I remember making mud pies with my sisters in our back garden. We had a Rhuss tree and used to mash up the tiny rust-coloured furry balls from the seed heads into our potions. I can still remember the distinctive smell of those seed heads, even now!
With children of my own – and of course through the eyes of dozens of nursery children – I can now see the value of this kind of play. Making pies and potions is fun but it also allows for the development of all kinds of skills; socialisation, being the most important one, I think. You can make witchy potions on your own, but it is so much more satisfying to serve your concoction to your friends and watch them turn into frogs. And you can’t have a cafe without customers, can you? With this kind of play comes learning to take turns, to share resources and to ask – and give – favours. You need to be able to use your pleases and thank yous!
At Harpole Day Nursery, we are so grateful to Mr Adams who made our mud kitchen. It has a sink and a hob and with the addition of a few pots and pans, it makes a wonderful place to play. Our gratitude also goes to Mr Wayman, who made our nativity stable which now doubles as a cafe/shop/shelter/den.