“Let’s play cooking!”

Yesterday at our Mums and Tots group Dustyfeet developed a sudden intense interest in the toy kitchens. Unfortunately she only discovered them just as it was time to go home, so I bribed her away with the promise that we would do some play cooking at home in the afternoon.
I thought she might have forgotten, but after her nap she was still wanting to “play cooking”, so out came this box.

I cut out some circles, drew spirals on them, and Dustyfeet coloured them in nice fiery red and orange…

…while I heated up the glue gun to glue them on, and cut a hole in the side of the box for an oven. I also glued all the box flaps into place, so that they wouldn’t flap around and distract from the cooking.

Then I cut out three smaller circles to use as switches. Each circle has two small holes punched in the middle (using Sandydad’s smallest screwdriver), and through into the box. They’re held in place with sandwich ties (tied underneath). They do actually turn, but they probably won’t stand up to very vigorous turning.

Fast, cheap and cheerful. Not very beautiful, but beauty in homemade toys is for when the child is not around. I might add a coat of paint later.

Now it’s time to do some cooking. We don’t own any play saucepans, so we improvised.

We do, however, have felt food. Tomato stew and banana soup for dinner, anyone?

And we have cookie trays…

… and cardboard cookies:

Now, what does a tray of freshly baked cardboard cookies suggest to you?

Time for a tea party!

Unfortunately, Dustyfeet decided that the cardboard cookies were good to eat, so they had to be removed. I might have to make some felt ones, as she’s never shown any inclination to eat felt food. Then again, maybe we should just make real cookies?

Going back to yesterday’s post about the child’s freedom to take play in the direction of choice, this was obviously a fairly mummy-led craft – in fact I did most of it. It worked because Dustyfeet knew what I was doing and it was something she wanted. She seems to be quite happy for me to make something if she knows it’s for her – and even to be involved in the process (like colouring the hobs). The problems arise when I try to get her to make something according to my ideas – that’s where we need to become much more open-ended, so that she can develop the freedom to have ideas of her own!

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