By Caira-lee Durand
Having your kids in the kitchen with you while you prepare supper doesn’t always have to be as frustrating and distracting as some find it to be. Sure, it might take a bit longer to have dinner ready, but it can be a great way to bond with them and you could get them involved in some of the preparations too.
Things to keep in your kitchen
A play-mat for the smaller ones with soft toys.
Invest in a kid’s kitchen-set. It’s a great way to encourage your children’s role-playing skills while they imitate you as you cook.
Music: set aside a CD or a few selected songs on your ipod that only get played in the kitchen.
Nine creative DIY activities
- Pasta and string: Teach your kids to thread string through tubes of uncooked penne pasta to make necklaces, bracelets or headpieces.
- DIY racetrack: Grab some trays, flour and some old toy-cars and let your kids make patterns as they move their small cars through the flour. (A bit of a messy one, but if there’s no water involved, a quick vacuum after the races and you’re ready to serve supper).
- Tin foil and toys: Show them how to wrap different objects like plastic balls, cutlery or other safe household items. For the bigger kids, encourage them to make their own shapes or animals out of tin foil.
- Mini-chef: If you have a kid’s-kitchen-set, get the kids to ‘make dinner’ using their own imaginary ingredients. If you’re not afraid of mess, give them pots and pans and some water and let them transfer water from pot to pot. If you think they’re able to, get them to help you with time-consuming preparations like mashing the potato or laying the table.
- Musical instruments: Make your own drum-kit using empty pots and spoons. Or grab an empty water bottle, fill it with rice and close the top to make a shaker. Suggest that they start their own band while you get on with the cooking.
- Paint with water: Set aside a couple of clean paintbrushes and show the kids how to paint the fridge door, or windows with water. No mess, no fuss.
- Real dough: Instead of playdough, have a batch of edible dough for the kids to shape into whatever they feel like making. Cookie cutters are also an idea and a great way to practice fine-motor skills. When they’re done with their creations, pop the dough in the oven for them to have after dinner.
- Kitchen games: Select certain food-groups like vegetables and fruits and instruct the children to choose five types of food from each food group. If that doesn’t keep them busy for long, get them to draw two of their most preferred foods from the five that they selected. “I spy with my little eye” never gets old, neither does the “do not laugh game”.
- Tupperware stacking: Get your Tupperware out and let the kids build houses, castles or cities by stacking Tupperware. Suggest that they match up the lids to the correct box.
What ideas do you have to keep the kids entertained in the kitchen?