5 Steps to Reframe Mud Kitchen Overwhelm
Are you thinking about adding a Mud Kitchen to your Outdoor Classroom and overwhelmed with all the additional potential logistical issues? Does just thinking about managing a classroom of children in a Mud Kitchen give you the “oh no” reaction? Do you think about all the wet clothes and dirty hands form Mud Play that you will have to clean? What about the outdoor space itself? Do you worry how a Mud Kitchen will impact the rest of your playground? Dreading the spills from tracking and transporting dirt and water? Yes, all this is enough to deter any teacher from incorporating a Mud Kitchen into their outdoor space. Today we are going to talk about how to rethink and reframe Mud Kitchen overwhelm?
“In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood
Fact: Getting dirty benefits the heart, skin and immune system. Step 1: Change your attitude towards Mud Kitchen play. Understand and learn that dirt benefits child development. Therefore, keeping children away from the mud actually hurts their development.
Fact: Children are 100% washable and just need a towel to dry. Step 2: Children are not going to get hurt playing in the Mud. They WILL get dirty; therefore, it’s our job is to find creative ways to wash them up.
- Create an area outdoors where kids can wash their hands before coming indoors
- Establish a “stomping out the mud” area for kids before they enter the school/house
- Have handy wipes in an outdoor backpack for quick, easy cleanup
Fact: The Mud will wash off, but the memories will last a lifetime. Step 3: Know that you are creating a space for lasting memories. Think back to your childhood memories of playing in the Mud. Think about the messages you are sending your children and what you would like their memories to be.
- Depending on the day…offer small amounts of water or large amounts of water to make Mud
- Join International Mud Day
- Take video and pictures to document Mud Kitchen memories
Fact: “What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out why we are here.” Anne Lamont Step 4: Let Go! Follow the child. Sometimes we need to look at life from a child’s eyes. Create a space where children can try out new skills.
- Provide old pots and pans
- Add a rain barrel
- Add a table
- Hang spoons, spatulas, and measuring cups
Fact: There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Step 5: Prepare, Plan, and Play. Be prepared for all types of weather. Plan ahead and add additional clothing items to your program. Play and have fun!
- Rain boots or bare feet
- Umbrellas for puddle jumping
- Raincoats (depending on the weather)
- Bathing suits (weather permitting)
- Old large men’s shirts
- Change of clothing
Want to learn more? Join us in my More than Mud Pies: Making a Mud Kitchen e-Course. This e-Course is fabulous and can be taken from the comforts of your own home. I walk you through the steps for creating a one-of-a-kind Mud Kitchen. Come join the fun!
Gratitude: Pictures in this post are compliments of Helen Meissner, from Finger Prints to Master Pieces.