Friday, September 11, 2015

Our Own Mud Pie Kitchen (Get Dirty part 2!)

After our amazing morning exploring the Play Trail at Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington I decided we needed our own mud pie kitchen in our back yard. A trip to Target produced three of these plastic cube crates- two for the kitchen structure and one for the table. A black sharpie let us draw burners on the top of one crate to get the sense of a stove. We stocked the kitchen with supplies from the Dollar Tree- cooking spoons, pans, measuring spoons, a scrub brush, and mixing bowls and then we supplemented with other supplies we found in our own house that were begging to be re-purposed. In a very short time for not much money we suddenly had our own mud pie kitchen.

Acorn cupcakes with yellow leaf sprinkles
All of a sudden my girls went from not wanting to walk in the grass with their shoes off to exclaiming in delight when they found nature treasures- acorns, pine needles, yellow leaves- hidden in the grass. Nature become an opportunity for imagination and exploration as opposed to an irritation to be dealt with while getting to their other toys. They were spontaneously engaging in fine motor tasks I could have spent time and energy creating for them inside. They pulled pine needles off branches to use as sprinkles, shredded leaves, pulled apart moss, and used an ice cream scoop to transfer acorns from one bowl to another.

Filling cupcake tins

We've lived in our house since November and until now I never felt like we were using our backyard. We'd occasionally use it for activities, but my girls never embraced the fact they were outside. Now they are exploring parts of the yard they hadn't gone to before and are looking at every leaf as a potential pretend ingredient. This is what I wanted from a yard when we moved out to the suburbs but it's taken me this long to find it.

I put the kitchen on top of an old sandbox we don't use anymore.

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