For kids who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty, a mud kitchen can be a great way to spark their imagination, stimulate their senses and keep them entertained outdoors.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the best mud kitchens out there, as well as some great mud kitchen accessories, so kids enjoy hours of muddy fun outside.
What is a mud kitchen?
A mud kitchen is an outdoor play kitchen for children, which is great for messy play. By piling earth and water in pots, pans, bowls and other containers, they can pretend they’re cooking up their own food from their child-sized garden kitchen.
Most mud kitchens are made from wood but not all are treated to be weatherproof for long periods outside. That means you might need to cover them up when they’re not being used or shelter them in somewhere like a shed.
Many will also arrive in pieces which you will have to assemble yourself, so it might be worth checking reviews to see how easy (or not so easy!) other parents have found them to put together.
What to look for when choosing a mud kitchen
How big is it? – Mud kitchens can really vary when it comes to size, so make sure you check the dimensions before you order and that you have somewhere it can live in your garden.
Does it have a tap or water butt? – Some mud kitchens come with an integrated tap which can be attached to a garden hose or a water butt which can be refilled. These mean your child has ready access to water when they are playing and it gives them more options when it comes to games. Although, adding water to the mix generally means they will make more mess too.
Does it come with any accessories? – With some mud kitchens, you’ll get a whole set of pot, pans and other accessories with your purchase, whereas others will come with nothing else included. If you just get the structure of the mud kitchen itself, remember to factor in the cost of getting utensils and kitchen equipment for your child to play with.
Is there storage space? – Some mud kitchens come with useful shelves or storage cupboards to keep all your accessories together. Others have hooks to hang things from. If you pick one which doesn’t have any storage space, remember to think about where you will keep the pots, pans and utensils when they’re not being used.
Has the wood been treated? – Your mud kitchen is going to withstand a lot of dirt and if it is left out in the garden, it will have to survive wind, rain and possibly even snow as well. Check whether the wood has been treated with a weatherproof varnish. If not, you may want to varnish it yourself or add a coat of durable waterproof paint.
Here’s our pick of the best wooden mud kitchens:
1. Chad Valley Wooden Mud Kitchen, £100
– Best for extras
Age: 3+ | Size: H105cm x W93.5cm x D52.5cm | Main material: wood
Chad Valley’s outdoor kitchen includes an opening oven as well as a 4 hob stove and 2 bowls on the work station. A set of 8 utensils are included that can hang from hooks along the top, plus there’s a blackboard for kids to write the day’s specials on. This means it’s ready for your child to play with without having to buy a load of additional accessories.
It’s worth noting that the kitchen will need sheltering against the elements, so make sure you’ve got somewhere you can cover it or are prepared to add a coat of varnish or paint – something previous buyers mention in their reviews. It will also need putting together, as it doesn’t arrive already assembled.
Available from: Argos
2. TP Toys Deluxe Wooden Mud Kitchen, £149.99
– Best for space to share
Age: 3+ | Size: H96cm x W98cm x D40cm | Main material: FSC certified timber
The refillable water butt on this kitchen is a nice touch, so kids can rinse off as well as soak their soil pies to make them extra muddy. Half of the worktop also folds up to reveal a removable sink directly beneath, so there are more options for how they want to play with the kitchen.
You’ll find 4 hob rings above an open-and-closing oven for “baking” , which helps it feel like the real deal. There’s also a blackboard where they can write menus and recipes. The mud kitchen set includes stainless steel pans and a whisk so they’re ready to get started – once you’ve assembled it, of course. Plus, the size of the kitchen means there’s space for 3 children to play together – ideal for siblings or outdoor games with friends.
3. Plum Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen, £269.99
– Best for little gardeners
Age: 3+ | Size: H115.8cm x W160cm x D70.3cm | Main material: FSC certified timber
If you’re looking for a larger kitchen that more than one child can play with, Plum’s model is a good option. There’s a mixing bowl and 2 hob rings to share, plus lots of shelves and storage.
It comes with a set of pans and utensils and even a bamboo windchime for added sensory play, plus hooks on either side to hang them. Your child can develop their green fingers and combine their messy play with a bit of gardening as it comes with a built-in planter and holders for potted shrubs. The backing screen can also be painted on with water-based paints (or perhaps your little one will experiment with some muddy art?) that will wash off, so kids can paint it again and again.
It’s worth noting this kitchen doesn’t arrive assembled and a couple of reviewers mentioned it was quite tricky to put together.
4. Crystal Pallets Lina Mud Kitchen, £180
– Best for eco-friendly materials
Age: 3+ | Size: H80cm x W80cm x D45cm | Main material: wood
This adorable handcrafted mud kitchen is made using recycled wooden pallets and reclaimed wood so it’s great for the environment and each one is unique. The Lina has plenty of play appeal with 4 hobs, 4 knobs, 2 sinks, a spacious under-worktop shelf and hooks to hang all your child’s pots and pans. There’s also a small blackboard so they can personalise their kitchen.
One of the things we love about this mud kitchen is it comes ready-assembled so you don’t need to fiddle around with a screwdriver or try to follow instructions. Crystal Pallets will also weatherproof your mud kitchen for you with Danish oil and you can choose whether you go for a dark or light finish. It is sturdy, well-made and should survive everything your muddy-fingered treasure throws at it.
Available from: Crystal Pallets
5. RUFD 1 bowl mud kitchen, £375
– Best for personalisation
Age: 18 months+ | Size: W70cm x D45cm – height varies between 102cm and 120cm | Main material: Pressure treated timber and stainless steel
RUFD products are the Rolls Royce of mud kitchens – they come in all shapes and the company offers bespoke options. We’ve chosen one of the simpler and more affordable models but it is still one of the priciest on our list. We love the fact you can choose between 3 different height options, depending on the age of your child, and it can also be adapted for wheelchairs.
The mud kitchen has a small play bench with a pretend hob and dials that turn, plus a single stainless steel bowl to use as a sink. There are also hooks to hang accessories, a small blackboard and 2 shelves, including one large one under the bench. For an extra £25, you can get the mud kitchen personalised with your child’s name as an extra special touch.
Quality is key with this product – it comes with a 5-year anti-rot guarantee and has been weatherproofed with a tough hardwearing finish. But be aware that it comes in 2 pieces and it’ll be up to you to bolt them together.
Available from: RUFD
6. TP Toys Deluxe Mud Kitchen Playhouse Accessory, £49.99
– Best for saving space
Age: 3+ | Size: 36cm x 81cm x 56cm | Main material: wood
This mud kitchen counter is designed to be added into an existing playhouse or it can be attached to a shed, fence panel, wall or other outdoor surface you might have available – a lovely option if you don’t want to spend lots on one that’s full sized or you don’t have much spare space in your garden.
There’s a wide sink with a water butt above so kids can rinse things off and engage in water play, plus there’s an included stencil to add on your own hob ring. The pans and whisk come included but it will need to be assembled after purchasing and some reviewers found this a little tricky. At just under £50, it is a really affordable option and offers plenty of play value.
7. Smyths Toys Mud Kitchen with Water Tap, £79.99
– Best for water play
Age: 3+ | Size: H91cm x W42.5cm x L91cm | Material: Stained wood
The thing we love the most about this mud kitchen is that it comes with an ingenious working tap that attaches to your garden hose and really brings the toy to life. Your child will love filling up the removable plastic sink, which comes with its own rubber plug just like a real kitchen sink.
The kitchen itself is made from sturdy timber, which has been stained to protect it from wood rot and insect damage. There is an oven cabinet, blackboard and storage shelf but no hob feature and the design itself is a little plain. There’s also no hooks for hanging anything up, although there is plenty of space in the oven/cupboard. You’ll also need to put it together yourself and buy some accessories, as this doesn’t come with any extras.
Available from: Smyths Toys
8. Big Game Hunters Triple Mud Kitchen with Working Tap, £179
– Best all-rounder
Age: 18 months+ | Size: 110.5cm x 90.5cm x 43cm | Material: Fir wood
This design from Big Game Hunters gives you a lot of mud kitchen for your money. While it isn’t the cheapest on our list, it comes with a whole host of features, including 2 taps – a brass one with a hose attachment and another attached to a refillable water butt – plus a draining board, which slides away to reveal a large splash tub underneath. There is also an oven with hob and turning knobs, a blackboard, a cupboard and lots of useful shelves for storage.
It is large enough for 3 children to play with at once so is ideal for siblings to share. Unlike many mud kitchens which are only safety tested for children aged 3 and over, this one has been fully certified for toddlers as young as 18 months. The only downside is you’ll have to assemble it yourself.
Available from: Big Game Hunters
9. Outdoor Wooden Mud Kitchen, £95.99
– Best for country kitchen style
Age: 3+ | Size: H88cm x W46cm x L81cm | Material: Wood
A popular choice with playgroups and primary schools, this wooden mud kitchen has a traditional country chic charm. It comes with an oven with opening door, 2 hobs and 4 plastic dials that have a satisfying clicking noise when you turn them. There’s also a stainless steel bowl sink and it comes with a set of 6 stainless steel accessories which hang up neatly on hooks.
We love the shelf that runs along the top for extra storage and gives the kitchen a bit of character. It has been treated with a clear non-toxic wooden preservative, but to keep it in tip-top condition the manufacturer recommends retreating the wood every 6 months. It does require some self-assembly and one reviewer warned it was a 2-person job.
10. Rebo Muddy Mischief Mud Kitchen, £59.95
– Best for value
Age: 3+ | Size: H62cm x W47.5cm x L70cm | Material: Pressure treated wood
This sturdy, all-weather mud kitchen is small and simple but it does exactly what it says on the tin. At just under £60, it is one of the cheaper options on our list and won’t take up much space in your garden. Unlike many of the others, it doesn’t have an oven or hob – just a straightforward wooden bench with a plastic tray which could be used as a sink or even a small sandpit.
The integrated shelves at the top and underneath provide plenty of space to keep any accessories, but you’ll have to buy them separately. Reviewers found it a great height for smaller children and loved the quality. The kitchen does arrive flat-packed, so you will need to put it together before your child can play with it.
Available from: Outdoor Toys
Our favourite mud kitchen accessories:
Wobbly Jelly – ‘Fairy Tale’ Kids Kitchen Set, £11.95
Age: 36 months+
This decorated toy kitchen set is ideal for mixing up in the garden – even if the design gets covered in mud within minutes!
Other buyers of the pan and utensil set seemed happy with the products as they received an average of 4.7 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with over 100 reviews.
Reviewers’ comments included, “Just the right size for little hands” and “Great value for money. Lovely little set.”
FUQUN 17 Pcs Pretend Play Kitchen Cookware Set, £17.99
This full cookware set contains loads of kid-size pots, pans and utensils for children to bake their mud pies and sieve water through. Everything is made from either stainless steel or BPA-free materials and is available as a blue or pink set.
The chef hat will help them feel like a proper cook, while the apron might just reduce the amount of muddy stains you’ll need to get out of their clothes later.
Available from: Amazon
Children’s Watering Can, £8
There are lots of other garden accessories you can add to a mud kitchen, one of the simplest being a watering can. This is especially useful if your kitchen includes a sink section they can fill it up at.
This watering can is designed specifically for children, so it’s small enough for their hands to hold and light enough for them to carry. The rose spout also disperses the water rather than pouring it all out at once so each fill-up should last a little longer.
Available from: Amazon
Mud Kitchen Recipe Book, £6
To help get their imagination going, this mud kitchen recipe book is a nice addition. It could also work well as an accompanying gift if you’re ordering a kitchen for a birthday or specific occasion.
This one is made by an independent seller on Etsy and is one of the website’s bestsellers. Reviewers were impressed with the quality, with one saying the unique ideas had helped inspire their children to play with their kitchen in new ways.
Available from: Etsy
Personalised Mud Kitchen Sign, £5.99
Adding a sign (if your kitchen doesn’t come with one included) can be a quick way to make a mud kitchen feel like your child’s own. We love this one from Etsy which can be personalised with their name.
Printed on aluminium, the seller promises it can be used outdoors without rusting or fading over time. It will also have hanging holes ready drilled and be fitted with twine so you can hang it up straight away.
Available from: Etsy
Wooden pestle and mortar, £15.59
This chunky pestle and mortar made from olive wood is perfect for mixing up creative concoctions. Whether it is crushing petals, grass and leaves or breaking up clumps of mud, your child will love getting stuck in and the grinding motion is great for developing their fine motor skills too.
The toxin-free wood is smooth to touch and the pestle is easy for little hands to hold, while the mortar (the bowl part) is large enough to fit lots in.
Available from: Bambino Planet
Eda Jerry Can, from £8.99
While some kitchens come fitted with a tap or water butt, many don’t and you may want to add one of your own. Something like this jerry can, fitted with a tap, could be a good substitute and it can hold up to 10 litres of water at a time.
Also popular on Amazon, this product scored 4 out of 5 stars with over 130 reviews and when they’re not using it to bake mud pies you can always take it on family camping trips.
Available from: Amazon
About the author
Catherine Ball is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about parenting and health. She has been a journalist for 20 years, writing for a wide range of regional and national publications. Outside of work, she is the mother of 4 children – all girls! – aged between 4 and 12.