When your average preschooler is ready for big school, there are few things that keep them entertained for long periods of time. The kitchen is a great place to begin when looking for ideas to keep their eager little minds occupied and happy, not to mention all the while laying the foundations of a life long skill.
Here are some ideas to keep little hands busy, so their little mouths aren’t whinging that they’ve GOT NOTHING TO DO, and that THIS IS THE WORST MOST BORING DAY OF THEIR LIFE *sigh*. Give me strength.
Basic enough. Make the jelly as per instructions on the packet. I tend to make it half with boiling water (enough to melt the jelly crystals), and then add half cold water so that we aren’t dealing with liquid that will burn tender skin. Get your preschooler to pop some straws into a container and then add the liquid. (You can add the liquid first if you like, I tend to preempt spillage so prefer to add it last.) Wait for the jelly to set and squeeze! They will find this delightfully disgusting!
Make your own paddle pop!
This is a free for all. As long as you have a great blender you can mix any type of fruit, yoghurt, custard, coconut cream, lactose free ingredient that you like. Ask your preschooler to help peel bananas and once cut, they can pop it into the blender because we all know how much they like to help *eye twitching*. Pour the blended ingredients into a mold and once it sets, pop some Ice Magic over the top and watch them gobble it up. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, attempt adding ingredients they’re reluctant to try. As it looks like a real ice-cream, they may actually step out of their comfort zone and eat it.
Arrowroot biscuit faces!
Make some royal icing:
1 and a half cups of sifted (important) pure icing sugar
1 egg white
Half a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Place the lemon juice and egg white together in a bowl or mug and lightly whisk together. Gradually add the pure icing sugar until it makes a peak when you remove your whisk.
Let your preschooler help with the egg cracking. A great way to separate the yolk from the white, is by cracking the egg on a hard surface (like the kitchen bench) so it cracks clean in half, and placing it into your child’s palm. Their fingers act as a strainer, and they’ll be chuffed that they helped and even more chuffed that their hands are sticky.
Remember to always remind your children to wash their hands before any kitchen activity. Lord knows they’re likely to give everyone the plague with the bacteria that lives under their fingernails.
Let your enthusiastic preschooler spread the icing over the biscuits, and decorate each one to their own individual taste. A fun and simple activity that they will love.
Fairy Bread Hungry Caterpillar!
I’m not going to lie to you, you’re going to need a lot of bread. Although, this activity will keep them occupied the longest so trust me it’s worth it. Ask them to butter the bread. About 2 loaves. Rather than sprinkle each piece of bread, pour some sprinkles onto some baking paper and ask your preschooler to dip the bread onto the sprinkles. There will be less mess this way (you’re welcome). If you have a round cutting utensil, cut each sandwich and discard the crust. If you don’t have a round cutting utensil, you can use an egg ring and press firmly or even a plastic glass (the Ikea ones work well). Ask your preschooler to decorate an apple in order to make the caterpillar’s head. You can use basil leaves for the eyes and mouth and the antlers can be made by sticking sultanas on a toothpick.
It’s quite effective and lunch is sorted! Invite some friends over for a play date and watch that caterpillar disappear!
Make your own lunch or snack design!
This is lots of fun. Cut up ingredients such as apples, carrots, cheese, etc. Add some crunchy greens like snow peas or string beans. Use crackers and nuts and whatever is a lunchtime or snack staple. Let your imaginations run wild. Speak about the many countries that make up this incredible world we live in. Educate your little one about the different utensils children from other parts of the world eat with.
You can discuss a different country each day and then ask your preschooler to create a design that reminds them of what you’ve spoken about. Google pictures, show them a globe and how far it is from where they live.
The kids will love it and be excited to be apart of something that grows their mind as well as their belly!
Your preschooler will start school soon enough and this precious time together in the kitchen may just be a benchmark that will see them making YOU dinner in no time. An investment worth making!