Cooking is Great Sensory Play
Hello friends! Who is excited for the holidays? I know I am! Did you know all this holiday preparation you’re doing is actually really good sensory play? Especially in the kitchen! Cooking is great sensory play because it encourages smushing, feeling, and grasping all sorts of ingredients.
Sensory play is super important for kids (and adults too!) because it lets them experience their senses in different ways, and thereby get used to new items. It also helps develop motor skills and new vocabulary; think of all the fun words based on sensory play like
sticky, smelly, or crunchy!
So how can you get someone started in the kitchen for sensory play? Try things small. Pick an easy visual recipe, like the one I created for rice cereal treats. The first step is always setting up a station for your helper, like a clean area of the counter or the kitchen table. Having a set area will keep them away from kitchen dangers and lessen mess. Set out all the ingredients and talk about each one of them before you get started, plus the steps and the process involved with creating your confection. Then, let the sensory play begin! Give guidance when necessary but make sure this recipe recreation is all about the sensory process rather than getting finished fare.
Want to pull the play into holiday gathering meal preparations? Try things like mashing cooked potatoes with a utensil, rolling dough into balls, icing sweets, or seeding (pre-cut) vegetables or fruit. Mixing ingredients like for “puppy chow”, fruit salad, or party mix helps develop motor skills. Using cookie cutters is always fun and icing and decorating baked cookies is a blast!
Do you have some great ideas for sensory play during meal preparation? Be sure to tell everyone on my Facebook page!