Getting kids involved in the kitchen with short bursts of activity is fantastic. Whether they are happy to sit alongside whoever is preparing the dinner – working (or ‘playing’) with the food for the duration, or whether they are happier popping in and out of the activity, having some ideas up your sleeve is key!
Here are 5 of our favourite food preparation ideas which are brilliant for really developing fine motor skills, growing self confidence and are fun! How wonderful too, for kids to proudly be able to say they’ve helped prepare the food!
Bananas are perfect for bilateral coordination (using two hands together cooperatively) and pincer grasping to peel the banana. To make it easier, I sometimes cut or start the pieces off for Master 3 to complete. Apart from the skin, the little stringy bits are so great for little fingers to peel away! It works on tactile discrimination – identifying, holding and carefully peeling with just the right pressure and force, without ripping/breaking the pieces. One banana for a snack or a whole bunch for a fruit salad or pavlova… super portable and easy.
OK, so our boy finds this so much fun and often helps himself to a brown paper bag at the shops and starts filling it spontaneously (whether we need mushrooms or not!). Carefully holding the main part of the mushroom in one hand and the stalk in the other – then twisting and pulling the stalk out, followed by repetitive and careful peeling of the skin.
Rinsing the strawberries in water, then gathering all the green top leafy parts in the fingers of one hand, and the strawberry in the other hand – and twisting! B still needs a bit of help with tidying up the top – but strawberries are one of his most favourite foods in the world so he’s always excited to help out (and eat on the go) when it is strawberry season!
I usually need to help with peeling the pods open at the moment, but popping the little peas out is spectacular fun! And the best part – all those little muscles of the hand just get to work without any guidance! Brilliant!
Corn is delicious – sure – but getting the outer layers off is such a sensational fine motor, sensory adventure! So many little strands and pieces to grasp and pull away. Kitchen work for adults really is the best play for kids!
My little one and I love cooking and working in the kitchen together. You can see more kitchen fun in our top 5 ways toddlers can learn, play and help in the kitchen post. Do your kiddos get excited about food preparation too? I always enjoy hearing about kids in the kitchen fun, so feel free to leave a note in the comments!
Thanks for visiting Kids Play Space!
happy playing (and cooking)!