Play Outside the Box with a Step2 Play Kitchen
Play kitchens set the stage for endless pretend-play opportunities, making them a long-standing playroom favorite! Plus, there are tons of cognitive benefits disguised as kitchen tasks and games. You can expand on these skill-building opportunities as each play session unfolds with your toddler. Continue reading for some fun imagination game ideas that’ll help flex your little one’s creative thinking, storytelling, sharing, and social skills.
1. Alphabet Soup
Make a tasty pot of alphabet soup to help with letter recognition and sounds! Practice writing out all 26 letters on paper with your little chef. Then, tear out or use scissors to cut the individual letters apart and throw them into a pot on their pretend stove. Have your toddler cook the soup with big stirs! When it’s ready, have them serve up bowls of soup.
Ask them to find a specific letter in the soup. Once they locate it, ask them to repeat the letter back to you and name something in their play kitchen (or play area) that starts with the same letter.
Challenge their critical thinking skills by having them create words with the letters too! Make some duplicates of letters, so you’ll have more to work with. Pick out letters together to form words and even phrases, such as “Go Play” and “Have Fun.” You can also ask them to spell their pet’s name, your family name, their name, and more!
2. Cooking Show
Create a mini cooking show hosted by your little chef! Give them five to ten minutes to prep their favorite pretend meal and think out how to present it to you. When they’re ready, take a video of them recreating their pretend dish and talking you through each step, so you can make it too! Continue the pretend play by making episodes of the cooking show to watch with family and friends.
Make a cooking show episode with guest stars, like siblings and adult role models! Encourage social skill development by giving your junior chef someone to talk to and guide through their process while on camera.
3. Copy the Chef
From the real kitchen with adults to their own play-kitchen area, acting out basic kitchen tasks is a great way for your little one to learn new skills and keep them entertained. Have your little chef watch you make a real meal in the kitchen. Then, recreate the dish in their pretend kitchen space. Recall the steps together to whip up the same meal you just cooked!
Have your little one take note of how you stir a pot, chop a vegetable, and other kitchen tasks as you cook, so they feel prepared for their own copy-cat meal prep! As a bonus, this fun play kitchen game doubles as a way to get your toddler excited about cleaning up during each stage of the meal, from prepping to putting away dishes after mealtime is over. Nice!
4. Pizza Parlor
Use paper plates and coloring supplies to draw any kind of pizza they can dream up! Get your little pizza maker in the kitchen and call in your pizza order. Watch their imagination go wild as they top the pizza with whatever ingredients they’d like by drawing to their heart’s content. Once the pizza is made, pop it in their pretend oven to cook. When it’s ready, have them serve you at the parlor or deliver it to wherever you are in the house!
5. Dinner Draw
Get those creative juices flowing! Similar to the Cooking Show game, get your little chef in the kitchen with a time limit. Have them dream up their perfect meal for any kind of gathering—think a fancy dinner party, Thanksgiving, summer backyard BBQ, or a casual night at home with family. Encourage them to get as creative as possible with the accessories they have in their play kitchen and challenge them to keep the meal a secret in order to reveal it to you at the end!
Next, task your child with bringing their dream meal to life on paper by drawing and coloring whatever they’ve got in mind. Once they’re done, have them present their meal with some clues to help you guess what it is! Ask questions, like, “What makes this dish so yummy?” and, “Where would this meal be served?” This helps them to form the story and articulate the important details about their creation!
Check out this blog post for even more pretend play kitchen game ideas!
What are some of your favorite games to play with your toddler in their pretend kitchen playset? Let us know in the comments below!