As parents, we make many decisions including what and how many toys to incorporate into our homes. One of the staples toys in many households is the play kitchen which makes absolute sense as we eat several times a day and children are fascinated with activities that adults do. How many times have you caught your children imitating you?
The most common accessory to the play kitchen is the dish set. School Smart has created the Durable Play Kitchen Dishes set which comprises of 55 pieces that you will find in your own home including: dishes, plates, mixing bowl, whisk, and more. It is quite an extensive set that enables children to mirror cooking or baking they observe in their home. At Mommy University, we did not just want to offer a review of the School Smart set, but we also wanted to include suggestions on activities that incorporate educational play.
Mommy University encourages educational play with the School Smart Durable Play Kitchen Dishes Set:
First and foremost, your child will play with a kitchen set as a kitchen set. Children replay what they see us doing which is why it didn’t surprise me that my daughter grabbed the whisk and a pan to tell me she was making soup and my son told me he was making pancakes. This is food they enjoy and have seen us make. Imaginative play is great for young minds to help them understand the world that surrounds them. As your children are playing with the set ask them follow up questions. When my son was making pizza, we asked: What type of pizza? What are your favorite toppings? What are the ingredients? What is a silly topping? What is a topping you do not like?
Since the Kitchen Set has tools that are bold primary colors, you can play a game to have your child separate the tools into different piles of colors. If you have baskets, you can put a sign on it with the name of the color printed on that color paper (or you can print the word with the color in the background). This is a great exercise to help your child begin to see similar colors.
If the color sorting becomes too easy and your child has a basic understanding of kitchen activities, encourage them to separate the tools in this kitchen set by purpose. Children try to organize objects but this is a great topic to discuss with them as they may have a different perspective. For example, separate tools by what they would need for baking, grilling, drinking and eating.
It is very important for children to know social manners when eating which is a learned skill. Other life skills that are important for children to learn are washing dishes, setting the table and putting away dishes. You can have children set the table with this set as it does come with the entire place setting. The dishes can fall down and not break which means there are plenty of times this can be practiced.
Since the dishes are not delicate and the set comes with a dish rack, you can invite your child to practice washing dishes (some homes don’t use a dishwasher). If you do not have a method for the children to reach the sink, you could put a bucket on the floor and fill with water which is great sensory play (you can check out our Summer Sensory Bins for a photo and description). Lastly, have a tea party and practice using manners such as “please” and “thank you”.
In play, there are opportunities to expand your child’s language development. Depending on your child’s current stage of talking there are hidden moments to help introduce and expand vocabulary. Label the items and explain what the tool is used for. Once your child can identify the item, then add an additional word. If your child can say “cup”, you can repeat back “drink cup”. Don’t focus on the colors for language development as your child will learn their colors but focus on the use of the tool.
Everyday, I have watched my children play and engage with this set. From soup to mac and cheese to pancakes, they make it all and we enjoy watching them invent their own creations.
What do your children make you in their play kitchen?