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Muddy Faces

Published on 06.08.20 in Mud

Mud Play Tips

Mud Play Tips - competition winners

mud scultpure of a birds head, with a child kneeling in the background
wooden sic with words 'Mud Champion' burnt into it
book cover with brown at top and bottom and photo of tyres with a plank on top, with pots and pans and flowers and mud, with text 'Making a Mud Kitchen'

Muddy Faces loves MUD!

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

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

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."

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
book cover, with blue border top and bottom, photo in middle of baby lying on grass, with text 'reasons to be outside'

Thanks to everyone for your tips. Every contributor will receive a printed copy of the Making a Mud Kitchen book by Jan White, a Mud Champion medal and our new Reasons to be Outside booklet.

Please keep firing ideas our way to add to this fantastic page - you can send them to

Liz Edwards
Founder and Chief Muddier

Click to read our Mud Play Tips page.

hammer, wood discs with woodland creatures and plants, and activity cards, laid out on a leafy floor


Local Schools Nature Grants

Learning through Landscapes and People’s Postcode Lottery have announced that Local School Nature Grants are now open for applications.

The programme, now in it's fourth year, gives schools the opportunity to apply for £500 worth of outdoor resources, which can be chosen from a mix of over 100 different products, plus two hours of training.

There are an amazing range of resources to choose from, from a lot of great companies - including us!

Some of the items from Muddy Faces that you could chose include our Woodland Activity Kit, Ground Cover Kit, Den Building Kit, Loose Parts Kit and a specially created Whittling and Drilling Kit - all our kits have been created by us, with items selected to give you all you need to get you started in your outdoor setting.

Click for more information on the Local Schools Nature Grants


Our one stop shop has a diverse selection of practical, educational and inspiring products for all your forest school, outdoor play and learning requirements.


See our full Covid-19 statement here.

Silicone Cases

£5.99 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)

£26.99 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


Our Outdoor Hub is free to everyone and packed full of literally hundreds of step-by-step, photo-illustrated activities. You don't have to be out in an amazing Forest School or woodland setting, most of the activities can be done at home, in a yard or garden, many of them can be adapted and done indoors.

We really do encourage you to get outside if you can - the benefits to your health and wellbeing are huge - you can read all about them on the Outdoor Hub here.

Click here to browse our Outdoor Hub activities

Our activities are organised in categories so you can find what you need, or use our keyword search (scroll down the left hand menu) to follow your children's interests.

The Outdoor Hub has a wealth of inspiring activities, events and information. Each section has been designed to encourage engagement in the outdoors, connection with nature and to help spark imaginative play and creativity.

Mud gallery

An amazing collection of photographs demonstrating the joy, fun, learning and creativity that mud can bring to every setting!

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

Read More about Mud gallery

Outdoor play

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.

Read More about Outdoor play


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