The kitchen is possibly the best room in the house for play! Without any effort, there are already so many resources at your fingertips, including everything you need to clean up any little spills from the thrills you create. Playing in the kitchen can entail cooking, experimenting, role-playing; there are so many ways children—and adults—can be creative with this type of play.
Kitchen play is a complete sensory experience as children can see, hear, smell, touch and taste what they are playing with. All this sensory input stimulates neural pathways and helps children grow healthy, curious minds. Kitchen play also promotes literacy and numeracy when a child reads the words on packaging and recipes and incorporates mathematical concepts such as weight, size, number and time. Engaging children with food in a fun manner can also help them to overcome any aversions they may have to texture or taste. Of course, time spent playing with mum and/or dad improves language skills and emotional wellbeing. Family time in the kitchen has many benefits to reap; add a bit of mess and you’re making precious memories to laugh about for years to come!
- Bake cookies for morning tea.
- Mix and roll bliss balls for afternoon tea.
- Make potions that will probably be undrinkable, but are fun science experiments!
- Play music with pots and pans and rice, seeds or nuts in containers.
- Pretend to be mummies and daddies.
- Set up a café or shop.
- Have a tea party.
- Sort the Tupperware drawer!
- Create sensory tubs with any ingredients you can spare and hide toys inside the tubs.
- Drive cars over the draining board bumps.
- Hide toys in the cupboards for a treasure hunt.
- Use the recycling for craft and/or construction.
- Build a cubby using the dining table and chairs.
Whatever the game or activity you and your child engage in, talk about what you see, hear, taste, smell and feel. Ask them to describe what they’re experiencing. Follow your child’s lead and interests; who knows where they will take you and what you may teach each other. If the play gets messy, go with it! You may just be making your child’s fondest memory; let the cleaning wait.
Keep checking in with Playgroup Queensland’s Playgroup at Home webpage for more play-at-home ideas.
Blog by Marnie van der Walt, Playgroup Queensland Community Programs Team