Easy Pretend Play: Baking!
There's something about simple, imaginative play that I find absolutely irresistible, and the simpler - the better! What do I mean by simple? ... quick, easy, cheap, 'no-fuss' set ups with just enough to spur on kids' pretend play.
B (3 years), has always loved cooking activities, and recently he and I had fun making cupcakes together - that is, real cupcakes in our real kitchen. When he announced the next morning that he wanted to make cupcakes again - I stupidly started explaining how we already had plenty of left over cupcakes, and that I had lots of other jobs to do (true story!) ... and that, my friends, was my "silly mama!" moment, because I quickly realised, he had no intention of actually making real cupcakes... and here's how his child-led activity idea oozed with imaginative play opportunities - quite simply!!1. A couple of muffin trays and cupcake holders/cases were gathered (at B's request). That's it. No need for anything else. I did show him how they hide in a pile and that they need to be separated carefully. Then it was time to step back and leave him to it.
I couldn't help but admire the beautiful, simple, careful, dynamic finger movements working to separate the paper cases and spontaneous bilateral hand coordination, placing the cases in the muffin tray holes.
Once the trays were prepared, they were taken to the cardboard box stove cooker (although previously B has used the floor under the little table as an oven, as well as the shelf in our TV unit. He helped himself to my oven mit/glove in the kitchen, and carefully and safely moved the 'hot' trays in and out of his oven to check the progress of the cupcakes!
2. It was soon time to make a fresh batch of cakes (I tell you, this kiddo was whipping them up like no-one's business!) So, out came a mixing bowl, spoon, spatula and a few (pretend) food items (as well as a cutting board and (play) knife) to add some yummy, fruity flavours to the cakes. After a bit, he also chose to bring out and add into his cupcake mix some recycled containers I'd previously collected - lemon juice, vanilla, baking powder, 1/2 dozen eggs carton...
3. All that was left to do was invite a friend (Dino) to join the head chef at the table for some cooking fun and delicious cupcake tastings:-)
No expensive toys, fancy play kitchens, or tedious/messy set ups. Simple.
Do your kids love playing pretend cooking with bits and bobs from your 'real' kitchen too?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to check out:
Five Ways Toddlers can Learn, Play and Help in the Kitchen
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