Getting Dirty In Outdoor Kitchens

Inspired by Jenny over at Let The Children Play, the kids and I set up a dirt kitchen in the backyard.   I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this idea before in my list of backyard dreams!

We looked around to see what we had already that might work for our kitchen, and found an old painted box from my classroom days, as well as the piece of laminate chopped out of our real kitchen to make way for the sink.  Perfect.  We tipped the box over on it’s side and plonked the laminate on top.  And, um, that’s it!  At least for now.

The underneath space created by the box serves both as “oven” and storage.  I’ve put a small washing basket there to store all the containers, bowls and spoons the kids have adopted.  I’d love to hang some hooks on the fence pails to hang tins and utensils too.  It’s a little hard to tell from the photos, but I have been growing the vine on the fence into a roof of sorts for this area.  The vine is a fast grower, and so far it’s trailing nicely over the strings I have stretched between the fence and the trees.  I’m dreaming of a shady space come summer.

The funny thing is that my daughter actually has a gorgeous kitchen in her bedroom:  a little white wooden stove and white wooden kitchen dresser I lovingly restored.  I think the kids have already spent more time out here playing in the dirt, in the “kitchen” that took me 2 minutes to make!

22 thoughts on “Getting Dirty In Outdoor Kitchens

  1. Catherine, this looks so great! Jenny’s posts were inspiring weren’t they. I can imagine that once your vine grows all the way, it’s going to be the best place to be in summer. Lots of yummy meals coming from the mud.
    .-= Busy Brissy Mum´s last blog ..Are You Listening =-.

  2. You’ve almost convinced me to move our now unused indoor play kitchen outside. At least it might get “rediscovered!”

  3. There’s something definitely more “earthy” about outdoor kitchens. In a real kitchen, mess is normal. In plastic indoor or wooden kitchens messey play rarely happens. Perhaps that’s why. I do think Jenny has started a world-wide trend.
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Nature Nurture =-.

  4. Oh Cath it looks wonderful – and thanks for the shout out to my post :) I replied to your comment that I hoped there would be photos and here they are. I should have known there would be photos! I hope the kids have many happy hours cooking with dirt, mud, sand, leaves and whatever else they find lying around.
    .-= jenny´s last blog ..we play- spies =-.

  5. My girls have a plastic kitchen in their cubby house, but the pots and pans are always coming into the yard to find dirt, mud, grass to make yummy things! I know it wouldn’t get used inside anywhere near as much.

  6. Cath I think you’ve taken the words out of so many peoples mouths when you said … I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this idea before in my list of backyard dreams! Mine included! And as for Jenny … she’s a treasure isn’t she!
    Donna :) :)
    .-= Sherry and Donna´s last blog ..- a ‘hobby’ for Joss =-.

  7. I’m with you Catherine. I thought the same thing, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Then, of course, I realized that this is what genius always makes people think. My little outdoor classroom is getting so crowded, I’m not sure where I can put our kitchen, but I’m thinking about one too!
    .-= Teacher Tom´s last blog ..Its Not A Failure- Its A Prototype =-.

  8. We are going to have to try this too! I distinctly remember making all sorts of concoctions as a kid and trying to get our dogs to eat them!!

  9. Great Post! I am a Nature Center Manager who promotes play in nature! LOVE your blog! Join me on Twitter: Play_in_Nature or on Facebook at : Pilcher Park Nature Center or Pilcher Park Little Sprouts Which is our Nature Preschool.

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