365: 26.04.13 #116 Preschooler garden- mud pies, snakes and scarecrows

365_mud pies snakes and scarecrows

We had another busy morning in the garden today! The preschooler has been desperate to do three things- make mud pies, grow some snakes and construct a scarecrow to protect his crops! So, who am I to argue with that? It all sounded like a wonderful way to nourish his burgeoning love of gardening!

We started with the mud pie kitchen, which was really really easy to make. Trust me,ย anyoneย  can set up a mud kitchen like this outside. You only need a few items:

  • small table- can be wooden or plastic, new or old. As long as you are fine with it being outside and getting muddy!
  • a fence, wall or board to set the table against. I used the garden fence for ours.
  • 3-4 nails and a hammer
  • various mud kitchen utensils. I hunted around for a mixture of ‘real life’ equipment to go with the pretend items we already had: pots, pans, rolling pins, barbecue grill, pizza cutting board, bowls, spoons, spatulas, spreaders etc.
  • chalkboard- this is optional but I wanted there to be somewhere for the preschooler to practise writing.
  • sand and mud.
  • buckets and spades for digging the mud.
  • pots, jugs and containers for water.

To make the mud kitchen, I simply put my wooden table up against ย the fence, next to the water wall (which is still in progress!). I hammered a couple of nails into the fence so that I could hang an apron and some pots, pans and sieves etc, to make it look like a real kitchen. I also hung the chalkboard. Then I moved the old water table next to the wooden table so that the children would have somewhere to collect and mix their mud, and popped a large plastic container of sand underneath

All of this is right next to the the sensory garDEN, meaning that this area of the garden is very interactive and child led indeed!

mud pie kitchenI’m hoping this will be a place that is much loved over the coming summer, where the children can engage in imaginative play outside, and practise digging, pouring, mixing and getting dirty!

Next up on the busy list for today was planting snakes. Yes, really. These really fun seeds caught our eye the other day at the garden centre. The plants grow fruit which look like snakes, and can be picked, dried and painted as such! What a fabulous idea!

The preschooler is an old hand at planting now, so once I had made a few newspaper pots, he quickly filled them with soil, watered them, and made a 1cm hole for the seeds to go into. The seeds have to placed on their sides which was a good opportunity for some fine motor skills practise! Once planted, the pots went inside plastic ziplock bags to keep warm until they are ready to go outside.

The seeds are called Snake Gourd and are available from Thompson and Morgan.

planting snakesLast on the list this morning was the scarecrow. This was fun! The preschooler has been very concerned about birds eating his seeds, especially the beans, and he decided last week that we needed a scarecrow to protect them. I found a really easy tutorial here on the RHS site, which I amended slightly. This is what we used:

  • 1x 1m bamboo cane
  • 1x 50cm bamboo cane
  • 1x 30cm bamboo
  • string
  • old pair of tights
  • meadow hay (99p from Home Bargains in the pet section)

We followed the instructions on the RHS site:

  • tie the 50cm cane to the 1m cane close to the top to make a cross shape.
  • tie the 30cm cane to the middle of the 1m cane.
  • cut off one leg of the tights and stuff with hay to make the head. We secured it with a rubber band to stop the hay falling out.
  • I deviated from the instructions here and instead of tying the head to the cane (I found it kept flopping to the side as it was quite heavy) I pushed the cane through the middle of the rubber band and up into the hay inside the tights. This kept it securely in place.
  • dress the scarecrow- we used some of The Big One’s old clothes!

Easy peasy! It was really only the tying of the canes that I needed to do myself, the rest was great fun for the preschooler to do, with help. We put the scarecrow outside next to the sensory garDEN and when The Big One gets home from school I will ask her to add the face to it. We christened her ‘Big Jill’ after a mispronounced Ben 10 character. Let’s hope she protects our crops!

how to make a scarecrow

I’m linking this post up to Coombe Mill’s Country Kids
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. April 26, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    I love this all the way from the description to to the photos, great ideas for outdoor play in the garden. Hope you will join me on Country Kids, new linky from midnight tonight.
    Coombemill recently posted..Expressions at The GalleryMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 26, 2013 / 8:06 pm

      Ooh yes I will! I wasn’t sure what type of posts the Country Kids linky asked for, but if this is it then count me in!

  2. April 26, 2013 / 4:54 pm

    I love the Mud Pie kitchen! I think I’ll be doing something similar on our garden ๐Ÿ™‚
    We bought those Snake Gourd seeds recently too after a trip to our local garden centre! We also got some Swan Gourd seeds at the same time.. just need to plant them out now ๐Ÿ˜‰ I haven’t done them yet because I couldn’t quite work out the whole “keep in a plastic bag” thing but your idea of a ziplock bag is brilliant, so I’ll be doing that! Thank you!
    Jo Clarke recently posted..On the BeachMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 26, 2013 / 8:07 pm

      I think the idea is for the bag to make a kind of greenhouse. I hope it works!

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 28, 2013 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. April 27, 2013 / 8:22 pm

    you are amazing!! i really LOVE the mud pie kitchen station – i only said to my OH last night that I want to make some mud pies/cakes with the boys soon.and your scarecrow is fantastic. x
    jenny paulin recently posted..My Week That Was #17 (Project 365)My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 28, 2013 / 8:32 pm

      Haha the scarecrow is looking a little dishevilled today but she’s still standing! Good old Big Jill!

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 28, 2013 / 8:31 pm

      haha yes its been very popular so far!

  4. April 28, 2013 / 3:11 pm

    More fantastic inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚ Love Big ‘Jill’ ! We share a garden with our neighbour at the moment, so I can’t make too much of a mess, but I’m storing away some of these ideas for when we get back to the UK!
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted..A sword fight before bedtime!My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 28, 2013 / 8:28 pm

      Oh you’re coming back? I’m not sure I would want to myself, its so cold over here! But must be exciting with family and friends being over here though?

  5. April 28, 2013 / 8:40 pm

    Brilliant! The mud pie station would be my OHs idea of hell, I love it!
    We also have the squash snake seeds, puts have just sprouted, excited to see how they turn out.

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 29, 2013 / 1:07 pm

      Oooh yes, let me know how they go, Luka is very excited about ours!

  6. April 28, 2013 / 9:10 pm

    This looks like so much fun. I would never have thought of an outdoor kitchen but it’s simple and so effective love it. X

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 29, 2013 / 1:07 pm

      It really is simple, and the kids love it which is the main thing!

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 29, 2013 / 8:36 pm

      Yes it was!

  7. April 29, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Wow, you are so creative you put me to shame.
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on the pics of Aaron in the sun ๐Ÿ™‚
    Btw clicking on you (your comment), from my blog, takes me to your blogger profile, and to “this baby likes” and not to here.
    Just so you know.
    Liska xx
    Liska (@NewMumOnline) recently posted..More #SilentSundayMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      April 29, 2013 / 9:10 pm

      Oh really? Thanks for letting me know, not sure why on earth it does that??? But thanks for the lovely comment anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. May 1, 2013 / 10:34 pm

    Absolutely blown away by this post, it’s just brilliant. My toddler would just love to do all of this! Heading over from #CountryKids
    Charly Dove recently posted..The life of RileyMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      May 2, 2013 / 10:06 am

      Ah thank you!

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