I always keep getting questions from parents like my child is 2 or 3 years old. What activities should I start with him? What is the reason behind asking for these childhood development activities? All the parents want their child to be able and excellent in the future. It can be related to academics and practical life. Without a doubt, what I say is you will not get any better activities than what you do around the house and especially the kitchen. The kitchen is like a master area where you can always find something for your child to do at all times. You are cooking? Ask your child to tag along. You are cleaning? Ask your child to clean with you. Yes! The work in the house and kitchen are the best activities you can help your child do. Fun kitchen activities for toddlers have been shown to help your child develop in a wholesome way. Importantly, right from physical to emotional growth can be encouraged in your kitchen.
Do you need to buy any special items for these kitchen activities for preschoolers? Absolutely no! You can work with whatever you have. Whip up an activity with whatever is easily available in front of you. Even so, you might have questions like “How does it benefit your child?”, “What areas of development are focused in the kitchen?”, “Is there anything better?”. Let me answer all these questions as you read. Firstly, let’s see why activities in the kitchen are important for your child.
Why Kitchen? Which Areas Of Development Do Kitchen Activities For Toddlers Focus on?
Kitchen activities are crucial because it focuses on your child’s development. What areas does it focus on? Almost all. How do these activities nurture a child’s overall development?
Kitchen activities for toddlers provide a sensory experience
The kitchen is one place where all your senses are explored at the same time. Yes! You can smell, touch, feel, and see the beauty in your kitchen. The variety of ingredients in the kitchen are the simplest exposure to one’s senses. Your toddler needs all the sensory experience he can from around the house. It helps him develop his senses optimally. Children delight in these senses. Have you ever noticed your son loves smelling roses kept on the kitchen counter?
The kitchen is the hotspot for language development
How many items are there in your kitchen and pantry? Indeed, if you start naming all of them how many items and names would you be listing? Many! A toddler is like a sponge. He will absorb every word you tell him. When you name a certain thing, it gets registered in the brain. He may or may not use it immediately, but it is recorded. My son heard me say “Asafoetida” when we were cooking together. Now it has become his favorite word.
Kitchen is a treat to your child’s eyes
So many colorful items like vegetables, groceries, fruits. The kitchen offers a lot of visual stimulation to your child. Now visual stimulation comes from everything around the kitchen. A child’s eye is observing how the cabinet door closes on its own once you just give it a push. How the fruits are looking with each other. An apple looks great next to a banana. What a color combination. Pulses and grains look so smooth, would they be smooth to touch. Mama is moving so swiftly around and making yummy food. All this is visual stimulation which can be provided mostly with kitchen activities for toddlers.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills Development happens during these fun kitchen activities for toddlers
Yes! In a kitchen, you need to use all your physical skills. Everything from fine to gross motor skills is targeted. For a child, fine motor skills are picking up some small object, working with fine things. The gross motor can be moving something from one place to another. Every activity here helps target your child’s physical skills.
Kitchen is a great place for emotions
I have met people who cook when they are stressed or need a break. The kitchen is like their safe haven. They love the memories they make with the food. A mother who cooks food for her family does so with love. A kitchen is a place where all the nurturing happens.
Cognitive skills are encouraged in the kitchen activities for toddlers
Any kitchen activity can help boost thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, and memory in your child. Teachers suggest getting your child to help you in the kitchen on a daily basis, mostly because they know how it helps develop all the above in an excellent way.
We have seen what are the benefits of kitchen activities for toddlers. Consequently, let’s see what are the activities you can do with your toddler. Trust me your child has fun doing most of these things. You just need to say it once, they would be running to help you anyway. Children of this age love helping their mothers and take some responsibility. It is to be noted that you shouldn’t be forcing your child into anything. If asking for help does not work. Please try some other way to get them involved in the below activities. If children see you having fun, they are not going to be far behind.
Fun Kitchen Activities For Toddlers
Name Calling – Childhood development activity without an expiry
Call out names of everything in sight. You can continue this childhood language development activity like for as long as your child is interested. I mean by age. You can begin it with a toddler and extend it for as many years as your child is interested in building his vocabulary or skills. At a time 5 or 6 should be enough for toddlers. Too many names can overwhelm them. Let your child say the name if he has started talking. If not, encourage your toddler to talk using their favorite ingredients like ice cream, fruits, etc.
Sorting the vegetables
Best available sorting game in the market. Ask your child to sort vegetables, sort grocery packets, sort fruits. Anything that requires sorting and the child would love to be your help in such colorful matters.
Cleaning the vegetables – Water based kitchen activity for toddlers
Get your child to clean the vegetables. A child loves to be around water and play with water. The best idea to channel this energy is to ask your child to clean the vegetables by washing them and wiping them. Do not overburden your child. Offer only a few items to wash.
Colour sorting game with vegetables
Once the vegetables are cleaned, you can ask your child to sort out the vegetables into vegetable bags. You can do this as an independent activity if your child is not in the mood to clean it.
Explore your senses with kitchen ingredients – Sensory kitchen activities for toddlers
Help your child explore his senses by letting him touch and feel your kitchen ingredients. Let your child feel the coolness of the flour. Sesame seeds are like small balls against his hands. Some fruits have watery insides. Chapati or Tortilla Dough is like real life play dough. Let your child smell cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla beans.
You can stimulate your baby’s senses right from the beginning. It is very helpful in your child’s overall development.
Washing lentils – Another one of water based kitchen activities for toddlers
My son specifically loves this. He loves washing lentils with me. The texture exposes his hands to and the coolness of water is fun for him. Similarly, you can offer a variety of exposure to water and washing activities based on your child’s preference.
Practice pouring with your child
Tell me one child who doesn’t love pouring. This is an amazing activity. Almost works with every child. I have not met one child who says no to pouring. Make a special poring station for your child (preferably somewhere near you, so you can keep looking out of the corner of your eye). What do you need to keep at this pouring station? Items for actual pouring, a sponge or a wiping cloth, a tray to do the pouring on to collect spilled water. Alternatively, you can ask your child to fill water bottles while pouring. These are simple ways of teaching your child how to take care of himself. It is a way of making your toddler independent. This also works for me when I want to distract and reduce my toddler’s whining.
Vessels can be our nesting dolls
Once upon a time when my child was one year old and started walking, his favorite pastime place was the kitchen. He had only limited toys then. For this reason, he would always walk towards the kitchen and start banging the vessels, nesting games with vessels. Keeping the smaller vessels in the bigger vessels. We got those Russian dolls much later. Try this activity with your child for sure. More importantly, this activity is suitable for infants and toddlers too.
Cap Matching Activity
Another one of the fun kitchen activities for toddlers and infants is matching caps. Keep a few bottles and their caps mixed up in a pile. Let your child try combinations. Here your toddler focuses on shapes, colors, and combinations to find the solution to his problem. To clarify, can you see cognitive development is happening in front of you.
Making dough – One of the messy and fun kitchen activities for toddlers
Many children love it when their mamas are mixing dough. To see how flour and water get mixed to become dough is exciting. If you offer your child a chance for doing it. I am sure the answer will never be a No. If your child is one of the kids who do not like the messiness, do not force. Try to make the activity likable. Do it together. Make it fun. If parents love it, most often children will love it. Remember the mess can be cleaned later, but the sensory exposure in this childhood development activity is too much to be left out for the messiness.
Cutting softer fruits
There is no harm in your toddler using a butter knife while being careful. Help your child cut softer fruits like bananas, kiwis, avocado using a butter knife. If you observe carefully, your child will be very cautious. Encourage such endeavors, you will soon have a child who butters his own bread. It is one of the kitchen activities for toddlers that focuses on gross and fine motor skills.
Ask your child to be your cooking partner
Request your child to become your cooking assistant or partner for the day. Ask him to pass you items like spoons, ladles, ingredients, etc. A child loves to be a part of creating something, especially food. This way your child will learn his way around the kitchen while watching you. Soon you might find a toddler or your child wants to cook on his own. As a rule, observe your child if cooking on heat is involved. Observe your child for his interests. Moreover, try to make it more interesting for him and help him boost his childhood development.
Cooking – Independent kitchen activities for toddlers
Every child loves cooking. I have read many tips from bloggers for picky eaters. They suggest cooking as a tip to love the food he makes. Sometimes, it might help him eat the food better. My son loves making sabzis that he likes to eat. Rolling his chapatis on the rolling pin, pouring his dosa in whichever shapes he wants. All these are his favorite and fun kitchen activities.
Sorting groceries and shifting
I bring groceries on a weekly basis. So every week I have a work of sorting out the groceries, putting them away into respective boxes, and keeping them back on the shelf. My child loves this. He is always around sorting the groceries. Bringing me the grocery packets to put into boxes. He feels accomplished when he lifts heavy packets and boxes. What happens is when sometimes while cooking, I ask him “Where is this ingredient?”. He will be ready to guide me to the box we put in. Definitely, you should try this with your child. You can put this into regular childhood development activities.
Shopping – Most fun kitchen activities for toddlers
Vegetable shopping or grocery shopping is fun with toddlers. Take your child out to get fresh vegetables. Let him observe along the way. Let him observe how you speak to the vendor. The concept of shopping makes it fun for children. They are keen on observing how you need to pay money for items you need. These simple activities can help you prepare your toddler for preschool.
Children love baking
Baking is an amazing experience. It involves amazing ingredients. And the result of baking is even more satisfying. The smell of freshly baked bread or cake is captivating. Most children love baking because it involves whisking, mixing, adding some yummy ingredients. Involve your child in development activities in the kitchen since childhood to expose his senses and encourage overall development.
Play a tasting game – Infant suitable childhood development activities
Let your child explore all sorts of tastes available in your kitchen. You can offer a variety of tastes in the food itself. Fruits, vegetables, salts, sugar, etc whatever is available can be used. This activity for toddlers can be started as soon as your baby is on solids.
Dusting and Cleaning kitchen
Dusting the kitchen and cleaning the kitchen involves a lot of childhood physical development activity for your child. Provide a cloth and water spray which is easily available for your child anytime he prefers to help you clean the kitchen. Importantly, the items being available easily helps build independence in children.
Let them play with water in the kitchen
This would be the child’s most favorite of all fun kitchen activities for toddlers. A chance to play with water, feel it and explore it. My observation is that water calms a child in ways many things cannot. It might be most helpful in calming the overenergetic children. Allow water to play in the kitchen with limited water. You might also want to inculcate the value of water in your child. Allow free play. This means to allow your child to explore and play as he wants. Admittedly, unstructured playtime is equally important for childhood development.
Watch a certain simple recipes with your child and try to recreate it
Screen time is now a part of children’s lives. Use this screentime constructively. Try and watch simple recipes with your child. Let him choose what he wants to cook with you. Together try to recreate the dish you have selected. Once done, it will be most satisfying for you and your toddler to eat the food you cooked together. After eating you can even go ahead and discuss how things were done and which was his favorite part. It is an amazing idea to get your toddler to talk and connect with you. This is an amazing and interactive part of childhood development.
All said I know you want to keep your child occupied and busy. However, what is more, important is this nurturing your baby? I always say parents are the best judge of what suits their child better. You can take any of these activities, adjust them to suit your child’s needs and development. As every child is not the same, every baby meets the milestones at different times. It is crucial to change the activity according to your child. These activities are a way of nurturing your child in the best possible ways. Please make sure it is not over stimulating or too much for your child. Indeed it is okay even if you are unable to have fun activities for toddlers. Your child will progress at his own speed and at his own time.
Every child is different and his needs are different. In summary, the kitchen is about
“A pinch of patience, A dash of kindness, a spoonful of laughter, and a heap of love.”Unknown