Sunday 1 July 2012

Mess in the garden and making mud pies

Our sand and water activity table has been residing in its winter quarters (the dining room, filled with dried pasta and acting as a sort of buffet for Mia to snack at) for far too long. I've been waiting for the weather to get warm enough to set it in the garden, and the other day I decided that it's nearly July, and if I didn't get it out soon I never would. I cleaned it out, filled it with water, and provided a selection of bowls, cups, spoons and so on. It was the first time that I'd tried water play with Mia outside of the bath, and she was thrilled. She didn't mind that I'd used cold water, she couldn't wait to get stuck in.

Children playing at water table in the garden

Unfortunately Harry became frustrated when she wanted to play too and was interrupting his games, so I ended up with a separate bowl of water on the floor for her to play in. Then I felt that we were ready to move onto the next level of messy play, so I brought out some rice pudding flakes that I found when I was sorting out the cupboard. I think they were left over from when my Mum was desperately trying to make something that Harry would eat, and they were rather out of date. Porridge oats would have worked well too.

Children making mud pies in the garden

They both dived in, but Harry in particular was enjoying adding the flakes to the water and mixing them up, so I encouraged him to look around the garden for other things to add, like daisies (no shortage of those on our lawn!), small stones and soil.

I've been collecting ideas for garden activities for a little while now, and I've seen some lovely outdoor kitchens.  We don't have the space (or inclination to devote that much of our garden to mud pie creation) for anything nearly as ambitious, but the next day I collected a few bits and pieces together and told Harry that the back, neglected corner of the garden was his new mud pie kitchen.

Boy making mud pies

I used an overturned square planter for a work surface, and a couple of plastic food trays to collect ingredients from around the garden. We had a baby food bowl which had melted in the dishwasher, a sippy cup that was a bit too leaky and some disposable cutlery from the junk drawer. I put a big bowl of water down too, and Harry was busy for ages mixing up his concoctions. When he had finished I tipped away the rubbish, watered the vegetables with the spare water, and stored all the things neatly inside the planter ready for next time.


  1. Wow, what fun.
    When you were little I used to stand you at the sink with pots of rice, cereal, flour, food colouring etc and you had great fun mixing everything up. Sounds more controllable in the garden though.

    1. I remember doing that, I loved it! We must have made such a mess though...Harry is really into baking and cooking at the moment.


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