Discover five ways to make cooking dinner fun for everyone:
Create a “Recipe Folder” of PBS Kids activities.
Before you start cooking, (or the night before), print out a bunch of coloring pages. Offer them to your kids to turn into placemats or before-dinner art projects. Keep extra copies in a recipe file marked PBS KIDS DINNERTIME FUN.
Set up simple projects kids can do in the kitchen.
Younger preschoolers may like Mister Rogers’ Water Play. Older preschoolers may enjoy setting up a restaurant and playing Arthur’s Restaurant game. As you cook, chat with your kids about their activities. You might comment on the colors they are choosing for their printables.
Play word and sound games.
Experts say that playing with sounds and words helps kids get ready to read. Young children will enjoy making up nonsense words, beginning with foods and objects they see in the kitchen: Broccoli, floccoli, rockali… Spoon, shmoon, foon… Help your older preschoolers find rhyming words (peas, bees, fleas) or think of different ways to say the same thing (stirring/mixing/blending; box/carton/container).
When you have the time and patience, let kids help with mixing or measuring. But when time is short and everyone’s hungry, ask them to help with simple set-up tasks like buttering rolls, putting out the plates, or creating menus and place cards.
Offer projects to fast eaters.
If some members of your family are fast eaters (or have short attention spans), printables and simple projects from your PBS Kids Activity folder can keep them entertained while others finish the meal.