Mud Kitchens for Early Collaboration
We have recently set up a Mud Kitchen. This came about after careful observations of children in the nursery outdoor garden. These observations and recordings of conversations inform our next steps in the delivery of resources and support of our pupils.
It started small, with children digging in soil in a small area of the garden, playing with a couple of pots and pans outside, and having a picnic. What followed was children engaging with each other, being imaginative and creative. Our Mud Kitchen is not fancy, or expensive, but in fact created from borrowed and gifted pots, pans and utensils. These, along with earth, water and other natural materials provide children with lots of possibilities of a breadth and depth of learning.
We have a number of surfaces for the children to work from, just as in any kitchen, with a range of different sized pots, pans, bowls and containers, spoons, cutlery and utensils. The most important ingredients in a Mud Kitchen include earth, water and other materials like gravel, leaves, sand, sticks, herbs (which provide an amazing sensory experience), flowers, grass, and many, many more natural materials. After all, there are so many to choose from!
We provide the children with buckets of water in plentiful supply, and the outdoor water tray is also nearby. We also use the water tray to extend the Mud Kitchen by adding food colouring to it, or adding other materials like corn flour. Recently, we had some red food colouring with differently shaped pasta.
Why not try to create a Mud Kitchen in your outdoor space? Whether in a family home using your back garden, or a nursery garden, the experiences your children will gain from playing with, and experimenting with a Mud Kitchen will be amazing!
Lorraine Munro is currently a Senior Early Years Practitioner working in a Pre-school/Nursery Class in a school in Scotland. She is also a Promethean Advocate. Previously she has been an ICT staff tutor supporting early years establishments, and primary schools in using ICT to enhance learning and teaching. Lorraine loves using technology to support learning, but ultimately sees Active Learning through play as the key to engaging young people.