What Kitchen Sets Can Teach Your Child
Pots, pans, a make believe oven—you’d never guess it, but there’s more cooking in your Child Kitchen Set than a plastic plate of make-believe cake. Children learn through play, and in the process of pretending to prepare for a party, or dividing chores among a family of dolls and teddy bears, they pick up important lessons in language, social interaction, and creativity.
Ever wonder why pre-schools always have kitchen sets? They’re good tools for teaching social skills like sharing, taking turns, and cooperation. As they pretend to prepare a meal, and then sit down to “enjoy” it together, they learn that toys—and everything else in life—are more fun when shared with other people.
Imagination and creativity
The child kitchen set is very realistic—knobs, plates, and an oven you’d be proud to own yourself. But they can use their imagination to create meals no chef has ever dreamed of, and throw parties that would amaze even Martha Stewart (bet she never had the Queen of Fairyland at her table). The amazing thing about these feasts—aside from the fact that they don’t have any calories—is that they reinvent themselves each time. The game never grows old and boring, because the child can do anything. Truly, few toys have such mileage.
Manners and etiquette
Child kitchen sets can help you teach your child important manners and table etiquette. After you “cook” the play dough pot roast for the pretend party, you can show the “guests” how to thank the chef for a wonderful meal. Even an imaginary tea party (you can play the Queen of England) can lead to a lesson on how “little ladies and gentlemen” should behave at the table. Elbows off the table!
Redefining gender roles
While child kitchen sets were primarily seen as “girl’s” toys, they don’t necessarily promote a stereotype of the traditional housewife. Instead, the cooperative and social nature of a kitchen set reinforce how family chores are equally divided among men and women. Observe your children and their playmates, and how they take turns washing dishes or cutting up vegetables. And if they lapse into standard roles, it’s a good time for you to come in and “teach” them otherwise. “Daddies wash dishes too,” you can say, handing him a plastic plate.
Child kitchen sets can come with accessories, but part of the fun is helping the child create his own special pantry. Recycle old cereal boxes and cans, but let him draw or print out his own labels and design his own logos. You can also buy clay that can be shaped into fruits, vegetables and other food stuff, before being baked in the oven to make a delicious “meal”. This may actually be a sneaky way of getting your child to learn about the basic food groups, or practice reading and writing as they copy their own “recipes”.
And who knows, all that interest in a child kitchen set will help your child become interested in real cooking and food preparation. Try giving them simple cooking chores, like washing the potatoes or helping roll the dough, or let them watch you cook so they know what to act out when they’re in their own kitchen. They may be “pretending” today, but a decade from now, you could literally taste the results of what they learned through play. As a result, a child kitchen set makes a great addition to any playroom.
About the Author: Misti Norusis is the owner or Wishrooms.com which offers unique Kid Furniture for Bedrooms and Playrooms at affordable prices!