Besides high-quality dirt that can be turned into mud, you can collect a variety of other landscaping, natural, household, and food items. Taking time to place these in containers, buckets, emptied spice shakers, and jars makes them easy to access for children. You can go on both indoor and outdoor foraging trips with your children to collect these ingredients. Foraging, organizing, and ultimately cooking with a wide range of ingredients provides a rich sensory experience for children.


  • Coffee grounds (preferably unused or dried)
  • Eggshells (crushed and tinted in different colors)
  • Herbs (fresh, dried)
  • Orange peel
  • Water that is tinted in different colors (using natural food dyes like turmeric, beets, etc.)

Landscaping and Household

  • Glass pebbles
  • Mulch (different textures and colors)
  • Sand (colored and plain)
  • Sawdust
  • Stones (different sizes and colors)


  • Bark
  • Grass
  • Leaves (dried and crushed into bits)
  • Pebbles
  • Pine cones
  • Reeds
  • Seeds
  • Shells
  • Stones
  • Twigs
  • Woodchips

When I started our mud kitchen, we just included dirt, sand, and whatever natural ingredients the children were able to collect from the yard. If you’re not sure how these other ingredients might contribute to a mud kitchen, check out the board I created on Pinterest for some inspiration.

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