It may be turning cold outdoors, but there is plenty of family fun to be had when spending a day in the kitchen.
1. Make a picnic hamper ... Whip up some cupcakes and picnic snacks, and pack fruit and chocolates, then enjoy an afternoon having an indoors picnic with a variety of traditional games: a giant snakes-and-ladders, Twister, or soft skittles.
2. Make gingerbread men Why not try making characters from your child’s favourite storybooks? Then tell gingerbread man stories.
3. Animal restaurants Ever heard of the Fresh Fly Café? You would if you were a frog. How about the Thoroughly Scared Mouse Brasserie? It would be your eatery of choice if you were a cat. Have your child invent zany restaurants for their favourite animals. For each restaurant, create a menu with starters, mains and desserts, a decor, entertainment and a promotional poster..
4. Make dampers A fun and easy recipe to make with young children. Heat the oven to 210°C, then grease a baking tray. Sift 1 cup of flour into a bowl, add a generous pinch of salt. Meanwhile, combine 30g of melted butter, a splash of milk and a splash of water. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquids. Stir with a knife, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place on the tray and score a cross in the top of the dough with a knife. Brush with milk and dust with flour. Bake for about 25 minutes (lower the heat for the last 15 minutes). Remove and serve with butter and honey.
5. Taste testing Blindfold your child, then set up a range of foods that she will have to identify (ice-cream, pickles, yogurt, cereal, cookies, and so on). Ask her to describe each taste and texture, whether they are sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter.
6. Make craft dough Mix two cups of flour with one cup of salt and 2/3 of a cup of water. Knead the mixture until it is doughy. Add food colouring or glitter. Make shapes and sculptures using cutters or by hand. Dry the shapes in the oven for 10 minutes at 100°C. When cooled, the objects can be painted.
7. Vegetable printing Cut large potatoes in half. Carve out shapes and patterns, then stamp the vegetables into ink and press on to paper.
8. Wooden-spoon puppets Take a wooden kitchen spoon and have your child draw a face on the back of the spoon using a fine liner pen. Add string to the top for the hair (knot in the middle, then glue to the top). Cut a full circle out of a chosen fabric and then cut in half to make into the spoon’s ‘dress’ (or use half a paper doily if you want a lacy frill at the bottom). Tie around the spoon’s ‘neck’, then button up at the collar or tie with a piece of string.
9. Make pancakes At the age of three, there’s nothing better than adding all those ingredients to the mixer, then pouring the batter into the pan, watching the bubbles rise to tell you they’re ready, then eating your own creation!
10. Make lemonade Cut six lemons in half and give to your child to juice. When done, mix the juice, six cups of cold water and one cup of sugar in a large pitcher. Stir and serve over ice.
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