It's very important for parents to occasionally get involved in their children's play, if only just to experience the worlds that their children are creating. As long as you go along with whatever your children are coming up with, you can show your children that you care and are interested in what they are doing. One main source of playacting for children is pretending that they are in the kitchen. Kitchens, especially for young children, are areas where many things are off limits because hot stoves are dangerous. Wooden or plastic kitchens allow them to explore everything and pretend that they are adults who are able to navigate this part of the world safely. Here are some ways that you can interact with your children while they are playing with their toy kitchen in a way that is constructive.
1. Create Recipe Cards
Go out and get your children some plastic food or get a variety of pipe cleaners, beads, and other craft supplies. Put these in a large box where your children can easily access them. Then, create recipes that your children can follow. Write the recipes in words and pictures so that even the youngest siblings can follow along. Make the recipes simple, such as "seven red beads, three green pipe cleaners, and four feathers; put in the oven for ten seconds" or "three pieces of bread, a lemon, and some french fries." Your children can either choose to follow the instructions or make their own concoctions. Either way, be very excited when they show you what they've made and be willing to provide help if they really want to follow the recipes you've made but can't.
2. Be a Guest at Their Restaurant
Another option is to be a guest at a restaurant that your children are running. Have your children draw out a menu or recite some dishes to you and choose something that you would like to eat. You can make this more interactive by pretending to be an irascible guest who keeps sending the food back and complains about the temperature or the texture. This will allow your children to come up with creative methods of dealing with their frustrating customer and there's a good chance that the entire thing will end in the giggles.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in wooden play kitchens. They might have more ideas and wooden food that you can purchase as well.