It is raining outside and the kids are complaining that there is nothing to do. For some reason they are not interested in cleaning their rooms. Video Games are blaring and faces of various ages are staring at the screen, or driving a race car via computer. This is the best opportunity for a little “family time” to bring everyone together.
One room each member of the family knows intimately is the kitchen. It is also the room where messes are less likely to be disastrous or damaging. It is mother’s domain. It is where tears are dried, Band-Aids applied and popsicles are made. Kitchens lend themselves to all kinds of activities for children and adults alike. While the kitchen usually presents work for the adult, it can mean loads of fun for the younger set.
Kids love making popsicles, or any kind of food, especially when given a semi-free hand in planning and making it. So, to bring the family together, why not plan on cooking a meal together. Making certain that all dangerous utensils are out of the children’s reach mom, or dad, can teach them how to make a salad, a desert, or even a simple main course, depending on the child or children’s age. Once they are involved in the cooking, they won’t mind presenting the food to the family or even to a friend they may invite to come over to taste their fare.
In the process of presenting the food on the table, they will learn how to set the table and how to fold napkins – a bonus. This can be a very satisfying experience for children. Another fun way to spend some time together is making up their own cookie recipes, writing them onto a recipe card and then actually baking them. Decorating offers a way to show off their creativity. Even if kids are not quite so enthusiastic about spending time with the rest of their siblings at first, usually the smell of baking cookies wafting through the house, or that of any other food they like, will bring them into the fold of the kitchen.
Cooking and baking are not the only things a kitchen offers, however. With a handy sink in the room, anything can be made that requires immediate clean-up. Painting turkeys for the refrigerator door or gluing Christmas trees, cut out from construction paper with child-safe scissors for small hands, onto winter scenes is very interesting to small children. Depending on the season, Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, baskets, patriotic flags, or turkeys, Indians and Pilgrims, Christmas ornaments, snowmen, angels all offer a lot of fun for children.
For the hardcore video game addicts, there are other things a kitchen can offer. Perhaps your child is scientifically inclined? Can he or she become interested (in your presence and with your supervision, of course) to do minor chemical experiments? There are a number of science books in the library that list safe science experiments that can be done in a kitchen environment.
How about making old fashioned telephones with cans and string? (It is being done in a current commercial – that may spark interest in some children). Just be sure the empty cans do not have sharp edges and are completely empty and washed. Another activity children can do in the kitchen is for one to choose a product, the other to make up a jingle about it, or a dance even.
There are truly a multitude of activities that are creative, fun, as well as educational that can all be done in one room, the kitchen – and everyone has one of those.