August 6, 2012

Pretend Cooking with Food Scraps

Make Believe Cooking


One of the posts in my Child's Play 101 series was Fun with Food.  I wrote about the benefits of allowing children to play with food and included suggestions for minimizing waste.  I was inspired by many of the posts in the round up to set aside food scraps and set up an invitation for J-Bug (3) to play chef using really food.  Both older boys help me in the kitchen almost daily, and I've set up many pretend cooking invitations.  In the past I've shied away from using real food, because of the waste factor.  For this I planned ahead and saved scraps until I had enough to set up on our sensory table.


Ingredients:

  • coffee grounds from our Day and Night Sensory Bins
  • grapes that were shriveled and wrinkly
  • stems from Swiss chard
  • basil scraps
  • expired buttermilk (It was expired but not so old that I was worried if J-Bug tasted it.)
  • sprinkles for decorating cookies that had been in the pantry for a few years untouched
  • apples from our tree that had fallen to the grass
  • spices that we have had since we got married almost six years ago (We were given a wonderful spice rack, and we've used and refilled most of the spices. There are a few that we haven't touched.)
  • shaving cream (J-Bug never touched the shaving cream, and I'm really glad. He ended up tasting his concoction as he mixed, so thankfully the shaving cream wasn't in it.)



He said he needed water for his cooking, so he filled up the mixing bowl in the play pool.


Then he furiously got to work mixing up the food.  The intensity with which he plays always astounds me.


He added each ingredient with purpose and mixed to perfection.


Mm who doesn't love the smell of basil?


As J-Bug worked he talked continuously, explaining each step as he mixed.


I had to laugh when he added the spices.  He kept saying they were gross, but he continued to shake more and more into the bowl.


As I said, he tasted his concoction each time he added more ingredients.  I'm sure you won't be surprised to read that the sprinkles were his favorite.  


Surprisingly, he did not touch the coffee grounds until the very end.  He dumped the buttermilk mixture into the sensory bin full of grounds and said he was done.


Then he "did the dishes".


 For more ideas using food follow my Fun with Food board on Pinterest.

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We did this in early July, and J-Bug has asked to play pretend cooking many times since then.  It is so easy to save random bits and scraps while cooking then leave them out in a few inexpensive containers to let him mix and play.  This is such a wonderful sensory and imaginative activity for little hands.

Yogurt Spice Painting  Painting Rainbows with Marshmallows  Autumn Jello Sensory Bin

15 comments:

  1. I love this! My two year old son loves to help me cook and bake and he also pretends to make things with play food and imaginary ingredients. I never would have thought to save scraps of actual food for him though. I'm going to head to the kitchen now and see what odd scraps I can put aside for him to play with tomorrow.

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  2. I love this! My two year old son loves to help me cook and bake and he also pretends to make things with play food and imaginary ingredients. I never would have thought to save scraps of actual food for him though. I'm going to head to the kitchen now and see what odd scraps I can put aside for him to play with tomorrow.

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  3. I love this! My two year old son loves to help me cook and bake and he also pretends to make things with play food and imaginary ingredients. I never would have thought to save scraps of actual food for him though. I'm going to head to the kitchen now and see what odd scraps I can put aside for him to play with tomorrow.

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  4. another great idea! :)
    Steiger loves to help me cook for real... but I like this idea! :)

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  5. Allison, you are amazing. This is such a fun idea. Biscuit and I will try this for sure.

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  6. My 4 & 6 yr old boys love pretend cooking w/ real food too!! I haven't used old food, but just little bits of different ingredients from my pantry (rice, oats, spices, coffee & tea, different pasta shapes, potatoes, beans & nuts). One time I gave them flour and water to make their own dough... they loved it!!

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  7. Love it! We love to play with our food. This is a great idea, we havent played like this yet:-) FSPDT

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  8. I love to use up my out of date pantry stuff this way! haha. Waste not want not and kids just love getting serious about it and being completely in control which doesn't often happen if you are cooking a real recipe with them. Looks like your son had a great time! :)

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  9. what a way to use those out dated pantry items before chucking them in the trash! my little girls (who loves to help me in the kitchen) would love this - thanks for sharing

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  10. haha! I love how he did the dishes. So cute. Really great idea to use food scrapes. The sprinkles are a little too tempting for my kids. Thanks for linking up at Mom's Library!

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  11. I love this! My 20 month old loves to help me cook. Her favorite is mixing all the ingredients together. She would absolutely love this!!

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  12. wow! i never would've thought of this! aside from beans and rice in sensory bins, we don't do much with food, either. and then, we use and reuse it over and over again. thanks again for linking up!

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  13. I've been giving my son old grains and legumes to play with in the kitchen, but this takes it to a whole new level! Great idea!

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  14. I remember when my oldest (now 17yo) was about 2, my friend let her empty out spice and jelly jars, dump flour and applesauce and who knows what else into a bowl and mix and mix. they baked up the concoction and she was so pleased with herself :) thanks so much for linking up to #kidsinthekitchen

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  15. Hmmm, what an interesting idea! Looks like he had a great time with it!

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