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Muddy Faces

Published on 06.08.20 in Mud

Mud play tips

Our mud play tips page features advice from the biggest experts - our community of outdoor practitioners!

wooden sic with words 'Mud Champion' burnt into it

Muddy Faces loves MUD!

For Mud Day 2020 we asked you to send in your Mud Play Tips - and created our new Mud Play Tips page.

We asked our director Liz Edwards to pick the winners - this is what she said....

"Many thanks to everybody who has contributed to help build this page - its been amazing to read through all the ideas and there were a couple of things I have never seen, such as the Giacometti sculpture idea from

mud scultpure of a birds head, with a child kneeling in the background
Becky says "Here is the photo (R1) of my class’s mud sculpture inspired by Giacometti! It is a birds head! This was made by 4 and 5 year olds."

Becky Young - re-emphasising the expansive opportunities of mud play - we are always learning!

There is no surprise that I found it virtually impossible to choose a ‘winner’ from all the useful ideas and tips!

Many people suggested how to tackle the sticky situation of ‘getting dirty‘ - the inevitability of mud play - with helpful suggestions on how to approach concerns for both the children and adults. Carryduff Playgroup, Belfast, NI mentions clothing and an enthusiastic approach from staff.

Among many other things, Vickie Stainsby explores curriculum links, Marion Baynes suggests recycled items to try out, and Sara Herrington suggests seasonal herbs as a sensual addition.

I have chosen one paragraph from a brilliantly in-depth contribution that I feel strongly about, and which we highlighted at the start of our mud campaign in Making a Mud Kitchen in 2012, and that is to provide recycled items that are mobile and adaptable - these types of resources provide opportunities way beyond the mud kitchen play that an expensive static unit can, and at a fraction of the cost. I would really like to promote this concept that mud kitchens can cost virtually nothing.

With this in mind I'm going to choose Becky Johnston of's contribution as the winner of the competition to win a mobile mud hob. Becky shares a number of good ideas and I would like to highlight one paragraph:

“You don’t need a mud kitchen - mud kitchens are great, but they’re also expensive and not everyone has the space to dedicate a permanent corner to one. The key is to create an invitation to play, to make your child feel free to get involved and to use their imagination. Even the most elaborate mud kitchen won’t get a child to play if they don’t feel free to enjoy it in a messy carefree way.”

Other tips Becky shares are:

  • Know your flowers
  • Ice, ice, baby!
  • Add a little science
  • Make a mud supermarket

Thanks to everyone for your tips.

Click below to read our Mud Play Tips page.

Mud play tips

These tips are from the experts - Forest School practitioners, outdoor leaders, teachers, families - people who love mud play and it’s benefits so much that they have generously shared their skills, knowledge and experience with us.

We thank them all - and welcome any new mud play tips you have - send them to

Read More about Mud play tips

Risky play tips & gallery

Inspiration & tips shared by outdoor practitioners and parents enjoying risky play in their settings.

Read More about Risky play tips & gallery

More on mud on the Outdoor Hub


Welcome to our Mud page! Come and explore mud and the whys, hows and wherefores of mud play, along with some inspiration for bringing mud and messy play into your setting.

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Real photos of mud play & learning from the UK & around the world.

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If you want FREE mud activity downloads and mud play activity inspiration, you've come to the right place!

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FREE Mud Kitchen book

Making a Mud Kitchen has everything you need to know about mud kitchens – all the whats, whys, wheres and hows - and is available to download for free.

Making a Mud Kitchen has been translated into TWELVE different languages and counting! Download your free pdf in:

• English • Croatian • French • German • Greek • Hungarian • Icelandic • Italian • Portuguese • Spanish • Swedish • Turkish or Welsh below.

A printed version of Making a Mud Kitchen is available to purchase in the Muddy Faces shop.

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Dens & den building

This section is full of den building information; including den building guides and activity ideas.

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Outdoor play, natural play and nature play are different terms used to describe children 'being' outdoors. Being allowed to lead their own play, explore, investigate, be curious and take risks in a natural/outdoor environment.

Jan White introduces this section and details the importance and benefits of child-led and child-initiated play.

This section is filled with information surrounding the theory and practice of outdoor play - articles, policies, books and research.

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Products to support mud play in the Muddy Faces shop

Silicone Cases

£7.99 exVAT

12 brightly coloured silicone cupcake cases ... also great for gloopy mud pies, stuffed with sticks & grass, with a berry or two on top!

Buy now

Pestle and Mortar (Olive Wood)

£29.99 exVAT

Perfect for pummelling petals and grinding up herbs in the mud kitchen!

Hand-carved from olive wood, ethically-produced from trees that no longer produce fruit.

Buy now

Create Modular Mud Kitchen

From: £379.99 exVAT

Nominated as Best for Open-Ended Play in the Independent's Best Mud Kitchens for 2021. A large set that can be assembled in many different configurations to suit your activity. These simple but very effective Mud Kitchen Modules create a variety of different ...

Buy now

Sign - Mud Kitchen

£4.39 exVAT

Early years and primary school aged children would love this mud kitchen sign displayed in their muddy area!

Each sign is in its natural form and will have its bark on.

Buy now

Toddler & Twos

£129.99 exVAT

This special set for younger children is designed to capture their core passions in gathering, filling, pouring, emptying, stirring, mixing and transforming.

Buy now


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