Cooperation in the Kitchen
Since Asante and Aly are off at public school this year, Ada has really taken to the idea that we are “homeschooling” her for preschool. Probably because she’s the third kid, I’m a little (okay, a lot) less structured in what we go through together. I often ask her, “So, sister, whatcha wanna learn about today?” I always get one answer: cooking.
Cooking is a great way to practice cooperation. There is no winner. Everyone can join in and contribute meaningful to the preparation of the meal. And everyone gets to eat at the end! How fantastic is that?
Suzanne, from that fantastic Cooperative Games website I shared on Monday, created a game with a friend called Preschooler in the Kitchen. This game is a cooperative game in which all players have to get to the table, with a fruit, in order to “win”. Along the way there can be a few mishaps where one has to lose a turn, but other players can offer a heart card to prevent the mishap from occurring. The game encourages generosity, and it also provides a way for preschoolers to practice some real kitchen/cooking tasks.
We played this game twice. Once the short way, once the long way.
Short way: You can just play it like a board game. Kids can pretend to do the tasks on the cards that allow them to move their piece forward. At the end, be prepared to make a fruit salad in real life! We played this with some neighbor friends, and they really liked it! I asked what they did or didn’t like about it, and I overwhelming got the response that they liked that it was a working together game- they could just play it and have fun without worrying about winning. Yep, they really said that!
On the flip side, they said it was a little too long and they wanted more shortcuts on the board. It was long playing with 4 kids who were hungry for the fruit cup snack at the end :).
Long way: Around each meal and snack time, each child draws a card, does what the card says during the meal prep or eating time, and then moves their piece. Ada, Aly and I played it this way since the game is mostly intended for preschoolers, and because we share the most snack/meal times together. I think I was the weakest link during this way of playing– I’d always get distracted and forget to do it with them (even though it was right there on our fridge!). Give me some grace– I have a lot of kids.
I LOVED the idea of a printable fridge game, and I loved that the game gave me the opportunity to reinforce about topics such as table manners, kitchen safety, etc. I would definitely recommend this game for preschoolers– I found that those kids who are already steeped in competitive gaming (i.e. older kids) kept on wanting to turn this game into a competition (i.e. who can get to the table first). Who can blame them? It takes a bit of unlearning to start thinking in a different way.
And, because this is an EAT post, I will leave you with the recipe for our delicious fruit salad:
- Can of tropical fruit, packed in 100% fruit juice