Pimp My Patio, Day Five

I don’t know about your children but mine love when it rains because rain means mud. Gloriously messy, disgustingly wonderful mud. I’ve never been a person to abuse my Purell bottle, however even I struggle to remind myself that the benefits of playing with mud outweigh the annoyance of clean-up.
I often say aloud, “God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt,” as a reminder to myself that its ok for the children to get muddy.
More than ok, actually. Dirt has healthy, naturally-occurring bacteria which aids in building up young immune systems. Beyond that, mud is a sensory experience and, as we all know, sensory experiences aid in development of language, comprehension, and fine motor skills.

On that note, we put a “mud kitchen” in our patio make-over.
Due to limited space and the logistics of leaving a mud kitchen out where the children have constant access to it in an apartment setting, we did something alittle unconventional with our mud kitchen.
Pimp My Patio Day 5 from Suzy Homeschooler (1)
We started with this old pet crate we had on hand which we never use, it was just the right size for a patio table. I happened to have some laminated tablecoth on hand so we used that to cover it. The corners do jut out quite a bit and don’t look very attractive; next time my sewing machine is out, I plan to trim and stitch it up so it fits more like a slip cover and looks more appealing.
Pimp My Patio Day 5 from Suzy Homeschooler (2)
Once you pull back the table cloth and open the crate door, you’ll find all the kitchen supplies you might need to make a lovely mud cake, mud roast beef, or even classic mud pie. I did purchase a new set of funnels, measuring cups, ketchup and mustard bottles from Dollar Tree. The rest of the supplies (pot, pan, mixing bowl, strainer, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 cups, 2 wooden spoons, potato masher, dish towel, 2 pot holders, and 2 oven mitts) were all things we already had on hand. I basically just went through a box of kitchen items we’d replaced long ago and picked out anything scratched, stained, bent, dented, or otherwise barely functional. The children are having a ton of fun with this already, our neighbors even stopped by to help break in the new mud kitchen.

From a practical point a view, I can’t really have my children getting muddy outside then crossing through the living room to get to bathroom in order to clean up. I needed some way of cleaning them off and containing the mess outside. But in an apartment setting, with no hose to spray them down, I had to get creative. It took a bit of thought but I came up with this:
Pimp My Patio Day 5 from Suzy Homeschooler (3)
A simple clean up station that hangs from a hook directly inside the shed door. Two small bottles of liquid soap, two wash cloths, two spray bottles of water, and two towels. Its not a full-on bath but it will get them clean enough to go in through the front door without having to follow them with the steam cleaner.

Be sure to check out all 7 days worth of outdoor play ideas in our Pimp My Patio Series!
Day 1- Making Things Colorful
Day 2- Music and Pretend Play
Day 3- Bugs and Birds
Day 4- Outdoor Games
Day 6- Hide-a-Ways and Sun Protection
Day 7- Gardening

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