repeat until you have the width of ‘worktop’ you need for the kitchen unit.

4) You can trace around a washing-up bowl to create a hole in the work top for a sink. Use a ‘tank cutter’ or hole saw to cut out curved edges at the corners. Once the holes are cut out of the four corners, use jig saw to cut straight lines between them and create an opening for the washing-up bowl.

5) Next, use a planer to smooth the surface and create that classic “butchers’ block” finish. Then sand down thoroughly to remove all splinters and rough edges before waxing with a clear finishing wax (following the instructions on the tin).

6) The shelf at the base of the kitchen unit and the back panel are made from the planks from the pallet. Cut them to size and then use a sander to sand them until they are completely smooth. Next, use a non-toxic child-friendly paint in the colour of your choice to paint the planks before you add them to the unit. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly and then use a hammer to nail the planks into the base of the frame. Using more planks, attach them to two more chunky supports and add longer ‘legs’ at the sides, which can be screwed into the frame. At this stage you can add a top shelf if you like, using another piece of support wood that has been sanded down and waxed.

7) Add some finishing touches to really turn the unit into a play kitchen. Paint some ‘hobs’ onto the worktop surface and ‘buttons’ onto the front using non-toxic acrylic paint. Pop a brightly coloured washing-up bowl into the hole, and position more bowls, jugs and funnels around the unit. Finally, screw in some rubber-coated workshop hooks (away from eye level) and hang up old spatulas, spoons and ladles for the little ones to play with.

2) Add some cookware

If you have no spare or old cookware around the house, a trip to the nearest charity shop is a good idea. Collect a couple of old pans, containers, casseroles, saucepans, whisks, jars, bottles and whatever else you can think of and make your mud kitchen look as authentic as possible. You can even get some small hooks and hang pots and kitchen utensils to make your mud kitchen look even more authentic and fun.

3) …and some ingredients

You will need mud, mud and…more mud! But of course, a mud kitchen is not a real mud kitchen without some fun ingredients to decorate those muddy creations. We like adding flowers, grass, little stones, sticks or feathers to the mixture.

4) Decorate your mud kitchen

We’ve built lots of mud kitchens here at Muddy HQ and we love the process of decorating them and making them look nice. We like using colourful watering cans, little buckets, log seats and paper bunting to add the finishing touch to our mud kitchen.

5) Have fun!

Playing outdoors is SO good for your little explorers. It is healthy, fun and crucial for your children’s social development. Plus, it boosts their self-confidence and there’s something magical about getting all muddy and messy without the fear of getting your clothes dirty. Check out our post with some tips and ideas for mud kitchen play.

And remember – easy to wash, waterproof and fuss-free outerwear is always a great idea. You can wipe it down or pop it in the washing machine as soon as playtime is over.