As children play, they are creating brain connections, learning many important skills and developing kindergarten readiness. Did you know that every room in your house has special opportunities for play? Here’s some ways that your child can learn and play in the kitchen:
- A low drawer dedicated to unbreakable plastic containers can be used by a kneeling baby, a toddler looking for things to pile up and build with, or an older child who wants to play “kitchen”. Sometimes drawers close too quickly, so you may need something to hold the drawer open or just use a box or crate where it won’t be a tripping hazard for you. If you can handle the noise, metal pots and pans and a couple of kitchen tools for drumming are great fun. Be careful of canned food. The tins roll nicely but dropped on a toe, can really hurt.
- Having a child help with the cooking is always so very helpful but a plastic knife and little hands can slice a banana. Those same hands can play with a bit of flour and water while you cook.
- The kitchen sink is fun place to play with a bit of water and some containers and spoons for measuring pouring, pretend cooking, and getting water all over so the floor might just as well get washed. Older kids might like to try a what floats and what sinks science experiment. Who knew that putting a few ice cubes in warm water could be so engaging? Sometimes the cubes stick right together, and crack as they melt.
- Forks and spoons can have pretend adventures. “Once upon a time, a spoon wanted to visit the salad bowls. How will I get there she asked? I’ll show you the way said the fork.” Plastic containers and empty boxes in the recycling can be used to play restaurant, train, or office. Great fun.
- Kitchen chairs can be placed on their sides to make a yard for a pretend kitty and a big blanket draped over the table turns it into a fort for monsters, a tent for camping, a turtle’s shell, a cave for elves , a barn for animals and if you are very fortunate even a hiding place for taking a nap.
Is this stirring up some ideas for you? While all this play is happening in the kitchen, there’s a lot of learning happening in children’s brains. These ideas can be adapted for your family, no matter if you have the whole day or just part of the day at home. What learn and play fun in the kitchen does your child enjoy?