A couple of months ago I wrote a post sharing ten quotes about the importance of play. Even the simplest play activity can offer a multitude of learning opportunities and our pretend play in the kitchen is a perfect example.
This activity was both an imaginative and sensorial play experience, offering opportunities for fine and gross motor skill development, language development and exploration of early math concepts.
I recently did a big clear out of our pantry. Rather than simply throw away any expired items, I gave them to R (he was 4 yrs old when these photos were taken) to explore. This is one of his favourite games – where he pretends to be the owner of a fabulous restaurant and he prepares a delicious meal for us to share. He was excited to explore all of the interesting ingredients that were available to him. There were so many different textures and smells to investigate especially since most of the expired items in our pantry were interesting herbs and spices.
R just loves any play that includes water so naturally his gourmet recipe called for a generous jug of water. This was a great opportunity to develop fine and gross motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
His recipe also called for a generous pouring of some powdered milk (I have no idea why this was even in our pantry. We don’t drink powdered milk and I cannot at all remember using it in any recipe. This stuff must have been VERY old!) He also used a measuring cup for some of the ingredients, which provided opportunities for some number recognition practise.
Mixing it all together – more gross motor skills being developed. He had a wonderful time mixing his concoction and it was while mixing that R made up stories about his restaurant and talked about how his “soup” smelt, looked and felt – lots of language development was going on as he came up with new words to describe what he was doing.
The finishing touch – a garnish of crunchy rice noodles. While he crushed the noodles between his fingers and dropped them into the mixture, R was practising his fine motor skills, working on the all important pincer grip, and development hand muscle strength (so important for handwriting skills).
Dinner is served! Mmm, yum! We sat together and pretended to eat our soup. It actually smelt pretty wonderful thanks to some jelly crystals that R had added to the mixture but no way were we going to taste it!
Here are some of the other fun imaginative play ideas that we’ve enjoyed recently. Just click on the image to see the full post.
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