My son is very very interested in pretend cooking. He’s 19 months old. I am leaning towards getting a play kitchen. But at the same time I am aware that I don’t want to invest in another toy that takes up space and isn’t open ended. Any other ideas to offer the same experience without actually buying a play kitchen?
The Judgemental Mom’s Response:
Let him cook with you.
Show him how to take a piece of bread of out of the bag and put it in the toaster and push it down.
Let him try to butter his toast/crackers, what-have-you. Get him in on baking and mixing – get the the ingredients ready in their own dishes before hand so that when you start you just instruct your LO what to put in first and when to stir. If you’re making muffins or something, let him fill up the muffin tray with the batter he made. Let him help you put away some groceries. If you’re making a can of soup you can show him how to open the can, pour it into the pot, fill the can with water , add it to the pot, stir, then put it on the stove (I would do the stove stuff of course until they’re more familiar).
That sort of thing.
But if this is what you already do, do you have any extra cabinet or drawer space you could make available to him? Something that he could use as a pretend kitchen area for him when he wants to? We happened to have extra space in our kitchen for this, so we dedicated a lower cupboard and two drawers to our little one that he pretends is a fridge and stove. Then we put his table and chairs in there as well so that he could use them as “counter space” when he was in the kitchen-play mood.
If you want to get creative with it, you could even draw and cut out some appliance accents and tape them to the cabinet for added kitchen theme. Like making pretend knobs or fridge handles to put on the draws and cabinet doors. You could even print off pictures of some things and tape them the wall. Utilize a small carboard box and make it into a microwave. All the fancy toys out there do not always satisfy a child’s imagination and creativity! Often it is more fun for them when they get to use the real items in their pretend play.