Mucking about in the Mud Kitchen
The mud kitchen in our hall garden is one of our most popular areas of play and mud kitchen equipment is a regular part of our set up for our woodland bases.
So what is a mud kitchen?
A mud kitchen is an area of provision which allows children to engage in imaginative and creative play. Our provision generally includes:
a source of water and mud,
pots, pans, jugs, cups and bowls of various shapes and sizes
spoons, forks and other utensils
instruments for measuring and sorting
tins, trays and various other containers
something to write with and on
Our garden mud kitchen also contains a sink, surfaces and storage, a microwave and "hob" space.
And what are the benefits of a mud kitchen?
Imaginative Role Play Mud kitchens allow children the opportunity to be immersed in self directed imaginative play, in which they can rehearse what they have learned and observe, making real life connections. There are rich opportunities for language development.
Mathematical understanding While immersed in play, children will naturally fill, empty, weigh and measure, allowing the adults playing alongside them to introduce and develop mathematical language. Children put mathematical concepts into practice through the their play naturally and are skilled Early Years Educations pick up on these "teachable moments" to develop the children's knowledge and understanding.
Healthy Minds and Bodies Self directed learning and play helps to build children's confidence in their own abilities, independence and resilience. When children are able to follow their own interests and express themselves more freely, there are huge benefits to their mental health. Playing in a mud kitchen also has physical benefits too. Playing in mud and exposure to the bacteria within it strengthens the immune system.
Fine motor skills Using utensils, mixing items and measuring and pouring mud helps develop communication between the small muscles in the hands and fingers and the brain. This development of finger strength and fine motor skills are essential in child development and the building blocks for object manipulation and later, for writing.
Sensory awareness Mud kitchens allow children space to explore different textures and smells, temperatures and consistencies. “The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge….the number of different objects in the world is infinite, while the qualities they possess are limited. Everything depends on being able to see and on taking an interest.” -Dr Maria Montessori
Connection to nature At Wildlings, development of an appreciation of our natural environment is paramount to us. We know how important it is that children develop an emotional connection with the world around them in order to be custodians and protectors in the future.
💚 The Wildlings love the mud kitchen!💚
And we LOVE giving them the opportunity to…
💫 Exercise their curiosity and imagination as they play
🗣Engage in role play, sharing and turn taking while developing their language skills.
🍂 Foster a connection with nature.
📝 Develop literacy skills through reading and writing recipes, shopping lists and menus.
🔢 Explore Mathematical concepts such as full, empty, subitising (looking at a group objects and recognising how many there are without counting), recognising numbers, and counting with one to one. correspondence.
💪 Strengthen their muscles & develop their fine motor skills as they pour, scoop, cut, squish, and tap.
🧠 Engage, focus, and concentrate on an activity and develop their independence.