Read and Play: Pots and Pans

Simple play ideas with Pots and Pans for infants, toddlers and preschoolers




Every kid loves to play with pots and pans, right? It's one of the easiest ways to entertain little ones for hours. Today I am sharing a great book by Anne Rockwell that pairs quite nicely with kitchen play, and I have a few ideas for sneaking in some concept learning.

Pots and Pans by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell shows just how fun playing in the kitchen can be. In this book, two little children have a blast discovering how to use kitchen utensils in a playful way. The simplicity of the text makes it a good read for children ages 3 and under, and the bright pictures are sure to capture their attention.

Read the book, and then play — right in the middle of the kitchen floor with just about everything mentioned in the story! Free play is always a good way to witness the unique and creative ideas your children have. My 3-year-old used a spatula to pick up the lids and then bang them together — which was a way to play that I wouldn't have thought of!

If you would like to try kitchen play in a more structured environment, here are some suggestions:

  1. Play "kitchen band." Make music by banging two lids together or drumming on the back of a pot. Put some music on in the background for added inspiration. What makes the loudest noise? Softest? Highest? Lowest?
  2. Label the kitchen items. Some of the words from the book might be new to your child, so while playing with a colander, for example, ask your child to name the item. If he can't remember, bring the book over to him and use the words and pictures to figure it out; if he is too little to talk, label the item for him.
  3. Make a math lesson. You can sort the kitchen items by use, by color, by size . . . the possibilities are endless. And don't forget to count the items, too. Are there more pots or pans? How many all together?
  4. Pretend. Put a pot on your head and pretend it's a hard hat and you are construction workers building a tower out of plastic cups. Pretend you are chefs working in a bakery and are making a fancy wedding cake. Best of all, let your kid take the lead on this one if he can pretend on his own.
  5. Create an obstacle course. Jump (or crawl) over the rolling pin and pots and pans. Zig-zag around the lids or spatulas. The course can be as fun as you make it!

Marissa Kiepert Truong, PhD, is a Chester County, PA mom and early education consultant. This post is adapted from her blog, Land of Once Upon a Time.

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