Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pretend Cooking With Real Ingredients

One of the greatest sensory and imaginitive play experiences we do is pretend cooking with real ingredients. I've been doing this with L since he was one. At that age it was very simple...just some noodles, a bowl of water, and some utensils. At age 2 it became more involved with a bigger variety of ingredients. At 2 He loved mixing things in the water and the pretend play was beginning to come into the picture.  At 3 1/2 though, this is so far my most favorite age for this activity! Not only is the fun of mixing things still there, but the pretend play is also now a big part of it. He loves playing chef!

I've also gotten a bit smarter as the years go by on how to deal with the mess of this fun activity!

The Ingredients
Tea bags, salt, coffee, nuts, seeds, crackers, rice,
dried pasta, bread, oatmeal, sweet potato slices, dried beans

A simple dough ball of flour and water.

and the BEST part...confetti eggs!
No, not a "real" ingredient but around Easter time I stock up on these to use throughout the year on all sorts of projects.  I get them at Walmart. It's the fun of cracking eggs and the colorful suprise inside that made this the highlight of the activity. L went through 3 cartons! 

The Setup
I use to just lay out a table cloth with the pots and pans and bowl of water on it. It made a mess but it was manageable. Now though, we have one of those long storage bins and I put the pots and pans in there so for the most part the spills stay contained! It's muuuch easier this way!

He learned how to use a grater

Cracking the confetti eggs were his favorite!

He used the dough to make a pie

and some ice cream for me :)

I really believe this is one of those "must do" with your kids kind of things. It has been so cool to watch how L's play has evolved over the years doing this.
It is truly an amazing sensory and imaginitive play experience!

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  1. What a great activity. Can't wait to try this! Where do you buy your confetti eggs?

  2. I find them at Walmart during Easter. They are pretty cheap so I usually stock up!

  3. This is great! My girls love play cooking but the mess can be pretty awful. I like your system of limiting amounts of ingredients in a muffin pan. This will save my spices from being used up so quickly. Thanks!!!!

  4. I have just come across from "It's Playtime" and I just love this idea. Will definitely be giving this a try with my kids! Thanks x

  5. This is just fabulous! Our pretend play usually uses flour and coloured water and spices etc but I hadn't thought of using some of those ingredients. I will next time for sure! I also have never seen or heard of confetti eggs (and they look SO FUN!) so i'll be looking out for them in Australia or possibly on the web. Thanks :)

  6. My 2.5 year old daughter had an absolute blast with this pretend cooking activity this morning and it kept her busy for a good hour and a half... a record. She is already asking for "more cook, more cook"! I just discovered your blog on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and absolutely love it! In fact, I just wrote a post about how much I love your ideas on my home design / DIY blog, Design Improvised. I encouraged everyone with young kids to check your blog out. Here's the post:

  7. This is all kinds of awesome! Number one on my to do list for the next rainy or cranky day we have. Thanks for sharing! I need to get to Walmart because my Boogie is always "cracking" his plastic eggs against things and pretending stuff comes out. He would be in heaven with confetti eggs!

  8. Awesome! I had totally hit a mental block for how to contain messes during the winter months where we can't just do it all outside you know, will have to try this set up as soon as I can get some great shallow storage bins like this! My little guy will LOVE it.

  9. How creative! This looks like so much fun! I'll have to try this with my son...although he is such a foodie - hopefully he won't try to eat too much! :)

  10. Love this! We do a lot of real cooking but I would love to give Miss 21m some free reign over her own cooking adventure! Will definitely be giving this a try sooN! :) Newest follower of your blog and facebook page! So glad I found yoU! :)

  11. I did this with my son months ago (who knew it was so popular!?) because he wouldn't leave me alone long enough for me to cook dinner. I let him use a lot of pantry items that really should've been replaced ages ago since they do go bad. Wow, was it ever a hit! It was 2 solid hours of my son 'cooking' for me and learning (yes LEARNING) how some things dissolved and others didn't, that baking soda didn't like vinegar, oil doesn't mix well......etc. If you haven't tried this yet you're really missing out! GET GOING!

  12. I can't wait to do this with my kids!! I have a 2 and a 4 year old and not only will it be fun and good for them, but it also beats me leaving the stove every few minutes to check on them. Thank you! I love your ideas


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