Nature Kitchens and Mud Kitchens

Using natural materials indoors enhances creativity in the kitchen corner. Bringing kitchen materials outdoors enhances cooperative play and creativity outdoors.

NATURE KITCHEN: Bring the outdoors in!

The beauty of using natural items in the dramatic play kitchen is that they are open-ended and the materials can become anything.  Acorns can become beans, meatballs, or a bowl of grapes.  But store-bought plastic grapes are limited to being plastic grapes.  

Gather materials from nature and add them to your play kitchen.  

Possible items:

pinecones      rocks     twigs     leaves     tree cookies      acorns       seed pods      pebbles      sea shells .... and so on! 

 This link will bring you to a video of a teacher who brought the outdoors in by adding natural objects to the kitchen corner.  Notice the open-ended play opportunities and the inclusion of literacy by adding cookbooks.  Don't forget menus as well as writing tools for marking down special orders and grocery lists.  


MUD KITCHEN: Bring the indoors out!

While you're at it, have you considered bringing some dishes, pots, pans, and utensils outside?  Many teachers are finding that the addition of these materials outside sparks more creative and cooperative play among the children. 

Wooden bowls, spoons, metal dishes, and baskets can be found at garage sales or second-hand stores and are usually very inexpensive.  Store the items in an old milk crate and leave it outside or keep them in a closed Rubbermaid bin next to your classroom door.  This makes it accessible to you or the lunch monitor to bring out at certain times and enhance your snow kitchen or mud kitchen.