Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"Play Kitchen" Designs for the Schoolroom

I absolutely LOVE the beautiful play kitchen designs from Elves & Angels and we had one for the girls when they were growing up. I gave it -- and all of the hand knitted, crocheted, and sewn fabric kitchen foods I had collected over the years -- to a friend for her lovely granddaughter and so I know we will be looking into a play kitchen again for my little Zac. One of the things I was thinking about is a long wooden outdoor storage bench that my grandfather built for firewood. I think it would be great to just stencil a few circles on the top of it, as "burners," and then let him keep acorns and moss and whatever else he wants to be the foods in little baskets under the bench top. This would be a quick and easy outdoor play kitchen that will probably keep him occupied for many hours. I got the idea for the stenciled circles after seeing it done on stumps on a Nature Explore playground. Brilliant!

I've been substitute teaching in the preschool/kindy classroom at a local school and they have one little plastic play kitchen with a sign posted there that says only two people at a time. It is a huge hotspot, naturally, and the children quarrel over it constantly. The aide told me that they used to have a second tabletop play kitchen set up but that the children kept knocking it over all the time so they got rid of it. I looked at her and thought, these kids NEED another play kitchen. So, beyond the painting burners on the playground stumps idea, does anyone have suggestions for really quick and simple kitchen setups? I would love to encourage more imaginative play in this group of kids. One of them actually looked at me yesterday like I was S-L-O-W and explained to me in no uncertain terms when I said something about toys, "We don't play with our toys. We watch them."

I was stunned. This generation will face so many challenges. And a loss of play seems to be right at the top of that list.

The Challenge of the Will: Experiences with Young Children

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