It’s 6:40 AM on a weekday, we’re already up, showered, dressed, and halfway through breakfast and my almost 2-year old says, “Coffee?”
Yes. Coffee. Does he know me or what?
But his brilliant cognitive mind is NOT thinking of his Mama first, unfortunately. He’s [once again] thinking about himself.
We’ve had the Green Toys Tea Set since his first birthday, and it’s been in our toy rotation ever since. But in this house, we’re not much of “tea” drinkers. So we’ve always called it his “coffee set,” to create our adult-world in his child-centered play, just as Maria Montessori would suggest.
I’m also a huge fan of breaking the gender norms when it comes to toys. My son has a tea (ehem strike that) coffee set, baby doll, and serves soup out of his kitchen like a master toddler chef. In fact, the Green Toys Tea Set in Blue is my go-to First Birthday gift for every boy pal just to be different, because I know that blocks, trains, and cars are always going to be in the mix.
Toys that promote a sequence of events during play (like tea/coffee sets), create more complex cognitive patterns in the brains of our little ones. The language that accompanies each of these events is rich with the ability to give your child an opportunity to hear more different words, which has been found to maximize vocabulary development.
So the sequence of play, and vocabulary magic would go something like this:
- Brew the coffee in the pot (cue loud brewing pssshhhh—puh puh noises)
- Pour the coffee in the cup, be careful not to spill!!!
- One scoop of sugar and just a tiny dash of milk, please
- May I have a spoon, please? Stir it up, mix slowly and carefully… oooooh, this is going to be delicious.
- Eek! It’s hot. Can you help me blow? Cool it down…. ok, ready now!
- Drink! (cue loud slurping, gulping, and over-exaggerated MMMmmmmm sound)
Now, my toddler isn’t quite ready to do all 7 steps solo, but I can walk him through these and we serve coffee to family members and our closest stuffed animal friends, of course. Doing this sequence again and again promotes repetition, which is exactly what little brains need to grow.
Remember that play is your child’s job. So the next time you’re brewing your real cup of coffee, let your little one watch as you work the Keurig and once you’ve had your fix, your kiddo can brew a pretend cup to follow.
It’s kind of our morning routine now.