Baby & Toddler Activities: Cooking Edition
5 Highchair Activities to Occupy baby & Toddler while you are cooking
It’s all fun and games until you need to get dinner on, then the stress starts brewing. Somehow your kids know when you need to take time away to cook and concentrate. When it’s crunch time, here are some great baby activities & toddler activities that can be done in the highchair while you are cooking!
Baby & toddler activities that can be done in a highchair:
1. Water on tray: Put the highchair on top of a beach towel. Give your child a 1/4 cup of water emptied on their tray and let them splash around. After a few minutes of them having fun watching the water splash as they hit their hand down, add a toy or two (water book, blocks, large legos etc.) along with the water, to keep their interest.
2. Snacks to help work on pincer grasp & fine motor; Cheerios, frozen wild blueberries, or some slippery small pieces of fruit to keep them trying (kiwi, avocado, watermelon etc.). If your little one has already easily mastered the cheerios and the blueberries, let them work on the slippery food; not only will this work their fine motor skills, it will peak their interest with the food slipping away from their fingers as they try to grab it.
3. Kitchen tools: measuring cups, measuring spoons, silicon muffin liners, wooden spoons etc.: Babies love to discover new toys and letting them explore your kitchen tools is more exciting than any toy they encounter on their play mat. There are many new textures, weights, and sizes to be exposed to.
4. Sticky cooked noodles for some pasta play: Kids of all ages go wild over sensory play and pasta play is one of the top ones. This is so great for babies, because they get all the benefits of sensory play while it being edible. This way you don’t have to worry about them eating something that can harm them. The noddles are always fun because it sticks to them, which adds a whole other element of the sensory play.
5. A few toys can be played with on the tray (blocks, mirror, light up toys, suction table top toys, sensory bottles, sensory bags, books etc.): when in doubt, don’t forget about all the great toys they already have and love. by having a simple change of scenery adds for a whole new level of exploration. The toys will likely behave and function differently on the the tray, than on the carpet.
1. Muffin tin with- ball game: This one is great because there are many variations and extensions. I prefer to use a small 6 hole muffin tin. This fits nicely on a highchair tray as is less overwhelming for younger toddlers. You can use balls or small items to have them fit into each muffin hole. They will get a kick out of lining each item up over and over again. For an older toddler and an extension on the activity, you can give them a large spoon to hold each item in to be placed in the hole.
2. Messy edible paint on tray: Such a fun sensory activity for them. If your child is old enough to not sample the paint, then finger paints are great and wash off easy. My little one still likes to sneak in a taste from time to time, so I prefer the edible paint. A simple edible paint recipe is just yogurt & coloring of some type (food coloring, or blended berries, spices, and veggies for an all natural coloring).
3. Snacks in a bowl & give them a spoon or fork to work with: If you don’t normally allow your child to fully feed themselves, then this also doubles for a great activity that is sure to build autonomy skills, confidence, fine motor skills, and keep them occupied.
4. Mini plastic cups pouring activity (the “solo” plastic shot glasses work great). I picked up a pack of these at our local dollar store. I filled a few of them half way up and allowed him to practice pouring water from one cup to another. He had so much pouring and drinking out of the cups, then after several minutes it evolved into a stacking game. For an older toddler, you can hand them a larger “picture” with water for them to pour and fill the small cups up.
5. Magnets (magnet tiles, magnet letter, magnet numbers, etc.) and a small baking sheet, or other metal surface: This is always a great entertainer and can also be done on the ground using the fridge. I prefer to keep it up in the highchair while I am getting in and out of the fridge, because my little guy loves to sneak in the fridge behind me! By adding a metal surface, this allows them stick the item onto and build up!
There are some simple baby & toddler activities to keep your little one occupied in the highchair while your are busy cooking in the kitchen. Don’t forget to have some music playing in the background to sing and dance a long with. This also provides oodles of entertainment and for your little one, while also building language skills! What type of baby & toddler activities do you prefer while you are cooking in the kitchen?