Life with kids can get messy. I’ve had to curb my neat freak ways and let the blocks (and Lego pieces and dolls and picture books) fall where they may. My kitchen these days looks like a toy store exploded and honestly, I’m ok with it. As long as the bulk of it stays off the floor so I don’t trip while carrying a pot a boiling spaghetti water, I’m good.
We have a “choice board” posted in the kitchen. This is where Avery’s activities are displayed for the day. This way she knows what to expect. It also helps to build language skills and provides her with choices. There’s rarely a day when she doesn’t select “kitchen play” as one of her free choice activities.
Here’s the thing, kids learn by playing. Imaginations come to life in the kitchen and all children benefit from role playing and imitating. Children, like Avery, who have speech delays benefit even more. We set up a play kitchen IN our kitchen. It’s fully stocked with plastic dishes, utensils, pots and pans and plastic food of every description.
When I’m in the “big” kitchen preparing a meal..what? I do so cook!…Avery is often right next to me in her “wittle” kitchen making noodles or soup or corn on the cob with ketchup and grapes. Take that Iron Chef!
She talks her way around her kitchen, naming items and actions as she goes. When I mix, she mixes. When I turn on the tap, she turns on her faucet and pretends to fill up a cup.
Her favourite kitchen item by far is “Cook and Play Potsy“. We got this new toy at a LeapFrog event a few months ago and she hasn’t stopped playing with it since. Interactive toys like this encourage and facilitate language development. She doesn’t care about that mind you, she just loves playing with Potsy and giggles at the cute sounds he makes. I love how she busily mixes away at the stove and looks at me when “Potsy” exclaims her meal is “Ready!” None of my pots tell me when the food is ready or make fun little dingy sounds. My pots just boil over or start to smoke. Hopefully Avery won’t inherit MY culinary skills…
So yes, my kitchen looks like it belongs in Toys-r-Us but…when my little girl ends up on “Top Chef” one day, it’ll be all worth it.