It’s that time of year again. The darker nights have arrived, the days are feeling colder and if you’re anything like me, you have already been reacquainted with your hot water bottle on more than one occasion! It also means that the ever popular, Great British Bake Off has returned to our screens.
We may not be in the company of Mary Berry or Mel and Sue this year but I’m actually quite liking the new Channel 4 setup. And for once the ad breaks are welcome opportunity to nip and get some cake that the whole programme usually gets me craving!
Watching the Great British Bake Off whilst surrounded by toys that I’ve yet to put away from Little Man’s after school play session, got me thinking. My mini human loves to play kitchens. As I did when I was small. I vividly remember pretending to have a cafe – originally called Jaki’s Cafe (I was small, don’t judge!) I loved playing waitress and pretending to cook up a storm in my play kitchen and so does my Little Man. And there are many benefits to this too.
Learning different foods
Obviously, this is a given. If you are anything like us, you have a box full of pretend food that goes with the play kitchen. From an early age, this helped us teach Little Man the different types of food and what type of food they are. It can help with learning colours too.
It’s a numbers game
Counting out plates, cups, knives, forks and spoons. Asking for more than one sugar in my pretend cup of tea. It’s all of these little things that contribute to your child learning about numbers, in a way that they don’t even know that they are doing it.
Sharing the load
More often than not, play kitchens are cropping up in play areas around the country, in nurseries and in schools. It’s a given then that children will need to share the load in the busy play kitchen. We have a great one in our local Jungle Town. A play area for kids that is totally focused on role play. The kids have to share in this kind of environment. The interaction that kids get will strengthen their sharing skills.
Does your kid hate putting his toys away as much as mine? Having a play kitchen can be great in teaching them the importance of keeping organised. Little Man loves putting all the right things in the right cupboards. The veggies in one tub, the fruit in another, and so on and so forth. This will, with a bit of luck, instil in them the importance of this in other areas of their life, in the future as they grow up.
Well when you’ve cooked all that food, of course, you need to wash up the pots and the pans. They get this! And I actually think Little Man spends more time pretend washing up than anything else! From time to time when I’m feeling brave we’ll get mild soapy water out and give his kitchen a good wash down too. Doing this early encourages them to learn about the need to keep everything clean.
I honestly thought that play kitchens were all just another toy. Just something else that the kids want to pretend to be adults. But in actual fact, they are so much more than that. As this post shows. If you’ve not got one and really like the idea, take a look at PreciousLittleOne. They have a huge selection available.
It doesn’t have to stop there though does it? Most kids love getting messy in the kitchen with a great bake-off of their own! Why not be brave and make some cakes with them. Go on, let them stir up the mixture. Let them lick the icing bowl, every now and again doesn’t hurt. It’s a great way to bond with your kids and it might even get them eating food that they weren’t interested in before. Don’t worry about the mess, it can be cleaned up easily and in no time at all. Make the memories with your kids and with a bit of luck they’ll grow up remembering all the fun times you had in your very own bake off kitchen!