Thrifting for the Mud Pie Kitchen

This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still.  — Joseph Conrad

Did you know that yesterday was International Mud Day? One of my fondest childhood memories is pretending to feed my friend Alexandra’s cat the ooey gooey mud pies we made in her garden, and my hope is to instill my own child with a similar joy for mucking around and being comfortable in nature…and mud, even!

I wrote about our new Mud Pie Kitchen two weeks ago, and since it’s still a popular place to hang out I thought we could move into phase two of our kitchen remodel. This, of course, involved an educational trip to the Goodwill for some new tools and appliances and N was eager to go.

My two little kids and I scooted quickly past the fragile knick knacks and dishes (phew!), and made our way to the metal and wood aisle. N picked out everything you see in the basket while I acted as her guide, making suggestions and occasionally vetoing her choices (she really wanted that pizza wheel up there, which was smartly taped off). The biggest score was a pink and blue plastic toy called the Fluff Factory, which you can see buried in her basket. It was reminiscent of a meat grinder, and I couldn’t wait to find out what its original purpose was. It turns out that it’s used to fill teddy bears with fluff. How awesome is that? N had no idea of its purpose, but she saw potential in it and I love that even more!

When we got home there was the requisite costume change into the tutu bathing suit (for her, not me) before unveiling the new pots and pans. And while these new goods were for our MUD pie kitchen, it was all water play without a speck of mud in sight. N loved her new coffee pot (just $3!), kid-sized REAL frying pan, and of course, the Fluff Factory. To accomodate our expanding collection of dishes and such, we added some more counter space, which helped tremendously.

She spent the rest of the afternoon pouring water and dropping flower petals into the little factory and turning the crank to push the water through. Problem solving at its finest. Oh, and maybe next time we’ll actually play with mud!

More Lessons Learned on Building a Mud Pie Kitchen

  • Shop for materials at a second hand store. You never know what you will find, which can help you (and children) see the potential in surprising objects.
  • Involve children in the design of the kitchen. Purchasing her own kitchen supplies raised N’s eagerness to use them. She talked about playing with her new pots all the way home and couldn’t get into her bathing suit fast enough.
  • Include interactive Tools that can work like appliances

There are so many good ideas for exploring and playing in mud…just take a look at these other posts for inspiration!

Happy Mud Day!

This post was shared with It’s Playtime

Comments

  1. says

    I have big plans to visit our local thrift store. It will not happen until I can get my brain away from a cute little glass tea set (wouldn’t that be just AWESOME for a mud pie kitchen.) My common sense is screaming no and until I am sure that I will listen to it…the kitchen will stay as is (which is pretty darn good anyway).

    • rachelle says

      Jill — Um, yes, a glass tea set would be the perfect addition to a mud kitchen :) My New Year’s resolution has been to purge and it almost pained me to walk through the doors. Funny thing is that N spotted a chair that we donated to the Goodwill about a month ago and was so excited to see it again :) Me, not so much!

  2. says

    What a Great idea to go to the thrift store for some new tools for your mud kitchen. Sometimes I’m afraid we have too much x-tra junk that we can just go to our basement and find some interesting finds too! We will definitely have to take a trip to find more surprises. I love the Fluff Factory! C would definitely choose that sort of thing and play with it for days on end! She will play with the oddest pieces of toys and not touch some of our more expensive ones! Pouring water is always a favorite here! We have a toy pizza cutter which is great for play dough!

    • rachelle says

      We have a 2′ crawl space under our house, so there are no fun finds down there. And I understand the phenomena of playing with random toys — everything is game in the world of children.

  3. Chelsea says

    First of all, Audrey BEGGED me for that swimsuit just last week and I turned her down (she has 4 suits already and I have to stop somewhere). Second, going to Goodwill for real pots and pans is just what we need to do — the kids love to dig and play in the dirt when they’re out there with the sprinkler on, and chatter endlessly to each other about the mud pie they are making. In their hands. How sad! :) We have two hand-me-down plastic houses in our yard with counters, so that may suffice for a kitchen. I think we have a plan for next week’s activities. Thanks!

    • rachelle says

      Ha! The swimsuit was a gift from grandma — she knows how valuable tutus are in our house (we have 7 at last count!). We have a play house too, but for some reason N hasn’t thought of cooking in there in quite some time. I hope you found lots of goodies at the Goodwill, Chelsea!

  4. Kanda says

    What a great idea Rachelle! We will be paying a visit to our local Goodwill soon!
    I haven’t visited your blog in quite a while and am so excited to return to find such genius inspiration for outdoor play. I’d like to consider myself a smart person, but I must admit that i would have never thought of that, but I know JD (and soon K too) would love to start stocking up with their very own (real!) kitchenware!
    Love the pictures of N! I’ll be back for more, more often for sure!

    • rachelle says

      Thanks for the nice note, Kanda! I consider myself a smart person too, but I was also inspired by my friends in blog-land to create the mud pie kitchen. I bet that JD and K would love this.

  5. says

    I’ve read this post a couple of times, and each time it looks like more fun. I love finding treasures at the thrift stores. And I don’t stress too much about what the kids do with the items, since I didn’t invest much in them.

    But…I personally may pass on the cooking in a pink tutu. She looks adorable but I don’t think I would be the same! :)

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