Your cozy kitchen may be the best place to teach motor skills. After all, what child doesn’t like to play with kitchen gadgets? You may find these utensils keep their interest longer than the toys you spent your hard-earned cash for. Using cooking tools in crafts helps your toddler understand that one item can have various uses. Explain the kitchen function first, and then proceed to an artsy concept that will bring out your tot’s creativity.
1. Bubble Painting
Present an old-fashioned eggbeater and explain how people use this tool to beat eggs or make whipped cream. Fill a dishpan with water and add several drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Show your child how to crank the handle and stir up lots of bubbles. To make a bubble print; add a small amount of tempera paint or food coloring to the water. Lay a sheet of white paper over the bubbles. Gently remove it to see a unique painting with the bubbles your little artist created.
2. Squirt Bottle Art
Once your toddler gets the hang of using a squirt bottle, you will hear shrieks of delight. Collect a variety of squirt-type bottles; ones with triggers, condiment dispensers and even turkey basters. In the winter, invite your kiddo to spray colored water onto snow. Place a small amount of tempera paint into the bottle with water. During the summer months, children can create a mural when long butcher paper is attached to outdoor fencing. Just getting their fingers working by squeezing the bottle or nozzle is great for dexterity.
3. Kitchen Prints
Gather a variety of utensils that can be used for printing, such as a potato masher, funnel, fork, spatula and cookie cutters. Show your tot how to dip the utensil into a shallow container of paint, and then press it onto a piece of paper to make a print of the gadget. Provide several colors in different containers, like red, yellow and blue. Point out how making a print with red and blue paint will create purple. Cover the entire paper with various prints and colors.
4. Creative Clay Play
Make a batch of play dough and engage your toddler in using kitchen gadgets for clay exploration and making prints. In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 6 to 7 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix well with a spoon and then knead the dough with your hands. Provide utensils, such as a rolling pin, cookie cutters and a potato masher. Invite your tot to roll and make all sorts of prints with the dough. For added fun, place a small amount of dough inside a garlic press, then press to produce multiple strings of dough that looks like hair. Adding cinnamon or vanilla extract to the dough gives it a sensory component. Make sure your child knows not to eat this dough.