It is important to select toys for your children that are going to stimulate their imagination and promote learning. Through playing with the correct educational toys your child’s senses will be aroused.
Very young children tend to set out to make their parents proud. They love to help and can be included in the meal preparation process which will leave them with a feeling of accomplishment. They like to copy the actions of their parents and will be enabled to do this with educational cooking toys. This will also ensure that they do not get in the way while their parents are working. Many educational cooking toys are almost exact copies of the parent’s cooking utensils.
Sometimes young children become frustrated, aggressive and cranky. This behavior is often due to over stimulation. It is always a good idea to see that your child takes little breaks or even play with a different toy at intervals to avoid frustration and mood changes. Moving the activity to another room or outdoors will also help. In order to stimulate a child’s senses you should take them away from the electronic toys and let them play with toys that are made from different textures, weights, shapes or even with sounds.
When your children are not in the way, you will find it much easier to cook. Even though sharp knives and hot pots are not child-friendly, children should be allowed in the kitchen. Dinner may take a little longer when the children are involved, but the learning process will be invaluable for them.
Cooking in the kitchen with parents can be educational. Ordinary activities such as cooking are hands on experiences with a purpose. While cutting and conversing during the food preparation process, children are learning mental, physical and social skills. Mirror neurons in our brains are responsible for duplicating what we observe. We continually participate in everything we see and experience. A child will vicariously experience what the parents are doing. Templates are formed of tasks we see. Any changes to the task will increase the attention of the child. The child’s reaction and understanding will also increase.
Age appropriate and safe educational cooking toys can be introduced while the child is spending time in the kitchen. Children want to be included in all activities. Most children are eager to participate in meal preparation and this can be done by combining real food with toys. This will help to ensure that the process is not slowed down. However, a child will be happier to eat a meal in which they have contributed to the preparation of.
Research reveals that children learn responsibility by participating in household activities, such as cooking. Such responsibility is directly related to the success of the child in adulthood. This includes building good relationships with friends and family, successful careers and completing their education. Children who were not given any responsibility showed a lower IQ. Teaching children responsibility is a key component of becoming a competent adult.
Tasks that are related to the kitchen allow children to begin to see scientific principles at work and help them develop personal characteristics such as patience. Children will apply the skills they learn to other tasks that they find challenging. Learning in the kitchen will ensure that children begin to see themselves as proficient and capable. This perception will be then be transferred to everything these children undertake.
The kitchen is the most sensory-rich environment that exists indoors. Tactile and olfactory messages ensure the encoding of very specific memories. The smells of whatever they are doing will evoke pleasurable memories in the future. For humans, true comprehension and understanding is only gained through touch, smell, hearing, seeing and tasting.
Allowing your child to play with educational cooking toys that are manufactured from different materials and textures when they are not in the kitchen will only strengthen their understanding. It is during childhood that the brain’s functional anatomy is changed through learning. It is the hands on experience that is vitally important at this time. Children gain a good understanding of abstract mathematical concepts by sifting flour, arranging cookies, measuring ingredients or counting beans. Active learning also contributes to reading readiness.
Nothing is more important to a child than the here and now and we have to be willing to move at their pace. Over stimulation is a result of electronic and noise toys. The antidote to this is the slower pace of kitchen cooking and conversation. Simple tasks are often more enjoyable for children. Slowing down contributes to their concentrations, digestion and overall happiness. Allowing a child to complete simple tasks in the kitchen affirms them.
Useful skills are learned by spending time in the kitchen. Setting the table, making a sandwich, mixing a cake or tossing a salad are only a few of the skills a child will eventually acquire. Becoming competent at any task makes us feel good. Reinforcement such as renaming the dish after the child, will pay off.
Children should be given educational cooking toys that are age appropriate and are imaginative and creative. These can speed up their mental development and hand and eye co-ordination. Even if the task is washing small items such as a toy dinner service in a sink filled with soapy water, or the laying out of table napkins, it gives them a sense of purpose. Children experience the same feelings of satisfaction as we do when they assist us in the preparation of a meal. Children will become enthusiastic when they are able to participate in tasks that have purpose. Children want to be included in the challenges of real work as this makes them feel valued. Their play and pretend games also reflects this.
Children will learn how to perform a multitude of tasks by playing with a toy kitchen center which may include a toy oven, counters, sink and cupboards. Children will learn how to turn the oven on and off and clean up after cooking. They can pack their toy foods away in the cupboards and prepare meals on the counter.
There are a multitude of small tasks children can take on in the kitchen and they should always be thanked for their assistance. They can stack containers, plan meals, stir mixtures or even read recipes. Parking your children in front of the TV while you rush off to prepare dinner is not the answer, although it may be efficient. Children must be allowed to imitate and gain skills that are useful. Children should be welcomed in the kitchen.
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