In the Kitchen with the Kids

by Stephanie Goins on July 04, 2011

IN THE KITCHEN: Today, as we enter week 2 of our arts & crafts summer, we hope you enjoy this collection of fun toddler activities to do with your child(ren) in the kitchen.

Fun Cooking With KidsShish kabob with the Kids
Shisk kabobs are a great way to encourage the kids to help out with the cooking/preparing of the family meals. Parents do all the cutting work (of course). Give the kids some wooden sticks (found in grocery store) and let them fill them up with all their favorite meats and veggies. And fruit tastes great grilled as well--pineapple, peach, apple, etc. Littler ones will need help so they hurt/stab/poke themselves, but older ages 3 up can do this by themselves. Final step, grill on the outdoor grill or broil in the oven. Our family does this every year on Father’s Day.

Painted Pancakes and Purple Eggs
Just saying it sounds fun! To make the paint for the pancakes, pour a small amount of milk into a bowl, and mix with a few drops of food coloring. Then paint the pancakeswith a clean paint brush. Add a few drops of purple (red/blue) food coloring to your scrambled eggs before cooking, and you've got a very colorful meal.

Green Eggs and Ham
Read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, and then head to the kitchen to make your own. Use spinach or green food coloring to color the eggs. Recite from the book as you cook.

Kitchen Pool Party
This is a fun activity for a cold and wintry day. If you have a little plastic pool, bring it indoors and into the kitchen. Fill with warm water, throw in some pool toys, put on yourbathing suits, and enjoy an indoor pool party in the kitchen.

Cookie Dough Letters
Make or buy cookie dough and shape into letters. Then bake and eat them. Yum! And of course, singing the alphabet song as you cook is a must.

Cooking Fun With KidsMini Math Lesson with Cooking
If your child enjoys helping you in the kitchen, pull up a chair and let him help. Allow him to measure, stir, and pour out all the ingredients for the banana bread, brownies,peanut butter cookies, etc. This is also a great place to sneak in a mini-math lesson.

Swimming Fishies
Put baking soda, vinegar, water, and raisins in a bowl and watch the raisins swim up and down.

Pudding Finger Painting
Paint with pudding. Make two or three batches to provide color variety (chocolate, lemon, vanilla, pistachio). Your child will literally eat this idea up!

Coloring Water
Put lots of different clear glass bowls around the kitchen. Allow your child to color the water with food coloring and then make new colors (yellow and blue make green, etc.) using droppers, medicine syringes, spoons, measuring cups... the gamut. At the end, it's all brown, but it's fun along the way. It usually spills all over the kitchen floor, so a bonus is... a clean floor!

Spice-Rack Sniff Test
Get a variety of spices from your spice-rack and smell all of them. For each, talk about what smells good, what smells bad, what the smells make you think of, how you would describe them, what you cook with each kind of spice, etc. Then make something yummy... like cinnamon toast!

Smell Test
Go through your kitchen and find several different food items (with distinct odors). Place in cups, cover with aluminum foil, and poke small holes in the aluminum. Then perform a smell test. Have your child write down or draw a picture of what he thinks the items are. Finally... reveal!

Taste Test
Go through the pantry and refrigerator/freezer and collect a dozen edible items that your child is familiar with. Lay them all out on a tray or in bowls on a tray and cover with a towel. Use a blindfold or just have your child close his eyes as you place the item in his mouth. (You’ll be amazed at what they are and are not able to recognize or what they dislike—ketchup, for example, loved by the most kids as a condiment is almost always spit out with fervent disgust in a blindfolded taste test in my experience). Food item ideas: salt, ketchup, lemon juice, cereal, ice, popsicle, any fruit, salad dressing, cheese, yogurt, milk, juice, bananas, tomatoes, left-overs. After each you can discuss why and how they make their guess (sweet or salty taste, texture, temperature, feel of item in mouth, smell, etc.)

Make goop together. Use one part cornstarch, one part water, and food coloring if you wish. Mix it and enjoy the unique properties of this odd mixture!

Cornmeal Dough
No cooking required. Mix together 1.5 cups flower, 1 cup salt, 1.5 cups cornmeal, and 1 cup water. Mix well and form smooth dough.

Kool-Aid Dough
Mix 2.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 2 packs unsweetened Kool-Aid. Add 3 tablespoons oil and 2 cups boiling water. Once it is cool, mix well with your hands. It smells good but no eating!

Homemade Finger Paints
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 2 cups cold water, 1/4 clear dishwashing liquid, and food coloring paste.

Kitchen Sink Entertainment
To keep your child busy while cooking dinner, give him a couple plastic cups and spoons and let him play in the kitchen sink with water. Of course please ensure that he won’t be able to fall out and hurt himself.

Rainbow CrayonsRainbow Crayons
Peel old, broken crayons and put the pieces into an old muffin tin lined with aluminum foil. Cook at 300 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Melt them enough to blend the colors but not to the degree that they liquefy and turn into brown sludge. Let cool for 30 minutes, pop out, and draw.

5 Minute Ice Cream
Make homemade ice cream in five minutes in a plastic storage baggie. You'll need: 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup milk or half & half, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 6 tablespoons rock salt, 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag, 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag, and ice cubes.

Fill the large bag half full of ice, add the rock salt and seal. In the small bag, put in the milk, vanilla, and sugar and seal. Place the small bag inside the large one and seal it again carefully. Shake until the mixture turns into ice cream (about 5 minutes). Open carefully, and enjoy.

Pantry Pictures
Glue cereal pieces or other dry foods you have in your pantry to construction paper to create pictures out of them. Use Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Pops, pretzel sticks/rounds or other shapes of pretzels, spaghetti, elbow pasta or other pasta shapes, beans, candy likefruit chews, raisins, etc. Your creativity is the limit here. Make caterpillars, trains, airplanes, butterflies, flowers, robots, or your child's favorite animal. And finally you can hang up as wall décor in the kitchen or child’s bedroom.

Pour, Explore and Play
Give your child some plastic bowls filled with flour, rice, popcorn, etc. Also provide extra bowls, a sieve, a funnel, spoons, etc. and let him pour, explore and play to his heart's content. For easy clean up, do this activity on a large piece of plastic on the floor.