This DIY play kitchen is the perfect outdoor space to whip up some mud cakes, acorn soup, and flower ice cream. We used scrap wood and thrift store finds to create this simple kitchen that will fill our days with tons of creative, sensory fun!
I have seen tons of amazing outdoor mud kitchens all over Instagram. I loved the idea of having a designated space for her to test her own “recipes” and that we would be able to move some of our messier play outside. Unfortunately, #apartmentlife means that we only have a small patio space with no dirt OR a water hose. Instead I decided we could build her a DIY play kitchen with its own water table so that she could have access to water and the space to play.
While I love having an outdoor space for her to play, my favorite part of this DIY play kitchen is that it cost little to make and came together so easily! Thankfully we had just done a few other DIYs and had scrap wood to piece together to create this kitchen. Truly a mud kitchen can be put together however you’d like with whatever you would like. People use old sinks, bins, pallets, just about anything that they can find. Truly an outdoor play kitchen is just a table! Keep your design simple and it will be easy on you and your budget.
Remember you can use just about anything, but these are the materials and measurements that we used.
- 1 piece of wood 4’x15″
- 2 pieces of plywood 4’x4′
- 1 piece of wood 4’x12″
- 1 piece of wood 22″x28″
- 2″x1″ trim for legs cut to 17″
- Small pieces for scrap for shelves and sign
- Cement mixing bin
- 2″ screws
Making a DIY Play Kitchen
Okay honestlyyyyyyyyy I tried my hardest to make this on my own and was on YouTube watching videos on how to use power tools on one of Ry’s reserve weekends. It ended with her table being at a strong diagonal and me almost cutting my finger off. So he took over and completed the kitchen half. He used scrap pieces of the trim to brace to the large pieces of ply wood together. Then he drilled two small braces into the front of the plywood to hold up the top counter and the bottom shelf. He cut the wood trim for the legs and added additional horizontal braces to keep them square. So easy right?? I mean, for someone who actually knows how to use a saw lol.
DIY Water Table
The scrap wood was actually already cut to almost perfect size, so I nailed some trim in to the plywood for a brace and then added two front legs. I attached the right leg to the brace from the kitchen to give it a little extra support.
The bin that we used for our DIY water table is actually a cement mixing bin we got from Home Depot for $5.99. It’s approximately 20″x28″ and 6″ deep making it the perfect size to fill up with water, foam, or even some mud. Initially we wanted to build a table so that the bin could sit inside of it, but the first time we filled it in water she immediately sat inside of it like it was a little pool! This also makes it easier to fill and dump since we don’t have a outdoor water source.
Stocking Our DIY Play Kitchen
After Dada did the hard work Aaliyah and I got to do the fun decorating! We had extra white outdoor paint that we used to paint the entire surface of the kitchen. In other tutorials I read they left the wood color and used a sealant to weather protect. I would have liked to do this but because we used scrap wood all of our woods were different colors and it looks neater to have it all white. She used acrylic paints to paint the colorful backdrop of her restaurant sign and I added her name in white. Getting her involved with the process of creating her play kitchen made it so much more fun and meaningful.
Every chef needs utensils, and I am in love with how well these match! The turquoise cooking utensils and spray bottle were all found at the Dollar Tree. They were in the kitchen aisle but are mini size making them perfect for her little hands! The wooden bowls, pitcher, cupcake tin, and mixing bowls all came from the thrift store. I kept checking on our weekly visits for little treasures and didn’t spend more than 50 cents on each piece! To keep her area organized I used a scrap piece of trim and screws to give each tool a designated space.
Underneath her counter I placed these turquoise baskets I also found at the Dollar Tree. It was really important that the baskets had drainage so they could be easily cleaned, but I needed small enough holes that she could stash her acorns and tiny sea shells. The baskets hold other cooking items like measuring cups and spoons, as well as her sidewalk chalk. Because of our small patio space I had to also stashed a bin underneath her water table to hold her other outdoor toys. This is where we store her helmet, bubbles, and buckets.
We’ve already spent so much time playing with her DIY play kitchen! I can’t wait to keep adding our nature treasures and watch her come up with tons of messy recipes.