I love messy, sensory play for kids. The summer can be really long with the kids. My friend Fareena, asked me to help build a mud kitchen for her kids. Well, I took over this project because I was so excited to build this outdoor play kitchen! A mud kitchen provides the perfect outdoor play space that allows kids to explore their creativity, develop fine motor skills, and connect with nature—all while having a blast! In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to build a mud kitchen that will become the heart of your little one’s imaginative adventures.
If you’re little one would prefer water play, I also have a tutorial on how to make a simple DIY water table with PVC Pipes.
You can use leftover scraps of wood, but Fareena intends to leave this outside all seasons (including in the winter snow!). I used pressure treated wood so this outdoor play kitchen could withstand the weather. The overall size of my mud kitchen is 48” long, 22” counter height, 40” high with the backsplash”, and 20” deep
Materials for a DIY Mud Kitchen
- 2×4 pressure treated lumber
- 1×6 pressure treated lumber
- 3” outdoor decking screws
- 2 ½” outdoor decking screws
- exterior paint
- Exterior Stain
- Small L brackets
Step 1- Constructing the Base of the Mud Kitchen
Begin by assembling the main structure of the mud kitchen. I build the rectangular table frame first by fastening the wood together with 3” outdoor screws. Use 2 screws on every joint to ensure that the base is stable and securely fastened together. Use a speed square so that all the corners are square.
Step 2 – Add legs to the frame
I added legs to the inside of the table frame. Adding them to the inside provides extra stability to the structure. I screwed them in from both the from and the side. It’s easier to install this with the structure upside down
Step 3 – Adding the Countertop
Attach the wooden boards to the top of the base structure to create the countertop. This will serve as the main work surface for your little chef’s mud kitchen adventures.
Step 4 – Add an oven door
I took a scrap 2×4 and secured it to 3 pieces of scrap 1×6. I added an outdoor handle. I used outdoor brackets and attached it to the frame of the Mud Kitchen
Step 5 – Add a bottom shelf
I added a simple shelf on the bottom so that the kids can store their mud kitchen accessories like pots and pans. First, I added the side supports, then screwed on the long pieces of wood for the shelf.
Step 6 – Create the Sink
Trace an outline of the sink (we used mixing bowls). Then trace inside that line. I traced a smaller circle because I didn’t want to risk the hole being too big and the bowl falling through.Use a drill to make a hole inside the circle. Then insert your jigsaw in that hole and cut along the inside, smaller circle.
Once the cutout was done, I realized my countertop was no longer secure. I added 2 cross sections on the underside of the counter.
Step 7 – Create the backsplash of the DIY Mud Kitchen
Using 2x4s and the 1x6s I create a simple backsplash. I screwed the 1x6s to the 2x4s with the smaller outdoor screws. Then screw this to the main frame of the outdoor mud kitchen using 3″ screws.
Step 8 – Incorporating Storage
Attach hooks and shelves to the sides and back of the mud kitchen. These will provide handy storage for the pots, pans, and utensils your child will use during play.
Step 9 – Complete the mud kitchen by painting it!
I sanded all the edges with p220 grit sand paper, and then painted using exterior paint. I also stained the parts I wanted to leave natural wood to give it color and an extra layer of protection
Reveal of my DIY Mud Kitchen
There’s something enchanting about watching children immerse themselves in the wonders of messy play. I would much rather the kids play and get messy then spend hours on screens (which is relatively clean in comparison!)Once your mud kitchen is complete, encourage your child to unleash their creativity. They can mix mud, create “culinary” delights, and serve imaginary dishes to their friends or stuffed animals.
When selecting the perfect spot for your mud kitchen, look for a flat area in your backyard or garden that provides enough space for the kitchen setup and ample room for your child to play comfortably. A bonus is shade coverage by trees so they can play any time of the day! There should also be dirt so kids can create their own mud pies!
Embrace the sensory aspect of messy play. Encourage your child to explore different textures by adding leaves, sand, or pebbles to the mud kitchen.
Building a mud kitchen is more than just a DIY project; it’s a gateway to a world of wonder and imagination for your child. As they engage in messy play, they’ll develop essential skills, strengthen their bond with nature, and create cherished memories. So, roll up your sleeves, get creative, and embark on this delightful journey of building a mud kitchen—an outdoor space that will inspire joy, laughter, and countless hours of imaginative play. Happy mud kitchen building!