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Pretend cooking with real ingredients has been a popular and recurring acitivity in our household ever since I saw a post on PlayCreateExplore last year.  Yummy gets into a phase with it, asking to "do cooking" every day several times for about a week, then we both forget about it for a month or so until she remembers and gets back into again.  
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I keep a bucket of dry food in the pantry especially for Pretend Cooking: stale croutons, quinoa macaroni that nobody enjoyed, apple cinnamon cheerios that no one liked the taste of, etc.  Sometimes I add a shaker of cinnamon (because sprinkling spices on is fun), or I use all edible foods (like the tray of cut up fruit in the top left corner).  I always make sure she knows what she shouldn't eat -she is old enough now that she won't choke on dry beans, but they aren't the tastiest treat.

*Important note:  Water is essential for utmost fun in this activity!!  I give Yummy a measuring cup or pourable jar of water to use, only filling it up a little way so she doesn't make a flood right away and can ask for refills.    


We are in an "on" phase right now, and the fun has been increased by the addition of a handheld mixer that I found at the dollar store.  Yummy loves how quickly the beaters spin, and yet it doesn't sound loud and awful like my electric mixer.  I give Yummy a little squeeze bottle of watered down dish soap to add to the bowl for frothy, bubbly fun.  I let her know that she only gets one little bottle full a day, though, so she is sure to conserve the soap.
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Dooter is old enough now to enjoy pouring and mixing and soon I want to set up a cooking station outside for both the kids, using all foods that Dooter can eat.  Then they can both mix and munch to their hearts' content.  



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