Mud, glorious mud!
Making a super simple mud kitchen for Possum (aged 2.5 years) and her older cousins has been my dream for quite awhile. My hesitation has never been whether they would enjoy the tactile and messy experience or not, but I wasn’t sure how to set it up so it was simple, temporary and clean up wasn’t going to make me regret what I’d started, especially when it came to cleaning the clothes.
It just so happened that I was recently asked to try Radiant’s new range of laundry products with Colour Guard Technology. It claimed to clean even the toughest of stains and keep clothes looking newer for longer. I’d seen some of the absolutely hilarious videos from their ‘Radiant Return’ campaign on television where they torture tested some store bought clothes and successfully returned them for a refund. It gave me confidence that it was a great laundry product that would clean the mud from the kids muddy clothes.
How to make a simple DIY mud kitchen
Collect various household items
I found some old bits and pieces at the back of the cupboard that I felt confident the kids would love to use for their mud kitchen. Suggested items –
- Cooking trays
- Large spoons
- Plastic sieve
- Pattypan tray
- Measuring cups and
I particularly liked using the above household items, as I knew they would have the children learning through their play experience. Measuring, scooping, pouring and estimating the mud would all become part of the of fun. The items used would also be very easy to clean afterwards!
Building your mud kitchen
We decided to build our mud kitchen on an area that had dirt already exposed. This would make the mud-making process much easier and require virtually no digging. Additionally, I wanted the structure of the mud kitchen to be safe, simple and easy to set up. It also needed to be temporary and easy to take down! We used –
- Empty buckets
There are many fancy mud kitchens bouncing around the Internet, but all our kitchen required were some large empty buckets and a piece of plywood, which acted as the kitchen bench top. It was beyond simple! And because we had more than one child using this mud kitchen, a simple bench seat did the trick to extend the mud kitchen area.
Preparing the surface (aka mud)!
Just add water!!
It wasn’t long before the dirt and water came together and created a wonderfully muddy mess that the kids were absolutely itching to get into. I quickly added the kitchen items they could use in their play experience and left them to it. It really required no instructions, just to have fun!
This mud kitchen really brought the children together and engaged them on a level playing field. It wasn’t long before they were all role-playing and taking it in turns to be a shop keeper or purchaser of special mud cakes and pies. There was lots of talking about measuring, counting and the money required to purchase each of the “delicious” muddy treats.
Of course it wasn’t long before the older children were really getting into the fun of playing with mud. It was really quite hilarious, until I remembered I would be the one washing their clothes! I had to quickly remind myself of this ‘Radiant Return’ campaign video and hope we would be able to clean the muddy clothes as they had.
Let them be kids!
Messy play, especially with mud, can be so hard to embrace. Your mind can start to worry about how the clothes will turn out and what extra clean up will be required once the fun is over. I do believe it’s important to really try and embrace a child’s experience of messy play and allow them the freedom to create some really great memories, which are likely to last a lifetime.
Cleaning up after a mud kitchen
Despite what you might think, the clean up was really very simple as we had used very few materials to actually build the mud kitchen structure in the first place. It was just a case of hosing down the from the ‘table top’ and washing the household items used for making the mud pies in hot soapy water.
Cleaning muddy clothing
As you can imagine, I was a quite nervous about cleaning these mud stained clothes worn by the kids at the mud kitchen. Even once the caked on mud was hosed off, I could see I was about to face a massive laundry challenge. In fact my sister even suggested I cut my losses and use them as rags. They really did seem beyond any kind of repair.
As planned, I decided to try the new Radiant Laundry products and see how it would cope with the exceptionally dirty clothing. Their recent ‘Radiant Returns’ torture tests gave me some confidence, but I really needed to try it out for myself and on the clothing worn by the children. Could this laundry product handle the dirty clothing of kids? What about kids who have been literally rolling in mud?
Washed clean and like brand new!
This photograph was taken 4 days after the mud kitchen took place and at a separate family gathering. The results clearly speak for themselves. The Radiant laundry products, which I used on the muddy clothes, were completely cleaned and looking like new. Just take a look at that white t-shirt!!!! I honestly didn’t think it would even have been the same.
Radiant sure did prove to me that their unique Colour Guard Technology can lift difficult stains while protecting clothes and keeping them looking newer for longer.
Many would choose to avoid the mess created from a mud kitchen. The fact is, it’s possible to achieve a wonderful play experience for children, which is simple and easy to clean up, especially if you’re using the right materials and Radiant laundry products.
Aside from the incredible learning experience achieved from the children’s involvement in a mud kitchen, I know that we have created long lasting memories that will not easily be forgotten. So have confidence to get your kids messy.
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