The Mud Kitchen--At First

We play in the mud.

Not as much this year as last because we've had some violations of the three parameters I've set for mud play;

1.  Swim suits = mud clothes
2.  Mud play takes place in the back yard at the edge of the patio
3.  Keep the mud out of the wading pools.

I still believe in mud play for healthy child development.

And I've been searching for something the kids and I could build together . . .

A mud kitchen!!!

Ultimately I'd like our kitchen to include cupboards and shelves and all kinds of kid-built stuff, but we started with the sinks and counter.

I found an old, old, old piece of plywood in the garage that was long enough for half a dozen (or more) kids to work comfortably together.

It was a family project just getting the board out of the garage because it was wedged in from floor to ceiling!

I have few pictures of that first day because I had no one to man the camera while I helped kids.

We sanded the board as smooth as possible.

We traced the outline of the dishpans ( $.97 each) onto the board.

We drew a new line 3/8" inside the outline, and we drilled access holes in each corner.  I let the kids help drill.

Then we set to work with a small handsaw.

Only it turned out to be a drywall saw.

But I didn't know that, and the kids didn't know that, and it didn't keep us from sawing away all day . .

which is what I really wanted . . .

a project that would allow us to WORK together.

The next morning I had to be away, and I left them in Sir Walter Scott's hands.  He found his jigsaw and cut all of the sinks in 10 minutes.  Then he routed the edges to smooth them out.

I almost cried.

But it turned out that he let the kids do the work with him.

And they were alive with light at using Daddy's special tools and doing a really good job.

They showed me their finished work--how the dishpans fit into the cutouts with precision.  The little boys just glowed as they told me about all of Daddy's tools.

And I realized that even though they didn't work the way I envisioned, they worked a different way, and they shared a really special time with Daddy.  They were thrilled with their semi-finished product.

Joy.  Work.  Pride in a job well done.

That's good.

The next day I helped them put the legs on . . . and my camera-man was home. :)

About 10 minutes later, they were in their mud clothes and having a grand time.

I failed to capture much of the first day of play . . .

but I imagine there will be a great deal of awesomely muddy days in our future.

And we've got some pallets and loose boards in the garage that will make really, really cool mud kitchen shelves!


  1. I love the way you parent and teach. What supreme learning. Have a wonderful time with mud!
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. What a great project. Kids really do love using real tools and making real things to be used, instead of only being allowed to versions. And working with daddy is always extra special, especially for boys - at least in my experience.

  3. Mud... just not my thing - but I like it better than sand. LOL. It looks like your kids are loving it though!

  4. How fun and creative! Was this there while I was there?!


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