Toddler in play kitchenLittle Caroline got her first pretend kitchen this weekend. Her saavy mom bought a Step 2 Kitchen on Craig’s List for a bargain and little chef Caroline has been busy every since.

Mom and Dad have provided some “real” food to make the action more authentic–fish crackers, cheerios and bits of chocolate (oh my, don’t get her started!). Before introducing play food, her mom decided to provide some of the real thing so she could get the idea of cooking up a feast. So far it has worked. Although she did put her pretend donut into the oven and declared it a “cake.”

I have worked with many preschoolers over the years and I can say that a play kitchen is a favorite with boys as well as girls. They can work side by side, imitating the actions of Mom and Dad, preparing a meal. Begin with just a few pretend foods or little cereal boxes to expand the play, and talk about what she is doing as she makes you a delicious meal.

My favorite play kitchens are by Little Tykes and Step 2.