The kitchen is the centre of our house. Apart from the fact that the little ones need to be fed every 2 hours or it’s not pretty, there’s always something interesting to do there. We have two kitchen chairs at the bench they stand on, little one started about 14 months with me next to her. The older one started in a sling watching intently.
1. Cooking – the obvious one to start with! The littlest ones will watch in fascination as you cut and mix. Try cracking eggs onto a plate so they can see it, or buttering toast so they can watch the butter melt. Let them put their hands on an electric mixer or hold the bowl for you, measure liquids into jug or plastic cup and let them pour them in. Use a bowl with high sides so they can mix without getting it everywhere, or let them hold a measuring cup over it while you pour the ingredients in.
2. Ice melting – great on a hot day, put some on a saucer so they can watch while you get dinner ready. Encourage them to feel it, draw with it, taste it.
3. Making crystals – Yes, I promise this one is coming Thursday! Dissolve some salt in water then leave it on the window or under an air conditioner to evaporate.
4. Making slime – There are lots of slime recipes, but the simplest is cornflour/cornstarch. Put some in a bowl and add water a bit at a time, to jazz it up you can add some food colouring. Try stirring fast or slow, get your fingers in there!
5. Playdough – There are heaps of good recipes out there. Go for one made with boiling water, then the kids can mix all the dry ingredients before you stir the water in. There are lots of variations, another one that’s coming soon!
6. Put things in iceblocks – Another one for summer, let your kids find edible things to put inside iceblocks, then even little ones can use a water bottle to fill them. Try – grapes, pineapple, other fruit, mint leaves, basil, cherry tomatos, corn, peas, nuts, … When they are frozen make a game of guessing what it is, and see how freezing changes the texture.
7. Dissolving – Put a bit of sugar or salt into a cup, clear plastic is good because they can hold it up and see the bottom. Add water and stir to see it disappear. Then taste the water!
8. Kneading – Make bread, pasta or a biscuit recipe that needs kneading. Let them squeeze or pound the dough – it’ll turn out a bit tough, but they’ll have fun 😀
9. Toothpicks – Get lots of small foods or cut things up and eat them with toothpicks. It’s great for encouraging hand eye co-0rdination and makes it a fun meal or picnic.
10. Arranging and sorting – Use lots of little boxes or cups or even an old egg container and let them sort things. Dry pasta, rice, even cereal. Older kids will come up with all sorts of elaborate rules, little ones will just enjoy moving everything around!
What ways do you entertain your kids in the kitchen?
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