Last updated on May 3rd, 2021
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If your young aspiring chef is always with you when you’re cooking, set them up in a kitchen of their own where they can make as much mess as they want. An outdoors mud kitchen lets them role-play as a cook, using their imagination to bake mud pies and other delectable treats while learning the processes of real cooking. An outdoors mud kitchen may contain many of the features of a real kitchen, including a play oven, a working sink, a hob and plenty of preparation space; or it may have the bare minimum of features. With your old pots, pans and kitchen utensils, your child can spend many happy hours by themselves or with others making mud meals they are proud of.
Our review of the Best Mud Kitchens for Kids presents various models all made from wood, with a wide variety of features. Each of those we review requires imagination, though perhaps in different amounts, to use. We list the pros and cons of each model and discuss the features before we give our recommendation. Our Buyer’s Guide is a brief overview of what to look for in the best mud kitchens.
Our Best Pick is the TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen. This affordable stand-alone mud kitchen has the features necessary to create spectacular mud pies. There’s running water from a refillable water butt with a tap, and an oven and four hob rings as the pretend cooking areas.
The TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory is the Runner-up in our review. This is a “lite” version of the Best Pick and is not stand-alone. Attach it to the wall of a playhouse or to an outside fence. Change its position as your child grows to keep the work surface at a comfortable height for them. Or use it as the central piece of your child’s custom mud kitchen.
Best Mud Kitchens Reviews
1. TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen
The TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen is a stand-alone unit that has all the features that an ambitious young chef needs to make the most delectable mud meals and baked delights. Made from Forestry Stewardship Certified European timber, the harvesting of the wood in this unit conforms to ecological standards, contributing to the health of the planet. There’s enough room here for two or three kids to set up their own restaurant kitchen.
The full-featured kitchen has an oven in which to bake mud pies and a space in which to stencil four hobs (stencil included) for sautéing and boiling delicious soups and stews. It’s easy to keep pots, pans and utensils (included) organised on the large shelf under the workbench and the smaller one on the backboard.
The preparation station over the sink slides out when the washing up needs to be done. What makes this mud kitchen such a fun place is the refillable and removable water butt with tap which lets water stream into the removable plastic sink below. Your young cook can draw pictures of the recipe they’re making on the blackboards on the backboard and the oven door. You can also leave words of encouragement there.
Online reviewers of this unit state that you do need to have some DIY skills to assemble this product. It comes as a pile of wood and not all the holes are pre-drilled or marked. Get together a handy friend and an electric screwdriver and set aside a day or two to put this mud kitchen together. These same reviewers report that the effort is worthwhile.
- Wooden unit from FSC certified timber contains all the features along with a slide over board for use as a preparation surface.
- Refillable water butt supplies water through a tap into the plastic removable sink below.
- Oven has two shelf levels and a door to keep everything “cooking” properly.
- Backboard (in part) and the oven door are painted with blackboard paint to write on recipes and reminders to the cook.
- Large hob area (also in blackboard paint) has enough room for four electric rings to be stencilled on.
- Stainless steel pans and a whisk come with your purchase to start the young cook off on their culinary journey.
- Dimensions: 96cm (height); 40cm (depth); and 96cm (width); 134cm (extended)
- Difficult to assemble.
The TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen has all the features that a young cook (or two or three) needs for creating in their own culinary space. With an oven and four-ring hob and with running water, plus the included pot and pans starter-kit, inspired concoctions will soon come out of this mud kitchen.
We’ve made the TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen our Best Pick for Kids mud kitchen. We like its full functionality, its eco-friendly construction and its ability to engage your child’s imagination for years to come.
This is a great mud kitchen if you’re looking for a unit that immediately delivers all the features a young chef needs, yet can be expanded with extra utensils, etc. as the child develops their skills.
2. TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory
The TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory is somewhat similar to our Best Pick with one important difference. It’s designed to attach to the inside of a playhouse or to a fence or some other structure as an add-on. Whether you want to add a kitchen to a purchased playhouse or one you made yourself, or just want to set up a kitchen area along one side of your garden, this mud kitchen provides some of the necessary features.
Think of this kitchen unit as the “apartment” or the “light” model. The other differences from the Best Pick are in the cooking features and preparation surfaces. This model doesn’t have an oven and also has room for only one hob. Your purchase comes with a stencil to paint or chalk the hob on to the appropriate blackboard-paint surface. In addition, the sink isn’t covered by a board that slides off to become a prep area. But there’s still the removable and refillable water butt with a tap, and the slightly smaller backboard doubles as a place to hang utensils and a message board.
Online users of this accessory model have the same issues as those of the full model regarding assembly. It takes longer than expected and you have to drill some or all of the holes yourself. But this accessory unit does give you the opportunity to build a child’s custom mud kitchen to your design around it.
- Wooden frame attaches to the side of a playhouse or to a fence for an add-on feature to an existing structure.
- Water butt with tap streams water into the removable plastic bowl below for making mud or washing up.
- Shelf backboard above the sink is painted in blackboard paint to leave encouragement for the cook as well as to hang the utensils for safe storage.
- Hob area is also in blackboard paint so you can stencil the hob ring (one large one) with the included stencil).
- Started set of stainless steel pans and a whisk come with the purchase so your young chef can start cooking straight away.
- Full assembly is required, by a skilled adult.
- Dimensions are: 56cm (height); 36cm (depth) and 81cm (width);
- No oven or preparation space.
The TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory is a great alternative to our Best Pick, the TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen. With a hob and a working sink (plus the included set of beginner’s pots and pans), this mud kitchen provides a starter kitchen you can attach to a wall, perhaps in a playhouse, or on a fence in a designation “cooking” part of your garden.
The TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory is the Runner-up in our review. We like its ability to be included in an existing play structure, its pared-down functionality and size, and the possibility to build a custom kitchen around it.
If your young chef already has definite ideas about their dream kitchen or has a place in their playhouse designated for a kitchen, the TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory is a great choice as a central focus of that space.
Read next: Best Climbing Frames for Kids
3. Big Game Hunters Triple Mud Kitchen with Working Tap
The Big Game Hunters Triple Mud Kitchen with Working Tap is the model in our review that, with a quick glance, actually look like a real outdoors kitchen. It’s sturdily constructed from fir wood that’s certified to EU standards for children aged 18+ months. This mud kitchen has everything a beginner chef desires, and more. The oven door is even transparent so the young cook can see through to what’s baking in there.
This is the largest dedicated mud kitchen in our review, with plenty of space for a team of three cooks. All the usual features are present but most are upgraded. We’ve mentioned the transparent oven door. The four hobs are raised from the workbench surface and have four turnable knobs below them to “adjust the heat”. There are two options to access water: the usual refillable and removable water butt and tap, plus an inbuilt regular brass tap. This tap has a connector for your garden hose so you can provide a continuous supply of water without worrying about having to refill a container.
As for storage, as well as two long shelves under the sink, the backboard has two smaller, enclosed shelves for utensils and jars. In addition, under the left side of the workbench is a large cupboard with shelves and a door to hide all the mess away.
The usual complaint about assembly is made by some online users who state that not all the holes in the wood were pre-drilled or marked. Just leave extra time, make sure you’re patient and have an electric screwdriver handy.
- Deluxe fir wood mud kitchen that looks like a real kitchen with complete backboard, shelves and lower cupboard with door.
- Two options for delivering water: a tap with a connection to hook up to your garden hose; and a removable water butt with tap.
- Oven with see-through door has four turntable knobs above it to “control” the oven temperature when baking mud pies.
- Two shelves under the sink and a large cupboard to the left provide the large amount of storage space that’s always needed in a working kitchen.
- Complete backboard houses a blackboard for shopping list reminders, two small shelves and the water arrangements.
- Sliding board over the removable sink gives extra prep space when the young cook isn’t washing up and extends out when the sink is in use.
- Dimensions: 90cm (height); 45cm (depth) and 110cm (width); 143cm (extended width).
- Some holes are not pre-drilled or marked.
The Big Game Hunters Triple Mud Kitchen with Working Tap is a complete mud kitchen that’s large enough for several children to play with at once. Of the models in our review, it most looks like a real kitchen and will help kids emulate what they see adults do in their home kitchens. The ability to connect the water feed up to your garden hose lets you off the hook from constantly refilling the water butt option – mud takes a lot of water to make.
If your child is serious about wanting to cook outside and loves playing with mud, this durable and well-designed mud kitchen is a definite option for them.
Read next: Best Kids Play Swing Sets & Playgrounds
4. Plum 27621 Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen
Although tagged as a mud pie kitchen, the Plum 27621 Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen is more of an activity centre with a few features that, with some imagination, function as a mud kitchen. Its Asian-inspired design offers space to incorporate many arts and crafts, including growing plants such as herbs to incorporate into mud pie baking.
The Plum Discovery range of products is designed for Primary schools as well as home environments so they’re tough and durable. The large work bench has a long storage shelf underneath as well as a trellis on one side of the backboard. This serves as shelves for treasured items or the results of arts and craft projects. The long beam across the top of the open backboard is perfect to hang wind chimes (included), dreamcatchers or sun catchers.
The mud kitchen part of this model consists of a stainless steel bowl set into the work bench that acts as the sink and of two round wooden disks raised above the bench as the hobs. Two other recessed holes in the bench are available in which to put other bowls or pots for whatever culinary delights the young chefs are whipping up. An interesting feature that introduces grown ingredients into the mud kitchen is the planter at the base of the work bench under the trellis. Encourage your child to grow herbs there and then incorporate them into their “cooking” or harvest the herbs and take them inside to use in preparing real meals.
- Asian-design mud kitchen that also works well as an arts and crafts station.
- Work bench has a long storage shelf underneath to put craft supplies, plants and finished projects on.
- Stainless steel bowl partly sunk into the work bench acts as a sink and two round wood circles serve as the hobs for the aspiring young chef.
- Half of the backboard is narrow shelving to store cooking/craft supplies and treasured items.
- Built-in planter encourages the young cook to grow herbs and other climbing plants.
- Plenty of hanging spaces for pots and pans and cooking utensils.
- Accessories included are: bamboo chimes; paintbrush pens; three pots; kitchen accessories.
- Dimensions: 116cm (height); 70cm (depth); and 160cm (width).
- Minimal mud kitchen features.
- Assembly takes longer than time stated.
The Plum 27621 Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen is not a dedicated mud kitchen, but an arts and craft station that encourages STEAM learning. That said, there are features to be used as a mud kitchen or as whatever else your child dreams up. Your child’s imagination may work overtime and find ways to turn the entire structure into a kitchen – it’s up to them to explore and dream and make what they want of this structure.
If playing with mud and role-playing as a chef is just one part of your child’s imaginative life, the Plum 27621 Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen would trigger all their creativity.
5. Roba Fun Outdoor Deluxe Children’s Garden Kitchen Wooden Mud Kitchen
The Roba Fun Outdoor Deluxe Children’s Garden Kitchen Wooden Mud Kitchen is the most basic of the mud kitchens in our review. It doesn’t have any inbuilt features specific to mud cookery but, with the addition of a few kitchen utensils, pans, an apron and some creativity, your child can become a chef.
This solid wood workbench is suitable for all arts and crafts. It’s constructed with a strong sense of safety for children and ease of use. It’s made of laminated wood that’s easy to keep clean – just wash down with soapy water or child-friendly disinfectant. The corners of the structure, at the height where the child’s head can bump into, are rounded for safety. All screws and other fasteners are recessed below the surface level of the wood so no young fingers catch on them.
The work bench surface is in two removable halves under which are two plastic tubs. Use these to hold water, sand or mud, or perhaps for the storage of craft and art supplies. Additional storage is available on the large shelf under the bench and on a narrower shelf across the backboard as well as on a few hanging pegs.
This is a straightforward bench with two plastic bins in which your child can make an easily cleaned mess. Create your own mud kitchen by building or drawing a stove and hob with your young cook and providing a bucket of water.
- Solid wood mud kitchen with two plastic play tubs covered by removable wood tops that form a continuous work bench.
- Safe and sturdy construction with rounded edges so kids won’t hurt themselves and laminated wood that’s weatherproof and durable.
- Large storage shelf under the workbench and across the backboard pair with the hanging pegs for storing all sizes and shapes of items.
- Multi-functional as an indoors craft table in the winter to keep the kids entertained and busy.
- No inbuilt mud kitchen features.
The Roba Fun Outdoor Deluxe Children’s Garden Kitchen Wooden Mud Kitchen is a sturdy outdoor play bench made to safety standards. It’s easy to clean down and the two plastic bins under the removable work bench top are perfect for mixing mud in. In the off-season, take the unit indoors and use it for other, not so messy, crafts, or just for storing your child’s toys and arts supplies. This is an all-season piece of furniture that has many possibilities for its use.
If you’re looking for an all-purpose child’s play bench that is easily usable as a mud kitchen but has many other possibilities as well, this is a good choice for you.
The best part about mud kitchens for children is the imagination that is let loose when the young chefs are in full culinary mode. As such, we’ve somewhat loosely interpreted “mud kitchen” in our review. You just need to know a bit about the construction of the unit and think a bit about how well kitted-out you want the kitchen to be. And safety, of course. Safety is always your first consideration when buying anything for children.
We usually include a safety section in our Buyer’s Guide and it’s more important than ever here. These are just a few specific items to look for in addition to all the many other rules and guidelines for children’s safety.
- The best mud kitchens for children have a solid construction and are easy to clean.
- Look for rounded corners and screws that are hidden away or are, at the very least, flush with the wood surface.
- Check also that the wood and all components of the kitchen have been certified as safe for children’s use.
- Check the structure regularly for loose or broken fittings and fastenings.
- Abide by the age range recommendation for children to play with the mud kitchen.
- Supervise children at all times by a responsible adult.
- Make sure all accessories are child-safe and of an appropriate size.
Some of the models we describe have most of the features needed for cooking with mud; others have a bare minimum of cooking features and need kids to use more of their imagination. Some of the units we review are more multi-functional structures than dedicated mud kitchens.
Here’s a quick list of the main mud kitchen features that are usually available:
- Removable plastic bowl as sink
- Wood top to put over the sink; sometimes slides out for extra work space when using the sink
- Backboard at right angles behind the workbench
- Water supply
- Hanging pegs
- Water supply
- Removable water butt and tap
- Tap with connection to garden hose for inbuilt water supply
- Long shelf under workbench
- Hanging pegs
- Cupboard, maybe with door
- Oven, with door
- Hob rings, maybe drawn on or raised from bench
All the kid’s mud kitchens we review are made of wood. Look for Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC) wood whose harvesting is in line with ecological standards. It’s your choice whether you go with a solid wood structure or one made out of laminated wood. But whichever you choose, stain or paint the wood before you let your children use the kitchen for the first time. The wood has probably been pre-treated by the manufacturer but you want to make sure that all parts of it are covered sufficiently to withstand the weather and any other environmental hazards that may happen.
Assembly of the mud kitchens we look at turns out to be quite a big issue for many online reviewers. Many of the models here need full assembly which means that they come as a collection of pieces of wood. The main complaint is that many of the holes haven’t been pre-drilled or even measured and marked. Some DIY skills are necessary, along with an electric screwdriver, several friends experienced in home projects and a day or two. But if you stick with it, the result is often worthwhile.
The mud kitchens we look at do vary a bit in size. The largest unit is the Plum 27621 Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen. But most manufacturers say the kitchens are large enough for two to three children to play in at the same time. The kitchens very much encourage group play and the development of communication skills, teamwork and sharing abilities. All but one (our Runner-up) of the kitchens are stand-alone so the kids have space to move around all sides of the unit and beyond it.
Encouraging children to explore the joys of cooking and to play in the mud have many benefits for their personal development. Mud kitchens for kids give them the space and the tools to let loose and use their imaginations, either alone or with companions, to do (and learn) something that they see adults doing and to produce their own mud “food” at the end. Choose from a range of mud kitchens, some fully featured as real kitchens and others with a bare minimum of cooking appliances that require more imagination.
The Best Pick in our review is the TP Toys TP612 Wooden Deluxe Mud Kitchen. This stand-alone model has all the features that a serious young chef needs to follow the process of cooking that the adults in their life do as well as experimenting with their own methods. Running water from the water butt makes it easy for kids to mix up their mud basic ingredient.
The Runner-up is the TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory. This is similar to and slightly smaller than the Best Pick. However, it’s attached to the wall of a playhouse or to a fence and can change position as your kids grow.
Encouraging kids to play interactively in the garden is great for their development in so many ways – they learn independence, use their creative and problem solving skills, and learn team work and sharing, all the while progressing in their motor and physical skills. Here are some other ways to bring fun to your children’s development outdoors.
Last update on 2021-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API