Creating in the kitchen
They say that a kitchen is the “heart of the home” – sure it’s corny, but when you have little children the kitchen can be the room where much of the day’s action takes place. It’s where food is prepared, meals are served, cuppas are poured, and news is shared. It’s a room chock full of aromas and noises, from the hubbub of the fridge to the whistle of the kettle. And it’s a good place to keep little fingers busy while big fingers get jobs done.
Fortunately the kitchen is also a top spot to have some arty fun. And why not? Those smooth flat surfaces are perfect to create on, then easy to wipe clean. There’s running water to wash sticky brushes and icky fingers, and there's a supply of art materials on hand - so get ready to peer into your pantry with fresh eyes.
Here are simple ideas for getting crafty with 2 pantry staples: potatoes & pasta.
Got a bag of spuds? Well bingo... you’re halfway to some cool printing.
Potato printing is a classic craft, tho really any hard fruit or vegetable can be turned into a cool printing stamp. Experiment with apples, pears, turnips or eggplant. Did you know that the cut end of a bunch of celery prints a fabulous rosette? Don’t waste the good edible stuff, but if that spud has sprouted, or that apple has a bruise, offer it to your budding kitchen artist, along with a splodge of paint and a pile of paper.
Here's how it's done... cut the fruit or veg in half and pat it dry on paper towel. Spread the paint onto an old plastic lid, then dip in the cut surface. Use it to stamp onto paper (anything from envelopes to magazines will do). You don’t need to offer a whole rainbow of colours - sometimes less is more, and it’s nice to offer just one paint colour plus white.
You can extend this simple activity by cutting shapes into the veggie stamp with a sharp knife before you pass them to the kids. Remember that if you’re cutting a letter, it needs to be carved backwards.
Get really snazzy and commission the kids to print a unique sheet of wrapping paper - stamp over a painting from kinder. Print on fabric - my kids once made a whole set of potato printed pillowcases as gifts for their cousins, and they were a real hit.
Pasta threading is fun and great for busy fingers. This activity can be as simple as offering your young artist a bowlful of penne straight from the pantry with a piece of string, or as fancy as pre-dying an array of pasta shapes for some really colourful threading.
Plain pasta is perfectly fine for threading, but it’s really not tricky to whip up a cute batch of dyed pasta shapes for some really rainbow creations. To dye pasta simply put a cup or so of uncooked pasta into a ziplock bag (use one bag for each colour). Add some food colouring plus a teaspoon of vinegar (this enables the dye to disperse without making the pasta soft, and its smell soon dissipates). Gently shake the pasta around in the bag to spread the dye, then spread the pasta out into a baking tray and leave it uncovered to dry out for a couple of hours.
This brightly coloured pasta lasts for ages, so make big batches and store it in a sealed container. String, wool or shoelaces are prefect for threading, but make sure you tie on a noodle anchor on first to stop all the pasta sliding off the end. You can also use pipecleaners or straw for your threading.
Yes, your kitchen is full of creative possibilities that your kids will enjoy. Keep your eyes open for opportunities!
Egg cartons are great for paint palettes, and ideal for construction
Plastic containers from yoghurt etc. make great paint pots
Kitchen rolls are perfect for construction and creative play
Plastic lids make great palettes
Polystyrene trays are perfect palettes for rollers or wide brushes