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21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mud Pie Kai

Last weekend I had one of those joyful life experiences when the outcome of my imaginings far exceeded the initial dream.

Thanks to the combined generosity, knowledge and expertise of a team of our kindergarten dad’s, we have a wonderful new mud pie kitchen to add to our repertoire of play spaces outdoors.

The planning of this project began last year when I first started noticing images of outdoor mud kitchen’s on inspiring websites like ‘let the children play’ so you can imagine how excited and affirmed I felt when we started to talk about this idea as a team earlier this year…and others had saved the same or similar pictures!

If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

One of the aspects I love about teaching in community-based education is the support and kindness we receive from our attending families. As the Nigerian proverb states ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and we too believe in the underpinnings of this message, sharing and cooperation builds a sense of unity.

So, with this thinking in mind we cooked up a plan to draw of the skills of some dad’s!

Saturday the 30th of August was a classic ‘awful’ winters day in Whangarei. On top of the 120-180mm of rain it was predicted that we might also be subject to heavy-gale winds. However the weather was no match to the dedication of Nigel, Phil and Mike (aka Nyla, Miller and Toby’s dad’s).  Despite the grey day, they came together to visualise, plan and build (and all from our original images!) a mud pie kitchen that will provide a focal point for play and engagement for years to come.

Our mud pie kitchen has been constructed from a donated stainless steel sink (thanks Sam!) pine timber decking and a plywood hob. Whilst many outdoor kitchens are constructed from pallets and found materials, we decided to build a unit that will sustain years of exploration and curiosity, and thanks to donated time and other materials had a total cost of less than $140, Pai rawe!


We have had our kitchen for a nearly a week now; it has been aptly named ‘Mud Pie Kai’. The process of mixing up concoctions of mud, sawdust, bark and water is hugely appealing to children; cause and effect is the stuff of brain development. As Christine referred to in her blog post last week, mud is a wonderful sensory element in play, mud pie kitchens provide a whole new level of mud play as they combine the much-loved resources of a family corner and cooking into the special nature of being outside.

On behalf of the team and all the lucky tamariki who will investigate and make discoveries in this wonderful new play space, I want to again acknowledge the support and time of our dedicated dad’s, without your time and energy this could never have happened. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

The 'A' team - Nigel, Mike and Phil

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