Backyard Cubby Play Everyday – Week 5

The Mud Cafe

This week is all about getting messy with mud, glorious mud!

Messy, sensory play with good old-fashioned mud is not only so much fun, but it has a huge range of benefits for our kids:

  • Mud play engages all of their senses, particularly touch as they squelch and mold their muddy creations
  • Exposure to friendly soil bacteria (Mycobacterium Vaccae to be exact!) stimulates the immune system = brain releases serotonin = happy kids!
  • Making their own ‘Muddy Menus’ will nurture their creativity and fire up the imagination
  • They can practise early mathematical concepts through buying, selling and even giving change for the muddy baked goods
  • Running their Mud Café with friends and family will help to develop their communication skills through speaking, listening, taking turns and negotiating.
  • Research has even shown that exposure to dirt can strengthen our children’s immune systems and in some cases prevent allergies
  • And did I mention it is soooo much fun?

Setting up your Mud Café

Our YARDart Cubbies have been designed to be transformed into a wide variety of play themes and a Mud Café is no exception. The inbuilt shelves can be filled with kitchenware and will become your little chefs’ workbenches, whilst the rear window and servery can be used to advertise, serve and sell their creations. Simply allow the kids to gather up some of the following play props, provide them with some water and of course mud, some chalk for their built-in menu boards and watch the magic happen!

  • Kitchenware – Pots, pans, wooden spoons, cake tins, muffin trays, cups, cutlery (kids safe of course) and plates to serve.
  • Different coloured chalks to decorate and design their muddy menus.
  • Some coins (if age appropriate) to ‘pay’ and ‘give change’ for their goods.
  • Dried flowers/leaves can be crunched up and added to shakers to use as ‘spices’.
  • Other natural materials such as pinecones, small sticks, rocks and bark can be added too to extend their creativity.
  • You could even go one step further and all wear aprons and make your own chef hats!

Messy Monsters

Make no mistake, a Mud Café will create some serious mess, but I can assure you that watching the hours of fun that can be had will 100% make it all worth it. As the weather is warming up, why not give the kids a blast with the garden hose for a final cool down and clean!

Our YARDart Cubbies have all been built from Marine Ply, used to withstand the elements, so if needed, feel free to hose down the cubby after play also.

I hope you have been inspired to get messy in the backyard this weekend and promise to be back this time next week with a brand-new play theme for backyard cubby play. In the meantime, if you missed last week’s edition, check it out here: Week 4

P.S. We will be back and bringing along some of our YARDart products to The Village Markets in Burleigh this Sunday 18th October. Come along for a play and say hey!

Anya Imhoff- Mum, teacher, ‘Mrs YARDart’ and Education Coordinator, Nature Play QLD.

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