Of course, then I realised this week, that he doesn't really need a purpose-built mini kitchen and matching accessories to cook up delicious concoctions. So I set out to find some pieces that could bring the fun of the kitchen to him.
So far, the backbone of his kitchen play has been this stainless steel mixing bowl.
I actually received a pair of these (small and large) for Christmas to use myself but, remembering Melissa's suggestion, thought that they would make a great matching set for Gus and I to use together. He already has access to our lower cabinets, which have a load of bowls, chopping boards, and saucepans that he sometimes gets out. I added some empty spice jars, a whisk, a spatula, and some play food that he got for Christmas, and his kitchen was complete! He stands on his little table so he can reach the counter next to me. As I chop vegetables for dinner, I pass him the peels and ends, which he mixes up diligently, adding this spice or that, transferring from one bowl to the other. Or, I give him a small snack in the bowl, which he can mix and taste as needed.
|Trying to find a clear space on the counter in our|
little kitchen is the hardest part of this game!
To me, this doesn't sound nearly as exciting as a brand-new, brightly painted purpose-built model kitchen, with burners, an oven, cabinets to open, etc, etc. But I think sometimes the flashes and bangs are more for the parents--I mean, how many times have we heard the story of children opening expensive new presents, only to play with the cardboard box the toy came in until it disintegrates underneath them. We've only really been cooking together for a week now, but so far, Gus's reaction has borne this out. He seems to love cooking. He has even tried to pull the table in from the living room to the kitchen on his own to start playing. This is great, as it forces me into the kitchen to tackle the never-ending pile of dishes I have stacked in there! (I am also trying to convince him that he can actually cook while standing on the floor with the bowls on his small table, but he doesn't believe me so far. He is going through a phase at the moment where the way a thing was done the first time is the way things ALWAYS MUST BE DONE FOREVER.)
I'll probably still keep an eye out for a good price on a little kitchen, but I am really happy with this solution. In some ways, this is even better, as it gets the two of us in the kitchen together, and he starts to learn about food and cooking--an important life skill, and a great source of enjoyment.