Inexpensive DIY Mud Kitchen
If your kids love to play in the mud, you won’t want to miss this easy step-by-step on how to create your very own inexpensive DIY mud kitchen.
Dirt and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. Amiright?
I don’t know what it is about dirt and mud, but kids can’t seem to stay away from it – especially MY kids.
My kids both love playing in the dirt and the mud, and fortunately for them, I firmly believe in letting kids play in the mud and dirt. I, however, do not appreciate the mud that always seems to end up on the back deck, patio, back door, playset, etc.
Again, I’m a big believer in letting kids get dirty outside, but the mud that was ending up ALL. OVER. everything was driving me insane.
Then, one day last summer, I took my daughter over to my cousin’s house to play with her daughter. The girls were playing in the backyard, and my cousin and I were sitting on her back deck, when I noticed something in her yard. After asking about it, she told me it was a DIY mud kitchen – a specific place designated for her daughter to play in the mud.
Why didn’t I think of that?!
Come to find out, these DIY mud kitchens are all over Pinterest, and I’m quite surprised I had never seen the idea before.
We didn’t get around to putting one together last summer, but I was determined to make it happen this season. And lucky for us, we were able to build the entire thing from scrap wood that we had laying around, and the only money I spent was a few dollars for some bowls and pans!
It wasn’t difficult to put together, and we just kind of made it up based on what we had. So, feel free to use my exact plans, or just simply use this as a guide to create your own.
Also – it’s the first of the month, which means I am teaming up with a fabulous group of bloggers to bring you all sorts of outdoor inspiration. Be sure to check out their posts at the end of this one!
Inexpensive DIY Mud Kitchen
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- 2 – 36″ x 18″ plywood
- 1 – 2 x 4 (or 2 – 2 x 2) – 28″
- 1 – 2 x 4 (or 2 – 2 x 2) – 48″
- 4 – 1 x 4 – 36″
- 4 – 1 x 4 – 16.5″
- 5 – 1 x 4 (or pallet wood) – 34″
- Tape Measure
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw
- Jig Saw
- 2″ exterior screws
- Power Drill
- Wall Hooks
Step 1 – Cut Wood to Size
First, we used the miter saw to cut our 1 x 4s down to size in order to make two aprons for the frame.
Step 2 – Create Two Identical Aprons
Next, we created two identical aprons to use as framework for the top and bottom of the mud kitchen.
We used the 36″ 1 x 4s as the long sides, and the 16.5″ 1 x 4s as the short sides.
We drew a line .75″ from the edges of the longer pieces, which was where we needed to put the screws. Then, using 2″ exterior screws, we put two screws at all four corners.
Step 3 – Rip 2 x 4s in Half
I wanted to use 2 x 2s for the four posts of this piece, but we didn’t have any on hand. We did, however, have some 2 x 4s laying around. So, we ripped them in half using the table saw.
If you’re purchasing wood for this project, you can just buy 2 x 2s and save yourself from having to do this step. 🙂
Step 4 – Finish Building Frame
Then, we added the four 2 x 2s to the inside corners of the aprons.
We started with the bottom apron, as that was the easiest.
Then, we turned the frame upside down and set it inside the other apron on our workbench.
This helped keep it steady and level while we secured it all with screws.
Step 5 – Cut Plywood to Size
This entire project was essentially built around the size of the plywood we had on hand. We had a smaller piece that was approximately 36″ x 18″, and then a slightly larger piece. So, we cut the larger piece down to the same size.
Then, we had to notch the corners with the jig saw, in order to fit the plywood inside the vertical posts.
The top piece (the work surface) only needed two corners cut, because the other two corners were going to rest on top of the shorter posts. And the bottom piece (a shelf) needed all four corners cut.
Step 6 – Add Plywood to Frame
Next, we added the plywood pieces to our frame starting with the bottom piece.
Once again, we drew a line .75″ from the edges of the plywood so we would know exactly where to put the screws.
We weren’t too worried about the spacing of the screws, just as long as they didn’t hit one another at the corners.
Step 7 – Add Backing Slats
We used pallet wood for the upper slats – 5 boards at 34″ each. To allow for the most workspace for the kids, we drilled the slats onto the back of the taller posts.
We used a couple of tiny scraps of wood to allow for just a bit of space between the boards. This was simply an aesthetic choice and not for any specific purpose.
Step 8 – Cut Hole for “Sink”
For the “sink,” I had picked up a disposable bowl, which had a nice rim on it, at our grocery store for a couple of dollars. I dabbed some of the kids washable paint around the rim of the bowl, then pressed the bowl upside down on top of the work surface. This showed us exactly where to cut the hole, which we did with a jig saw.
Step 9 – Add Hardware
Then, we added a few hooks to the back where the kids could hang shovels and tools.
Step 10 – Add “Kitchenware”
Finally, we loaded it up with bowls, tins, shovels, water cans, etc. You can use whatever you have on hand that looks fun!
Our kids were given instructions that the mud is to stay AT the mud kitchen from now on and NOT on the deck/patio/back door/etc.
And I am happy to say – so far so good.
Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx myself…
Don’t forget to save this to Pinterest for later, and follow me there for more inspiration!
Be sure to check out all the other outdoor posts!
DIY Garden Sphere with Video from Chas’ Crazy Creations
Upcycled Mailbox – A Storage Cubby for our Vegetable Garden from Grandma’s House DIY
How to Build a Garden Obelisk from Life at Bella Terra
DIY Garden Bench Makeover from The House on Silverado
Outdoor Herb Garden in a Chest of Drawers from Darling and Dapper Life
Amy, I love this…such a great creative space for your children. I, too, let my children play in the dirt and get dirty. We were actually restoring our home during their childhood so our construction site was their playground. It’s so important for a healthy upbringing to get dirty, have all the space and permission to just PLAY. Thanks for sharing and happy to be hopping with you!
I so agree with getting dirty and being allowed to just play. That’s what childhood is supposed to be. 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words. 🙂
How cute is that, and I’m sure it’ll get lots of love this summer! My kids would have loved it, that’s for sure. Great tutorial, and thank you so much for sharing.
Thanks, Chas! It has certainly gotten a lot of love already. The kids are having a great time with it!
Oh I can just imagine how much fun your kids will have with this kitchen this summer! What a great idea! Mother-of-the-Year for you! I love seeing kids outside doing “kid things”.
Niky @ The House on Silverado
Aw, thanks, Niky! The kids love playing outside, and this has definitely been a big hit with them. They get to play in the mud, and my deck stays clean. Win-win!
Such a great idea! Sheer genius to give the kids a place dedicated to playing in the mud. Maybe this will keep my 2 and 4 year old from just digging holes in the grass 😬🤦🏼♀️. I can’t wait to make one of these, definitely pinning for later!
Yes! And I understand completely. We have holes all over our yard, and NOT from the local wildlife… This has been a big hit with the kids, and has definitely cut down on the amount of mud being slung around the yard. 🙂