Welcome to part 3 of the Small Garden Spaces For Kids Series. If you are new to this series you can take a look here to see what it is all about.
Today I am featuring our mud garden which came into being when Cakey ran out into the garden holding her spade and proclaimed "there is nowhere to dig". Chris had done such a good job of creating a thriving garden that there were no bare patches of dirt for her to play in anymore. We decided to build a mud garden.
|Our mud planter box on the first day of use|
When it came to making our mud garden we had two main considerations – space and soil. We don't have a lot of space and the soil in our garden is full of old building debris. With that in mind, we bought a large rectangular planter box and placed it in the far back corner of the garden. We filled it with new, clean soil (we used a mixture of sand, fine coir peat and potting mix). The planter box has good drainage holes at the bottom and is raised off the ground – we knew that the kids would pour a lot of water into the mud garden so drainage is very important.
|Building dams with rocks|
The mud garden gets used for digging and construction, building dams and creating floods, making mud pies and mud soup and loads of fun messy play.
|A mud garden pretend veggie patch – the fence is to keep the bunnies out|
|Experiments in the mud garden: creating a flood|
I try to keep things interesting by adding different elements – cups, bowls, spoons, plastic vegetables, rocks, sticks, toy cars and open piping to use as a river for flood experiments. We have a small table nearby where the kids can set up their mud creations. I don't have a full mud kitchen established which I would love to do.
|Making mud soup – yum!|
If you are interested in establishing a mud garden here are our tips:
- Location, location, location – we positioned our mud garden as far from the house as possible so muddy children don't wander from mud garden to house.
- Access to water is important to make those yummy mud pies and to clean the children off after play too. The flipside of that – good drainage is even more critical. You don't want puddles of stagnant water.
- Having clean soil without chemicals or debris. This might sound a little precious, after all, kids have been digging in the dirt forever but I have a 20 month old who puts everything in her mouth. If you are planning on using your own soil check to see what is in it – you may be surprised at how much old building material is in the soil.
- Having good access for multiple children. Our mud garden is popular with visitors, we can accommodate four kids comfortably around the mud garden – any more and fights start to break out.
- Let the Children Play has lots of posts featuring all sorts of mud play and wonderful mud pie kitchens
- Mud, glorious mud from Happy Hooligans
- Make a Mud Pie Kitchen from Juise
- Mud Pie Kitchen from Growing a Jeweled Rose
- Mud Pie Station from Small Potatoes
- How to Make a Play Garden from Paint on the Ceiling
- Pre-school Play has a number of posts about playing in their wonderful Outdoor Kitchen
- Also have a look at my Outdoor fun Pinterest board
Tomorrow I am featuring a very special part of the garden – a secret kids only play space.