My toddler can get squirrely in the 20 minutes or so leading up to lunch. It’s hard for him to wait for the food to be ready and it’s hard for him to find something to keep himself occupied on his own.
In a desperate measure the other day, I grabbed a pipette, a spoon, an ice cube tray and a small ramekin of water. I don’t really know why I grabbed what I did but I rolled with it and set him up at the table with the supplies. Then I stood back and let him figure it out. He wasted no time dipping the pipette into the ramekin and squirting the water into each ice cube well. He also had fun taking spoonfuls of water and pouring them into the ice cube tray.
After about 10 minutes of water play, I decided a tiny drop of food coloring might enhance things a bit. I would recommend an old shirt for this though and lay down a towel underneath the ice cube tray if you think things might get a bit too crazy. I took a couple of moments in between chopping vegetables and whatnot to show him how to combine drops of water from one color with drops of water of a different color to create a brand new color. I asked him over my shoulder (as I simultaneously Super Mom-ed putting together our Snack Lunch) what color he thought red and yellow would make. He made his best guess and I asked him to test it by putting a drop of each in an empty ice cube well. He more or less was able to try it on his own and was delighted to see colors appearing before his eyes.
Another few minutes and I had lunch ready and had successfully kept my little guy distracted without a meltdown or the usual aid of the tv. Win!! In fact, this went so well that I may even put together several busy bags to store in the kitchen specifically for this purpose!
Try giving your youngsters something to busy themselves with while you prepare a meal.
Oh, and *Peek -a- Boo!* (Just because) ;0)