There’s one room in the house that mystifies and amazes small children.
To these knee-high toddlers, there are drawers and cabinets that open and shut, shiny bowls and utensils, running water and sometimes steam emanating from the stove-top. It’s also a place where toddlers can have the most … fun (you thought I’d say ‘dangerous,’ didn’t you?).
Here are some easy activities from “The Toddler’s Busy Book” by Trish Kuffner on how to keep toddlers entertained in the kitchen using items you probably already have:
High Chair Fun
What you will need: Short lengths of strong and small toys
What to do: Tie one end of short lengths of string to a few of your child’s toys. Tie or take the other ends to the tray of the highchair. Your little one will enjoy throwing the toys off the highchair tray, then pulling the strings to get them back again!
Warning: Use string that is not long enough to poke a choking hazard and never leave your child unattended in the highchair.
What you will need: Packaged pudding mix
What to do: Prepare packaged pudding mix ahead of time and, when cooled, allow your child to fingerprint on a tabletop, highchair tray, plastic or paper plate, or other smooth surface. This activity may not be suitable before a meal, since there probably won’t be much left to clean up!
What you will need: Small basin of water, vegetable brush or dishcloth, vegetables or fruit to wash, dishtowel for drying
What to do: Fill a small basin with several inches of water. Give your child several pieces of fruit or vegetables to wash in the basin. Your little one may enjoy using a vegetable brush or gently rubbing them with the dishcloth. When they are clean, show them how to dry the fruit or vegetables with a clean dishtowel.
Fun with Water
What you will need: Large plastic basin or bucket, various kitchen utensils, such as spoons, egg beater, whisk and so on, plastic bowls and dishes, small plastic bottles and a funnel
What to do: If you don’t mind water all over the floor, you can use this idea inside. Otherwise, you may want to save it for a not-too-hot day outdoors. Young toddler tend to have more fun dumping the bucket rather than playing with the dishes and utensils, so try using a bucket that, when filled, is too heavy for a toddler to lift. (A large, clean, empty laundry- or dishwasher-detergent container works well). Fill a basin or plastic bucket with warm water and let your child play with spoons, a whisk, an eggbeater and plastic bowls and dishes while you work. Show your little one how to use a funnel to fill a small plastic soda bottle. If playing indoors, a thick towel or an old sheet placed under the basin or bucket will make cleanup a little easier.
What is it?
What you will need: Scarf for blindfolding and various objects to touch, smell and taste
What to do: Challenge your child’s senses by blindfolding him or her and giving objects to identify using the senses of touch, smell and taste. Very young children (or children who object to being blindfolded) can simply close their eyes. Start with something easy, such as banana or cracker. Try nonfood items as well (a feather or favorite toy), and be prepared to take a turn at the challenge yourself.
No-Bake Banana Cookies
What you will need: Graham crackers, rolling pin, Ziploc bag, banana or other fruit
What to do: Place three graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Slice a banana or other fruit into small pieces. Shake a few pieces at a time into the bag to completely coat the fruit. Lay the pieces out on a plate and, if you like, provide a little fork for preparing.
Drown the Penny
What you will need: Paper towel, glass filled with water, pencil, rubber band and penny
What to do: Place the paper towel over the water-filled glass. Wrap a rubber band around the top of the glass to hold the paper towel in place. Place the penny on the paper towel in the center of the glass. Take turns poking holes in the paper towel with the pencil. The game ends when someone drowns the penny by poking the hole that finally makes the penny sink to the bottom of the glass.
What you will need: Large plastic bottle (gallon milk jugs work great), hammer and nail
What to do: This idea may become a real hit around your house ― outside, of course. Use a hammer and nail to poke holes in the bottom of a large plastic bottle. When you’re outside, fill the bottle with water and let your child sprinkle the grass, flowers, sidewalk, driveway and so on.
What you will need: Paper, scissors, pencil, markers or crayons and a 25-cent coin
What to do: Cut a small (4- to 6-inch) square of paper. Place the coin in the middle of the square and trace around it. Draw the eyes above the circle and a mouth below it. Be creative in adding eyelashes, eyebrows or a funny mustache. Cut out the eyes and nose and put the mask on your child’s face by placing the center hole over her nose.