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.
- 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.
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.