What's better if you're a kid (or that kid's parent) than summer, playing outside, getting dirty and using your imagination? Nothing. So, this summer we created a mud pie play space that's super easy, inexpensive and has kept my girl busily baking treats for hours.

My girl is three and loves to pretend cook. She has lots of friends, from Minnie and Mickey Mouse to the chickens, who get to eat her creations. We also like to be outside so, I thought, Elena can cook while I weed the garden.

We took a small desk she wasn't really using inside and put it outside along with some banged up kitchen stuff. Spoons, scoops, pans, a Frisbee, containers to hold "decorations" - anything will work.

Find a large container to hold some dirt, another container to hold some water and a pitcher to pour the water into the dirt.

A sign, if you've got some scrap wood and a little paint, makes a cute touch.

Twigs, pine needles, gravel, etc make fine decorations and then you just need some lucky recipients for your mud pies.

Well, look at that - the chickens are already lining up!