Cooking in the Sink – Sensory Pretend Play

water table ideas for preschool Even though I wish all summer could be spent outside rainy days or too hot days means more time inside and for antsy toddlers that can be hard. This activity occupied my 2 year old for a good 40 minutes and she had fun too. Below are a few tips on how to make play like this last longer without sparing the fun.

  1. Gather your materials. We grabbed an apron, a pot, some corks, spoons and a ladle . We also used dish soap half way through.
  2. Start by filling the sink and asking your child if they want to cook.
  3. Let them play.
  4. Without prompting she threw some corks in and then scooped them out and into the pot. Can you say hand eye coordination development ?
  5. She mixed and splashed . When she was tiring of it I asked if she wanted to look at all the different tools for cooking. She loved the whisk.
  6. Next I asked if she wanted bubbles…of course that was a yes too .water play for kids
  7. The whisk was extra fun in the bubbles. She even caught a cork.
  8. For us the sign that she was done was that these big waves turned into let’s make Mama wet even after reminders that the water stays in the sink. You will find your child’s own end signs where gentle redirection fails and every day will be different, some days this will last a long time others it just won’t. It’s not you or your child it’s just the way it is, if it fails try again another day. 

Throughout the pretend play I followed her lead. She told me it was cheese soup and I asked her questions about her cheese soup, about cooking etc… I know that pretending doesn’t come naturally to all parents but try to at least ask a few questions and indulge their imaginations. It’s OK to feel silly sometimes even if it doesn’t come naturally.


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  1. says

    I just had my own version of this yesterday with my 21-month-old. She LOVED it, and I was able to make dinner with minimal problems. I just placed a towel on the floor underneath where she was playing to soak up any spills and gave her a dish towel, reminding her to cleanup periodically, and she was set. I’d definitely be doing this again! And maybe next time we’ll try the sink. 🙂 Thanks for sharing all of your ideas!

  2. says

    My girls always loved that! just make sure you disinfect the sink first. My friend didn’t had her toddler put his hands in his mouth while playing and got a really bad tummy thing. Doctor at the children’s hospital said the kitchen sink is the dirtiest thing in the house and harbors more e coli and salmonella then anything.

  3. Samantha says

    I love this activity! My 2 year old loves putting non-cooking items in the water and it quickly led to learning the difference between “sink” and “float”. He caught on lots quicker than I expected and spent the next 20 minutes adding various objects to the sink and guessing whether it would “sink” or “float”.


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