We’re working our way through the alphabet, and I include some sensory fun for each letter. Letter K had me stumped… kite, keys, kangaroo… KITCHEN! I gathered some old items from my pantry, a few bowls and spoons, and headed to the backyard to set up a summer fun activity.
Truth: I’m not really a “fun” mom. It’s never been my personality to just relax and enjoy life.
In high school a close friend nicknamed me “Conscience.”
Yeah, real exciting.
I love to teach my kids. I love to read to them. I love to watch them learn. But creating truly fun experiences doesn’t come easily to me.
But I hit the jackpot with this outdoor kitchen! I was a fun mom – even if just for the afternoon!
Next time you clean out the pantry, stop before you throw things away. Here’s what I pulled out of the cupboard for our outdoor kitchen:
- old spices that have long expired and that I don’t use anyway
- corn starch (which I use, but it’s cheap and fun to play with)
- white rice (since we nearly always use brown)
- Cream of Wheat (which my youngest had used in his first sandbox)
- dried beans – because, let’s face it, I am just not going to get my act together and cook those things
- dried bread (for the first time ever I forgot to grease the pans, and my bread was not so good)
- baking soda
I gave each of my kids a big bowl and spoon. They dove right in!
I could talk about all the great fine motor work that was going on here — look at that stirring, whisking, and unscrewing the spice cap.
Or I could just say it was a whole lot of fun.
As my Six worked to create her “bean soup,” she said at one moment: “I’m working hard, Mom. I’m doing my very best.” Then she thought about it a minute. “Just kidding – I’m doing my worst!” She loved giving me spoonfuls of her soup to taste and watching me recoil.
If you do this with your kids, you must include both baking soda and vinegar. Here my Four adds vinegar to his recipe — for perhaps the 20th time…
Because he loved watching it bubble!
My One (eighteen months) tried to do some stirring, but this isn’t a skill he’s mastered. It was especially hard as he was a bit short for the table.
So I set him up on the ground with some Cream of Wheat and a wooden spoon.
And this is what makes it a great outdoor activity.
He was curious to see what his big brother was doing — and added a few things to the bowl.
The only thing that stopped their fun was that we ran out of ingredients.
After about 40 minutes of play, this is what remained. Clean-up was easy – just a few dishes to wash!
Totally worth it for the chance to be a fun mom.
Alphabet Curriculum for Preschool
Our curriculum includes lessons for teaching both upper and lowercase letter names and sounds. You’ll get three lessons per letter, built-in review, simple handwriting practice, rhyming, syllable counting, phonemic awareness, and a whole lot more!
Thank you so much, Anna. I’ve been looking for a theme for my sensory bin for my letter K week. This is an excellent idea! I think I’ll use my children’s cooking set in a sensory bin with various dry ingredients for my students to play kitchen in class, and not make it too mes
I think they’ll love it, Naomi!
You are definitely a fun mom! I will be starting homeschool this year, and your website is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for your hard work in putting together so many resources for the letters!!
Thanks, Katie :). I’m so glad you found my site. I hope you will keep following along! I’m releasing an ebook this week – while it’s designed for teachers of all types, I think it will be especially hopeful to new teachers and homeschoolers. It’s free to e-mail subscribers – stay tuned!
Great idea. 🙂 Featuring this at Family Fun Friday!
Here’s a much belated thanks for the feature!
Jana @ HowToRunAHomeDaycare
I pinned this onto my outdoor summery fun board. My little ones will love this idea!
Thanks for checking it out, Jana — and for the pin!
I’m not usually a very fun mom either, but I try to let them create their own fun as often as possible. This is a great idea. And they obviously had a blast!
Thanks for sharing (and for including all these inspiring photos) and for linking up at Family Fun Friday!
Agreed — creating their own fun is best. Sometimes we just need to provide the materials!
This is such a great idea! My kids have an outdoor mud kitchen/restaurant area, I think I may add a few ingredients to their ‘pantry’!
Let me know how it goes, Jesikah :).
So simple but so perfect for my children! They love to bubble and concoct their own science.
I’d love to hear if you try it, Catherine!
featuring this on the kids co-op! thnx 4 linking up:)
Thank you so much for the feature, Jaime!
I like to *think* I’m a fun mom, but I might be a tad delusional.. 😉 This is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in terms of having fun with the Littles! Seriously! I’m pinning it! 🙂
Thank you so much for the pin, Catie!
I am with you on not being a fun Mom, but I set up once something similar (salt, sugar, flour, water and food coloring for my 6), and she enjoyed it immensely. I intentionally used the ingredients for that try that she could taste without much risk. I should try a more varied stuff now, maybe for a playdate.
I like the idea of using just edible ingredients for smaller ones… something to try with my toddler on the rare mornings that it’s just the two of us!
And so will the kids 🙂
Angela @ Teaching Mama
Very cute idea!! I will have to try this the next time I clean out my pantry!
It’s a sure winner 🙂
Famtastic idea to take it outside. My three is desperate to help me cook…this is a perfect solution!
Your three year old will LOVE it 🙂