If you’re looking for a way to have your little ones in the kitchen with you while you get dinner ready, creating an activity center right in your kitchen is the perfect solution.
A kitchen activity center for kids is beneficial for both you and your kiddos. You get to be in the same room and interact with your kids while simultaneously preparing to feed everyone. Your children gain a sense of autonomy while working on their own projects and helping out.
Tips for Creating a Kitchen Activity Center
Set your kitchen up so that your kids not only have a place to do some art, but so that they can also pitch in and help you out with food preparation. Follow our tips below and dinner prep will no longer be a chore. It may even become something you look forward to doing with the whole family.
- Make sure you have an accessible table, countertop or part of a kitchen island set aside for your kids to work on. Be sure this space is dedicated for their use.
- Choose a low cabinet to keep unlocked (if your kids are still young enough for you to keep locks on your cabinets). Designate this as the storage area for keeping various supplies for your children to bring to their activity table/counter. Play-Doh, crayons, coloring books, stickers, construction paper, puzzles and board games are all great items to keep in this cabinet.
- Dedicate a drawer to keeping kid-friendly plastic plates, cups and bowls that your kids can reach and use for snacks. Also keep healthy, pre-portioned snacks in a cabinet they can easily access – a Lazy Susan is perfect for storing and organizing snacks that kids to get on their own! This will enable them to help themselves to a light snack that won’t ruin their appetite before dinner and you won’t need to stop in the middle of what you’re doing to get it for them. Just set some rules beforehand so that they know they can only take one or two (depending on size) snacks!
- Keep another drawer with dinner dishes that your children can get to. Section off the dishware using a drawer peg system to make it easy for your kids to empty the dishwasher and set the table. These are two great activities that kids can help with, while also learning important skills.
- Keep kid-sized cleaning supplies on-hand as well. For example, having a miniature broom and dustpan for them to be able to sweep up the inevitable pieces of Play-Doh and food crumbs that end up on the floor is a good activity that will instill good habits at a young age. Even toddlers can help wipe down counters, rinse dishes or return produce to the fridge.
Doing activities on their own, like getting their own snacks, cleaning up after themselves and helping set up the dinner table—all of these activities can become a part of a routine your children get used to doing while you make dinner. You just need to create some space in your kitchen to support them in doing so, give them a bit of guidance and, before you know it, they’ll be helpful and more independent.