Food and food preparation is a large part of childhood (being fed to learning how to eat to watching food be prepared to going to restaurants). Playing with pretend food, cooking, serving, and shopping are wonderful play and learning activities for children and will evolve as they grow.
Having a pretend kitchen, collection of kitchen items, and play food are perfect toys for discovery and proper development for any young child. My 8 year old decided to set up a restaurant outside on the swing-set. My 10 year old acted as the “Manager”. I ordered and played the customer. Children will learn how to simulate cooking, use their imaginations, negotiate, order, take orders, and more!
Pretend food, empty & clean recycled plastic containers, egg cartons, cereal & pasta boxes, plastic vegetables and fruit, other
Reading has always been a staple in each of my children’s day. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading a book before nap or bedtime, when I ‘m the most exhausted and feel I need alone time, but I always do. It has become habit. It gives me one on one time with each child, even if only 10 minutes each day. It also has become part of our routine and each of them looks forward to cuddle time with Mommy and expects it (I still read to my 7 year old every day). Forget the benefits we all know about reading… My 7 year old started reading at age 4, and is reading at a 5th grade level in 1st grade. And, I never taught her how. My 5 year is now beginning to, and isn’t starting Kindergarten for 7 more months. But that is not why I do this. Each child has their own learning path and to me reading isn’t just about words. My children have learned to love learning, exploring pictures and books, and love the library. I feel I have empowered them to self learn. At first I ridiculously bought a ton of books but now I try to take them once a week to the library (they get as excited as going to the toy store). Even though only one can actually read, they spend hours finding books, looking at pictures, and flipping pages. All I can do as a mother is lead and give them the tools, and this I am the most proud of.