We have a make-shift sensory tub that often makes its way into the middle of our kitchen where we conduct experiments, make “cakes and pies,” and mess around with the feel of stuff. Some of the things we’ve filled it with are dry beans, oobleck, jello, vinegar and baking soda, and rice.

I’m always on the lookout for neat-o objects that might challenge and delight my child, and when I saw this flour sifter in the market I had a feeling she’d love it. And she does. Loves it. I’ve used it maybe once (I guess I’m not picky about eating lumpy cake), so if we were to mark ownership based on usage, it’s definitely hers!

flour sifter

I set her up with a couple plastic containers full of flour, a measuring cup, measuring spoons, a soup spoon, and a crank-style sifter. Once she got to work, she poured a few cups of flour into the sifter and started cranking away, making some great crusty ol’ noises.

flour sifter

She dumped out the flour dregs that didn’t spin through.

flour sifter

And then she had a pile of flour ready to mold into a tiny mountain. This process repeated a handful of times, just long enough for me to do some dishes and start dinner.

What other kitchen tools do you play with?

This post was shared with Art for Little Hands


  1. When my oldest was a toddler I tried in vain to find one of those set up for lefties. I finally found a squeeze-handle one, but it never did work correctly. I’ve since tossed them all (flour residue) and gotten one of those fine-mesh sieves to sift things together instead. When I was a kid I loved playing with the hand-operated egg beaters–they had gears and a handle crank, do you remember them? I think I finally tracked some down but they never worked as smoothly. I’ll have to dig them up and see if my daughter wants to give them a try.

    Hmm, I don’t think we’ve “played” in the kitchen for a while–generally if G is in there with me she’s helping somehow. There are a lot of kitchen things in the sand box though…

    • I loved those egg beaters too!! Must try to find one at a garage sale this summer. The squeeze handle sifters are hard for ME to use! Too bad they don’t make these for lefties — seems like a big miss.

    • He would! I think I found ours in a gourmet-ish supermarket.

  2. Rachelle, This is great!
    I’ve used flour sifters too (I purchased 2 at Value Village – a secondhand store), and have just once used it in a large sensory table at Xmas with some ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon and flour. My kids loved it. I need to get this out again.

    In terms of other kitchen tools, well we use some actual tools such as spatulas, large spoons in our dramatic play.

    Garlic presses arre nice with playdough.

    I like letting babies play with actual pots, pans and other kitchen ware. When my son was a baby there was one cupboard he always had access too. I think it’s a very inexpensive way to provide some great play.

    If I worked with toddlers I’d want to have a selection of real pots, etc. for them to play with.
    My son did anything from using the pots as drums with spoons, stacking the containers, and of course putting them on his head!

    • Mmmmm, I love the idea of using the sifter with spices. I can see why the children enjoyed it so! Giving children access to real pots (within reason, of course!) helps them understand the properties of metal and distribution of weight. And the noises children can make on them….well, that’s a love/hate story 🙂

  3. We need to get a flour sifter! We Love playing with our metal vegetable steamer that inserts in pans! I think C has played with just about any kitchen tool or container that she could get her hands on! Sometimes I think I give her too much access and then I can’t find certain tools or containers! Of course, it is always fun to play in the cupboards where all the kitchen things are stored too!

    • Oh, melissa, we’re in the same boat. N has full access to most of the kitchen, but the good side of that is that when I misplace something she knows exactly where I can find it!

  4. I was shocked when my 3 yr old wanted to shred cheese like her older brother. She made a huge mess but it kept her engrossed and engaged (and she ate alot of it!).

    • Wow, Deanan! And I take it she came through unscathed! That’s awesome. Food (and keeping up with older siblings) can be very motivating.

  5. If use = ownership then my 4 year old son is the proud owner of both a turkey baster and a gravy separator. They are his favorites for water play in our sensory table.

    • Ha! Same with my turkey baster, which currently has a home in our bath tub. I had to look up gravy separator — that would be a fun water table toy.

  6. Well, pretty much any tool that’s in the kitchen gets used by my little one at some point. The sifter, the whisks, the tongs and the baster. All the pots and pans. The egg beater. The egg slicer. Really anything except for knives and a couple other things.

    • Oh, I forgot about our egg slicer. That’s a fun one — we’ll have to bring that out again. Big miss, with Easter behind us!

  7. What a fun thing to have for your children to play with. I love that she just gets to explore different objects in this way. It is like having a sandbox in the house! Great idea. Thanks for sharing on my blog party.

    • Thanks for popping over, Laura. The table is great for cold days and for when I’m cooking dinner and she needs to be inside with me.

    • Ha ha! I can totally picture this.

  8. I think a whisk would be my kids favorite! My 3 1/2 year old made Mac and cheese on the stove for the first time I prepped everything and she had the biggest smile on her face stirring and making it “all by herself”

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