Children love culinary pretend play and the marketplace is filled with child-sized kitchens. Yet static structures limit a child's creativity and optionality. A flexible play structure will allow limitless creativity and grows with the child both physically and developmentally.
A play kitchen builds fine and gross motor skills, develops planning skills and encourages connections between the real world and pretend world(s). Make sure your child’s experience is complete with these 5 essential tips.
5 Essential Tips
Incorporate these tips into your child’s use of their play kitchen to maximize their experience.
Each professional chef and many home cooks have different and very specific needs for their kitchen space. And, very likely, so do your children. Let them build what works for them – maybe it’s a horizontally hinged oven door like a real oven, or perhaps it’s vertically hinged. Maybe the sink is an ice bucket and doesn’t need a faucet, or maybe the door handle goes on the countertop and becomes a soap pump. The WunderNook kitchen allows self-expression, creativity, and customization.
Every culinary concoction needs ingredients. Try to resist the urge to direct or select the ingredients for your child. If he or she asks what is needed to make cookies, turn the question around and ask what he or she thinks is needed. You could even ask your child to sample a cookie and guess what it is the child is tasting. Then, you could write or draw an ingredient list together.
Ingredients are important but so are utensils. What do you need? A whisk and a bowl? Does it need to be cooked – on the stove or in the oven? Talk it thorough with your child and help them make a plan and get organized. The use of each utensil helps develop small motor skills. Adults have a clear idea of what a utensil looks like, but a child may be just as content using a nondescript item, like a pencil, MagnaTile® or LEGO®.
Cooking is actually a lesson in chemistry. Take a moment to talk about the role each ingredient plays in whatever your child is making. For example - think about what happens to an egg in batter when placed in the oven and why you include baking soda and/or baking powder. This is a great opportunity for the adult to learn too -- about the child's changing tastes in foods and ideas about food pairings.
Good service adds a touch of sophistication to every snack, appetizer, meal, or desert. How would your child like to serve the food? Ask if there will be table service or will it be buffet style? Does a table need to be set? Where do you place a fork? A knife? A spoon? A napkin? A cup?