Mother and Baby

10 of the best mud kitchens for kids

Section: Play
Mud kitchen

We all love our children to play outside and enjoy being in the garden, don’t we? We’re always aiming to get them away from screen time, into the fresh air and getting to know nature and the great outdoors.

We also know the great benefits of messy play – hence why we’ve probably all signed our babies up for a messy playgroup, or covered our kitchens in flour, paint, and multi-coloured spaghetti.

But what about a mud kitchen? Getting muddy in the garden and role-playing is one of the best pastimes for our children.

What is a mud kitchen?

A mud kitchen, is, well, a kitchen full of mud. But, instead of it being YOUR kitchen, it’s a small outdoor children’s kitchen specifically designed for muddy, messy fun for your child. Cooking up muddy meals in pots, pans and bowls (you can use old ones you don’t use any more, or buy special toy ones) is great fun for your child.

The benefits of role-play make-believe

Role-playing helps boost your child’s development, by playing out the things they see you do all day. Your child is learning as they play, pretending to cook dinner and wash up; and doing all of this in mud just makes it all the more fun. Role-play games help grow your child’s imagination and confidence – and, keep them happy, too.

What to look for when choosing a mud kitchen

There are loads of wonderful mud kitchens available to buy and there are a few things to consider before you invest:

  • Price – you can spend a LOT on a mud kitchen, but work out your budget first and think of how much time and enjoyment your child will get out of it. If your little one hasn’t shown much interest in getting their hands dirty in the garden, then maybe start off small to make sure they’ll really enjoy it.
  • Space – how much room do you have in your garden for a mud kitchen? Measure out space before you buy, and choose somewhere it will fit.
  • Materials – what is the mud kitchen made from? Most are made from wood but check whether the product says it is weatherproof – this is important if it’s going to be sitting in the garden forever.
  • Accessories – does the mud kitchen come equipped? Do you want a chalkboard built-in, or other features? Find out exactly what you’re getting for your money before you press ‘BUY’.

Which mud kitchen should I buy?

Without further ado, check out our favourite mud kitchens you can buy today:

If you want a basic mud kitchen, this is an affordable choice. It’s made from a timber frame with a removable plastic tray, with a shelf and hob for pots and pans. You could also use this as a water play tray, too. There’s a shelf underneath to store pots and toys, and it comes with a starter kit of pans and a whisk. Self assembly is required, and some reviewers say it’s tricky to assemble, and that the plastic tray may need additional reinforcement to keep it in place.

  • Size: 67 x 35 x 58 cm
  • Made from: Wood and plastic
  • Accessories: Pots & whisk included
  • No personalisation available

Review: "My 5yr & 2yr old love this, making potions & lotions from the garden. The sink on occasion drops down but that’s due to my boys not quite lining it up. The pans that come with it are great!"

Mud Kitchens calls itself ‘The Original Mud Kitchen Company’ and their mud kitchens are beautifully hand-made; they’re available in a huge range of colours, and you can personalise with up to 22 characters on the front to make it truly unique for your child. They’re made from pressure-treated timber and fully weatherproofed. This is the smaller version – larger and more elaborate mud kitchens are also available.

  • Size: width 70cm, work surface height 52cm, depth 50cm,
  • Made from: Wood
  • 25 colours available
  • Personalisation available

Upgrade to a large mud kitchen if you have several children, or want to accommodate lots of friends during muddy playdates. This version includes two sink bowls, a hob, an oven to ‘bake’ those mud cakes, moveable knobs, a chalkboard and a shelf. Again there is a wide range of colours to choose from, and you can personalise with your little ones’ names too.

  • Size: width 119cm, work surface height 52cm, depth 50cm, back shelf height 92cm
  • Made from: Wood
  • 25 colours available
  • Personalisation available

An extravagant mud kitchen, with all sorts of features included. There’s a hob, a plastic removable sink, a refillable water butt with tap to help mix up that mud good and proper, shelves, a chalk board, hob rings, and comes with pans and a whisk included too. There’s plenty of space for your little one plus siblings or friends to get involved in the mud-making. Again this needs self-assembly, which reviewers say can take quite a while as there are so many parts involved.

  • Size: 96 x 40 x 96 cm
  • Made from: Wood and plastic
  • Accessories: Pots & whisk included
  • No personalisation available

Review: "So we bought this for our 4 year old granddaughter - she was very excited with it and seems to love it - however putting it together definitely requires two people and an electric drill .... some of the screws were into virgin wood. At first the smell in the house was overpowering from the wood treatment, but other reviewers had said this disappears when outside. I am sure the recent rain will have helped that - but it is a good product I would expect to last for years!"

We like this one as it has an oven built in – so your little one can make mud cupcakes and pop them in the oven to ‘cook’. There are two sink bowls for mixing up batches of mud, plus a hob area, and hooks from which to hang utensils – eight utensils are included. It is recommended to cover up this mud kitchen when it’s not in use, to protect it from rain and bright sunlight (a cover isn’t included, though). Self-assembly required.

  • Size: 105 x 93.5 x 52.5cm
  • Made from: Wood with metal
  • Accessories: 8 utensils included
  • No personalisation available

Review: "Great price, nice size, two sinks is a must for multi child families. Easy to assemble but suggest some treatment or painting is required for outside use in order to protect the (untreated) wood. Easily and affordably done with some varnish or Danish oil!"

This one looks like a little house, so will ignite even more of your little one’s imagination as they set up home with this mud kitchen. There’s a hob, sink, drawer and oven to get covered in mud, plus hooks for utensils and a shelf too. It’s made from pressure-treated Canadian Red Wood so should stand up to all weathers (and the pitched roof should help, too – plus it’ll encourage little ones to keep playing in the rain).

  • Size: 120 x 120 x 45cm
  • Worktop height: 50cm
  • Made from: Wood with plastic sink bowl
  • No personalisation available (although contact the seller to enquire)

Review: "Beautifully crafted marvel!! I received my monks bench yesterday and I cannot tell you how beautiful it looks. Perfect dimensions as described, its expertly crafted and painted, it's so elegant. Completely functional as well with the contrast seat that lifts up for storage and the hooks are a beautiful nickel style adding to the glamour. Just wow, thank you so much!"

This isn’t a mud kitchen by itself, but attaches to a playhouse or other structure or wall to create a mud-kitchen add-on. A great idea if you already have a play area set up in your garden, or if you don’t have a lot of space to use. It includes a removeable water bowl, a refillable water butt with working tap, plus pans and a whisk. Self assembly is required.

  • Size: 81 x 56 x 36cm
  • Made from: Wood with plastic
  • No personalisation available
  • Attaches to a playhouse or wall 

Review: "Bought this for my 22 month old granddaughter, she absolutely loves it. It sits on the wall lovely taking up hardly any space, great product."

Featuring a working tap, reusable chalkboard, oven cabinet and storage shelf, this wooden mud kitchen ticks a lot of boxes at a lower price than many. Self-assembly required, and it doesn’t come with any pots or pans included.

  • Size: 91.8 x 42.5 x 91 cm
  • Made from: Timber, wood and plastic
  • No personalisation available
  • No accessories included

Review: "I bought this the other day and my kids are loving it.The working tap is a great feature. The product itself is very sturdy and has all the pieces numbered and the screws individually labelled which make life's so much easier. Takes a bit to put it all today but I was able to do it by myself. Would recommend."

A beautifully made wooden kitchen that features a steel sink, hob, a window box for growing little plants, and a clear painting screen for getting creative with finger paints. There are also paintbrush holders and lots of shelves for all your kitchen equipment, and wind chimes!

  • Size: 160 x 70 x 115cm
  • Made from: Wood with stainless steel bowl
  • No personalisation available
  • 5-year warranty against failure due to rot

Made of natural wood which has been treated to make it resistant to the varying British weather, this two-in-one toy is part play kitchen, part activity centre. There's space for your youngster to 'cook' or pot plants on one side and draw and paint on the other. There's even a beautifully illustrated weather station on the side for budding meteorologists. 

  • Size: 101H x 60W x 40D
  • Made from: Wood
  • No personalisation available

Review: "Easy to put together and a lot of thought went into the design, a nice size and neat."

Mud kitchen accessories

There's everything your little cook could need for their mud kitchen in this 17 piece set including a chef hat and apron, 5  pots and pans and 5 cooking utensils.

Review: "The set is comprehensive containing everything the junior cook could need. Not only does this product look good, it is great value for money. It's light and so easy for small hands to manipulate and my granddaughter plays with some part of it nearly every day."

Personalise then hang this sweet plaque above your child's mud kitchen. Made from high grade PVC, it's 5mm thick and will last for years to come. 

Review: "This went fantastic with the wee ones mid kitchen she got for her birthday and she could read her name and made it personalised."

 

If your mud kitchen of choice doesn't come with a fitted tap or water butter, why not use a water container like this one as a substitute? It holds 25 litres of water and can also be used for other garden tasks or for camping when not in use by your little chef.

If you fancy having a go at making a mud kitchen yourself, this easy-to-follow guide is one for you. Forgoing complex design, this mud kitchen guide includes where to get supplies, whether by making, finding, or buying them plus outdoor play and its value to child development.

Review: "Gorgeous book. Some great ideas and gave me the final push to get started with our mud kitchen with limited resources. Now I'm always on the lookout for new editions to it!"

What are the benefits of muddy play?

Research has shown what we’ve known since we were children – that playing in the mud can make you happy. Science website LiveScience.com reported on a study by the University of Bristol, which showed that ‘exposure to friendly soil bacteria could improve your mood by boosting the immune system just as effectively as antidepressant drugs’. There’s also further evidence that microscopic bacteria in mud can increase the levels of serotonin in our brains – the chemical that helps us to relax.

So, those mud pies are proven to increase our happiness and relaxation levels – what more reason do we need to invest in a mud kitchen.

Playing with mud also creates an instant connection to nature – something we all want to encourage our children to do. Make mud pies, mud cakes decorated with sticks and leaves, create a whole dinner party for your friends with mud pasta covered in flowers collected from around the garden.

Popular articles to read next

 
  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

Other contributors

Emily Thorpe - Digital Writer

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