Imaginary Cooking Adventures for Kids

Do you have a budding chef amongst your children? Still a little wary of letting him or her have command of the kitchen? You can help your youngsters have imaginary cooking adventures in the safety of your backyard! All it takes is some natural "ingredients" that can be found in the average backyard or park, as well as a few "utensils" and other supplies for mixing and preparing the final "meals." You'll be treated to a fanciful feast in no time!

An imaginary cooking adventure with your kids at home.

There are a few basic supplies that you can provide your children with for their culinary backyard games. Find some sort of large tub or bucket into which they can mix giant vats of soup (starting with some rainwater or water from your hose), and give them a suitable stirring utensil, either a big stick or some sort of spoon-like object (maybe a plastic shovel). If you can find a safe piece of wood with a moderately blade-like edge, let them use it as a makeshift knife to do the chopping and dicing.

Then, encourage your children to start gathering up the ingredients for their imaginary dishes. Fallen fruit makes an excellent, albeit messy, starting point for whatever your youngsters make. If you don't have any fruit trees in your backyard (this blogger had two apple trees when she was young), see if a neighbor with a fruit tree would allow your children to gather up the fallen fruit once it's clear it's inedible.

As "seasoning" and garnish ingredients, seeds from plants native to your backyard or your local park are perfect. Make sure that whatever your children are harvesting is not poisonous or will not cause a rash, and then they are free to pick the seeds free and sprinkle them over the top of their soups or salads! Speaking of salads, you can have your children do some of your weeding for you -- have them pluck dandelions and use them as makeshift lettuce. It's a win-win situation: you get the weeds out of your yard and your children can pretend to make authentic-looking salad!

There is, of course, the classic pretend outdoor dish: mud pies. You have to be prepared to do some serious clean-up work afterwards, since your youngsters will likely get the mud all over themselves, but it's a fun and free activity that's just a part of childhood! You will need some good dirt and water in a pail; encourage your children to knead the two ingredients together into a solid consistency, which they can then mold into pie shapes.

Ready to graduate your children to the real kitchen? Get them some inexpensive (and therefore replaceable) kitchen equipment at local garage sales! You can use our free listings to find some in your area today.




Comments (9) -

Kwan Johnson
Kwan Johnson
2/17/2013 2:09:22 PM #

Still reminisced those moments where I'm playing make believe roles such as (being a) physician, actor, action start, lawyer, chef and many more. With the help of my sister and my other cousins, we would role play a restaurant where we will prepare our own dishes and serve it to our valued guests. Mixing water, some back yard vegetables and fruits we could find, we would mix those together in a bowl to create our recipe. Smile I was so contented and happy before even if I had nothing fancy in my life, just sad how things have changed since then...

Wesley Gilbert
Wesley Gilbert
2/23/2013 2:41:31 AM #

I made this special recipe call the "magic banana with special vegetables" when I was still young. We had a lot of bananas in our house since we have a banana business/farm going on back then. We had a lot to play with so, together with our neighbors and my siblings, we got our own bananas and made a dish out of it.

I had this idea of having the banana with a sweet sauce  plus I used the extra vegetables my mom threw away after preparing our meals. My older brother, James, had his banana with rocks while my neighor, Neil, had his hot and spicy banana with tomato sauce. Imagine what those dishes would taste like, ohh i miss those recipes Smile

Gia Austen
Gia Austen
2/27/2013 11:22:44 PM #

Little kids do really like to do adult stuff while we, adults, miss the part of us being  a child. Even when I was young I love to do cooking and all those things my older siblings does.

Lamont Gray
Lamont Gray
3/4/2013 11:49:01 AM #

It was my favorite make believe role-play during my childhood. We would go to our backyard and have our little kitchen and our father even made us a stall for us to sell our goods. Even if I had only one sibling and a sister at that, I still enjoyed playing with her. Her toys about cooking and kitchen utensils would be utilized during our play time. Anything that we can see will be included in our dish for that day. Rocks, broken toys and we would have a doll to have a sort of costumer to serve.

I miss those days where I was still bonded with my sister because unlike now, we're already grownups, we seldom talk to each other and kind of grew apart while the years passed by. I hope that there will come a time that we can be close again like before.

Jonie Amaro
Jonie Amaro
3/4/2013 11:53:28 AM #

I let my kids play this imaginary cooking because it develops their physical capabilities. I learned from a training I joined that if you want to make your kids excel in arts, you need to expose them early in handing small delicate objects. They say that's like holding a paint brush when you grow up so that kind of prepares them. It doesn't cost that much either because they just need some toy plates and kitchen utensil and everything else is found in your house or in your lawn.

Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley
3/4/2013 11:59:33 AM #

I'm cautious when letting my kids play with those left overs or the leaves, grass and just anything you can think of because they might be curious to taste them. That would be a bad thing because I had a history with my kid that he accidentally choked on a candy menthol because he was playing with it. Imagine? A small menthol almost took my kid away. If not for the prompt intervention to rush him to a hospital, I don't know if he would still be here. But today, I'm slowly starting to trust them a little bit but I see check on them from time to time.

Michael Ansley
Michael Ansley
3/4/2013 12:05:18 PM #

Instead of letting my kids use actual spoon and fork, I let them use plastic ones to be safer. In case that they hit each other accidentally, it would not cause them considerable harm. Same goes for their bowl, I let them use those tupperware stuff because they're proven to last and is easy to clean.

My kids were fortunate because my parents had a farm where we would have our vacation during the holidays so they had a lot to work with, most especially fruits. We had a lot of mango trees back then so the fallen ones and those that do not pass the quality testing are given to them for their games. They would not choose if it was ripe or not, they were happy that they had something to cook.

Candice Alcorn
Candice Alcorn
3/4/2013 12:09:57 PM #

I'm happy when my nieces and nephews are enjoying playing cooking games. But! There's a BUT, when it comes to cleaning after they've played, I somehow regret that I let them have so much freedom in playing and choosing their ingredients. It's not easy when your have a lot of work to do for the day and at the same time you're tasked to look out for kids, you know? At then end of the day, I feel like I was doing forced labor and every part of my body aches.

Yna Lenice Truttle
Yna Lenice Truttle
3/7/2013 9:16:24 PM #

My mom taught me how to  bake at an early age. That's why now I also teach my 2 daughters how to bake real foods. It bonds them together plus it lets them learn new things. There's no need already to let them play imaginary cooking when they can cook in real kitchen.

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