Monday, July 11, 2011

Play Cooking Concoctions

My son loves to help me cook.  He also loves to play cooking outside (the only place I let him make a mess).  Recently I found some old wooden salad bowls and spoons in my garage and thought they would be perfect for sensory play.  We've also been saving spice bottles, cheese shakers, and other great plastic food containers for his outdoor kitchen time.  Recently we drug it all out and set it outside on his play table along with colored water, powdered milk, and flour.  Then he mixed and matched until my patio was covered in goo...and so was he.

 I filled one of the spice bottles with colored water.  Michael adds it to the bowl.
 Then he added some powdered milk to the colored water.  
 Michael is a dumper.  He can't just add a little flour to his bowl, he has to dump the whole thing in!  This is especially frustrating when he is playing with water because he hasn't quite learned that a large cup of water won't fit into a smaller cup, so water goes everywhere, and I am constantly refilling his containers.  My consolation is that as he plays, he'll eventually learn this basic math concept.
 Michael tries out the wooden spoon.  
 "Taste" Test
 Dumping some of his concoction into a spice bottle.  
  In the end, his sensory play always comes down to using old medicine dispensers as squirters. 

Learning Benefits:
  • Math: Basic Measurement Concepts
  • Risk Taking
  • Science: Change, Senses, Hypothesizing
  • Imagination!   
Do you have an outdoor play kitchen or messy play area?  If not, they are easy to create and can cost you $0 to very little $$.  Most children don't even care if they have a table to play on; a spot in the grass or dirt works just as well!

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas:
  • Plastic yogurt containers (large and small)
  • Parmesan cheese shaker
  • Old spice bottles
  • Juice bottles
  • Old tupperware, dishes, utensils, etc.  
  • Old Medicine droppers/dispensers
  • Boxes
  • Baking sheets, pans, cupcake tins, cake pans, etc.
  • Old pots and pans
  • Sea Shells
  • Old tea pot
Concoction Ideas (one or any combination!):
  • Mud 
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Flour
  • Dried Milk
  • Cornstarch
  • Old spices
  • Baking soda
  • Water (add some color for extra fun!)
  • Left-over cooked spaghetti
  • Rocks
  • Weeds
For inspiration check out these great blogs/links:
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Classified: Mom


  1. I have found that kids love real food containers so much more than the play toys!

  2. What a fabulous idea! My son loves to help me cook, too. I need to get bold and let him go crazy with the mess.

  3. He'll eventually grasp it (the dumping thing) -- Henry's a dumper too - he's starting to figure out what fits in where - let him explore and it'll come.

  4. I love this idea! My kids would love it too- Thank you for linking this post up to The Sunday Showcase!



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