Friday, May 14, 2010

Busy Children in the Kitchen

I just got back from watching Babies -- what a lovely experience! It was fascinating to watch little ones being raised in such different cultural settings. And, of course, there were lots of little chubby bums and round faces!

Anyhow, the film reminded me that I've been meaning to ask you all for tips about keeping children happy and busy while dinner is being prepared. Most of us are probably involving children in the cooking. Are there any kitchen tasks that your children particularly relish that we may not have tried yet? And what else are they up to, aside from cooking and cleanup? I haven't tried letting my children make potions or doughs of their own design yet. Any ideas about how to make potions more manageable in terms of wasted food and big messes?

Here's a list of what has been helping me get the job done lately. Please, please post your own tips here, too!
  • Washing windows with a spray bottle of vinegar and water
  • Washing up the dishes, at the sink or (for variety) in a dish tub set out on a towel on the kitchen floor (I have to vary the scrubbing tools periodically to keep their interest up)
  • Playing ice cube hockey with a tray of cubes for each boy and a couple of wooden spoons (they also love to scrub the floor with a big scrub brush and then dry it with towels at the end of the game...most of the time)
  • Watering plants with a spray bottle on the mist setting
  • Restaurant play (props include carbon copy receipt pad, boxes with tea towels over them for tables, and lots of onions and potatoes from an easily-reached basket)
  • Paper route play inspired by Dav Pilkey's book Paperboy (rolling up sheets of newspaper and securing with rubber band, filling bag, deliveries on vehicle, etc.)
  • Cracking nuts
  • Simple independent outside chore for older child (feeding hens, picking herbs, borrowing something from or delivering something to next door neighbor, etc.)

1 comment:

  1. those are great tasks in themselves! we do alot of those as well. we also:
    -have her help with easy cutting with a dull knife
    -have her do chalk board art (easel is in the kitchen)
    -play dough
    -set her up with an art project of some sort
    -basic chores (sweep, wash down cabinets/fridge-she loves it!, fold clothes,
    clean up her toys, etc)
    -have her right next to me helping...stirring, mixing, checking, etc...she adores helping

    any other ideas i would love as well.