Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kitchen Play: What Happens While I am Cooking


Baby T Stacking Wooden Shapes
Often the kids love to help me out in the kitchen, as you've seen in the previous recipe post. But honestly, that's not a picture of our 'everyday'. What do most days look like? The kids entertaining themselves in the vicinity of the kitchen while I make a quick meal or prep food for the next day. 

For the most part they find something to do on their own, I don't go out of my way to find something for them to entertain themselves with. It's good to just let them be. Not to schedule anything for them and not to plop them in front of a screen (which I do anyway). It helps that we have no TV downstairs anywhere near the kitchen. So they don't have a choice but to entertain themselves while I'm cooking or washing dishes. Here are some things they love to do, in no particular order...

Role play. Baby E is the instigator in this, and Baby T happily plays along even though he doesn't always 'get it'. Princess and knight. Dog and cat. Sun and moon. Mom and baby. Shop keeper and customer. Horse and rider. Broken car and a mechanic. Doctor and patient. Two musicians. Two cars going through a car wash. It's endless really, I just love seeing what they come up with. The amazing thing is that it's so real to them when they play. They take play very seriously!

Making 'music' with my bracelets!
Innovative musical inventions. You know kids, they'll make a toy out of anything. Well, my kids will make a musical toy out of anything. Music is in their blood (grandparents, great grandparents, many musicians on both sides of the family). This was a couple of months ago, Baby E dug up some of my jewelry and there were 2 bracelets there with dangles that make noise. They put them on their feet and danced away for a good 20 minutes - making 'music' and singing. Made my day! I love watching what they come up with and how carefree it is to be their age. They never get tired of making instruments out of random objects.


Forts. Castles. Villas. Tents. This is what kids do, they build shelters of all sorts. There is one in the background of the photo above. Although they have some actual tents to play with (like this one and this one), they will almost always choose to build something instead. After I bought a set of clamps, with the intention of using them for photography, of course they use them for securing their forts instead. Six clamps, 3 chairs, and a full or queen size sheet is all they need for hours of play.

Artistic endeavors. This is where they need a watchful eye from me. Although Baby E can mostly draw and paint without me next to her, Baby T cannot be trusted! Two year olds and art supplies, I'm sure you understand. So for the most part I just give him a box of crayons or pencils, putting the markers and paints out of reach. He can never draw for longer than five minutes, so he usually finds something else to do while his sister draws.

Dress up. Despite the fact I've never bought them any official 'dress up clothes', they always find something to dress up with. They dig into my collection of scarves and shawls. Baby E tries on my shoes. Baby T tries on her shoes. She puts one of her dresses on him. You know, nothing out of the ordinary. I always admire the 'play clothes' I see, always wanted to get a set of play silks for them, but never could justify spending money on that since it's not a 'need'. Maybe someday, for now they are content with whatever they can find in our closets.

Build. I don't like plastic toys. But I'm not ashamed to share my love for Legos. That love quickly turns to hate when you are walking down to the kitchen at 6 am and step on a lone Lego, but I digress. I don't mind the Duplos as much (they have this set and this one as gifts from grandparents, including our beloved grandpa George). The big ones don't get stuck in every couch crevice, or pose danger to the vacuum cleaner. I did however buy this set for Baby E when Baby T was little, I would spend so much time nursing the new baby, she needed something to keep her busy and she loves this set. It still gets played with almost daily and thankfully Baby T is at the point where he doesn't put anything in his mouth, so I don't have to constantly hide it. Of course they don't just build with Legos! We have plenty of wooden blocks available for them to build with, surprisingly neither of the sets we have are something I bought - this one was a prize and this was a gift.

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This isn't an exhaustive list by all means. They always come up with something new, we all know that. My goal is to not stifle their innovative hearts, but for them to continue inventing as they grow into adults. Sometimes I just need to watch them play and remember not to take things too seriously.

What do your kids do while you're in the kitchen? 




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