Saturday, 13 August 2011

Things To Do With Your Child #5: Pretend Cooking

And lo, another Friday afternoon is upon us.  Exhaustion and apathy are flourishing. Rory is sitting under the dining table playing with all manner of pointy objects and plastic bags and mummy is mainlining chocolate buttons, counting down the hours until daddy gets home.  How are we going to get through the last three hours of the working week?  Sigh, come on then, lets make another almighty mess….


You will need:
A selection of saucepans, spoons, sieves, ladles, bowls and other kitchen equipment.

Some form of dry, sprinkly food like pasta, rice, lentils, Rice Krispies, Cornflakes or oats.  We used lentils because I had some out of date ones in the cupboard after a completely out of character attempt at making a horrible Annabel Karmel recipe with them when Rory was a baby. Needless to say, he took one mouthful then looked at me as though I deserved to die. They have not been touched since.

Selective mess blindness.

Risk assessment:
However well you tidy up, you are going to be finding lentils/rice/oats for the next 8 months.  Get over it.

Amount of time it wastes in the never ending day:
He played with this on and off over the course of 2 hours, then happily joined in the clean-up operation for 20 minutes.  Excellent.

Set all your stuff out and let your child take over.  Rory did a lot of very serious stirring and pouring from one container to another, then spent a while trying to stuff spoonfuls of dried lentils into my mouth whilst insisting that they tasted of strawberries.  When he tired of that, we buried each others hands, and then I dropped lots of coins into the lentils and he sieved for buried treasure.  I sat idly next to him talking to him and enjoying the therapeutic effects of letting hundreds of lentils run through my fingers over and over again.  We also discovered that lentils cover a pleasing distance when a handful is thrown with the appropriate force.

When he eventually tired of this game, I scooped up as many lentils as I could and put them in a container for another day (might do something arty with these at a later date. Any ideas anyone?) and got the trusty vacuum cleaner out.  Rory overjoyed at being allowed to hoover up all the lentils which kept him busy for another 20 minutes, although this also meant that most of our worldly possessions were hoovered up at the same time, but, you know, swings and roundabouts.


  1. I tried doing this with Benedict this afternoon. I will now be finding quinoa grains (yes, I know!) in every corner of my sitting room for the next month! It was good for an hour's entertainment though.

  2. How about making pasta art? As a kid I remember getting lentils, pasta and so on and sticking it onto a piece of card to make shapes and pictures. That was super fun!!

  3. I'm new to your blog, but love it! Informative and hilarious :)
    One ques for Pippa Peg or anyone else who can help, What did glue you use for pasta sticking? The ones I have barely stick sequins down with any effectiveness and makes for frustrating crafting sessions when it all falls apart after half an hour!

  4. I usually use normal PVA glue, but we also use Mod Podge a lot. It's like a really strong PVA from the US. you can buy it online or in Hobbycraft, but use sparingly because it's not cheap.