After you build a mud kitchen, the next project you’ll task yourself with is assembling a mini outdoor kitchen fit for amazing play! We started with just a few items from our kitchen. Rejects that were old and needed replaced, or about to be on their way to the thrift store. So if you’re looking to save money and cut down on waste, go through all your kitchen drawers and cabinets to look for mud kitchen accessories.
Look for anything you haven’t used in a few years, stuff that you forgot existed. That’ll dredge up a few fun play items. This is also a great area to ask family or friends if they have anything they’d like to donate. It’s easy for them and a really “high value” gift for your child, who will probably remember some of the items that came from different people. Keep reading for more mud kitchen accessories ideas!
Mud kitchen accessories & supplies (plus where to find them!):
#1. Your kitchen rejects
When was the last time you took a few random things to the Goodwill? Chances are there are a few pieces in your kitchen that would be great for a mud kitchen. I donated a rusty whisk, a mini silicone spatula that was falling apart, old wooden spoon, and a cute little pot that was from my college days that was so old and bent up it wasn’t conducting heat evenly. Other ideas: potato mashers, graters (older kids!), old measuring cups or spoons.
#2. Cooking Utensils
IKEA has a great 5 piece play kitchen utensil set for $5. At $1 a piece, you’ll probably even have a hard time getting those prices at a thrift store. Includes ladle, spatula flipper, tongs, pasta spoon (spaghetti ladle), and wire whisk. And unlike some other hand me down kitchen items, for some utensils its nice for them to have something their size, especially for toddlers. IKEA
#3. Cookware items – pots and pans
Shop your local thrift store first. IKEA does have a play cookware set for $10 that includes 3 pans and a strainer, but for $10 you should be able to get just as many items and some really unique pieces plus more at a thrift store. Melissa and Doug also has a cookware set, but pretty spendy for what you get.
#4. Strainer or freestanding colander
Stand alone and sieve kind with handles are perfect for outdoor play.
#5. Baking set & mini muffin tin
Gravel muffins anyone? Our mini muffin tin gets a lot of use. This is another to check your local thrift store for. IKEA also has a $12 baking play set, but you can really find more interesting items used! Ice cube trays or molds are also a fun divider tray for kids to play with.
#6. Water source
I use a plastic drink dispenser to allow toddlers to have some sense of control and water flow without giving free rein to the hose. Plus, our sinks are just 2 different size mixing bowls. See more about how we did this on my mud kitchen post. Threshold – Target
#7. Tiny pitcher
A 3oz stainless steal creamer pitcher about 3″ tall is the most popular mud kitchen accessory ever (in this backyard!). And any little friend that comes over is instantly smitten with it. I will probably look for another at some point. Amazon
#8. Watering can & spray bottle
We didn’t originally have this for the play kitchen, but he’s always using it there and filling it up with water. Spray bottles have also been an endless entertainment option outside. IKEA
#10. Plastic bottles from your recycling bin
We found that the 48oz variety that some juices and cold brew come in with the screw top lid and narrow neck, are really fun for pouring, transferring and keeping different colorful potions in for another day.
#11. Food coloring
This is an item we keep in the kitchen and bring out sparingly! I have a natural one (it was from Whole Foods), so it doesn’t dye things as brightly and we haven’t had an issues with staining things using it watered down.
#12. Fine motor hand tool set
Learning Resources has a great four piece set with a pipette/twisty dropper, tong tweezers, scissor grabbers, and melon baller scooper. However, these can get trashed pretty quickly. So our set lives inside and if we’re doing a special project outside like mixing water colors etc then we will bring them out for the day. Learning Resources
#13. Gardening 3 piece set
We have the Target dollar spot ones. Still going strong three years later! He also uses little planters and pots that are empty from my garden stash.
#14. Small buckets
Buckets big or small or anything really with a handle are great for toting water and pouring activities.
#15. Tea pot and cups
This is an item that we don’t have yet. But as he gets a little older, I think he would really enjoy pretend play with a tea set. Schylling
#16. Scale for weights and measuring
A scale for playing with balance and weights and measures is really fun and a learning tool. Another item we don’t have in our mud kitchen, but something older preschoolers would love! For now we use our teeter totter balance ramp for balancing items. Learning Resources
#17. Chalkboard and chalk
#18. Storage bin
This is an accessory for parents. We have one of the smaller black outdoor storage totes from IKEA. We put items in the tote that we know won’t do as well in winter weather. For example, a bamboo cutting board and lots of little pieces. There are still a handful of items out all winter, but it helps to not have a yard full of play kitchen items to clean up or look for in the mud during winter. IKEA
#19. Nature items and…. mud!
Natural items are the easiest mud kitchen play ideas. You have the tools, now add nature! For example, gravel, rocks, leaves, flowers, sticks, herbs, water, dirt, sand, nuts, seeds, berries anything gathered from the yard or on walks. Playing with mud is a great sensory experience. Before parents were all concerned with creating sensory bins and play experiences for their children, we were out making mud pies. A note on mud for mud kitchens. Regular dirt and water make mud pies. You don’t need to buy mud kitchen specific dirt. However, if you live in an area that may have been exposed to lead or other toxins then it could make sense to get your soil tested. I haven’t done this, but I also garden. So I don’t use dirt from right by the side of the house, I often let him play with some of my gardening dirt, and he’s also at an age where he’s not mouthing everything he touches. If it’s a concern for you, use potting soil.
I hope this gives you some ideas for mud kitchen accessories to get cooking up something fantastic in your backyard! Bon Appetite!
What are your favorite mud kitchen accessories?