Will your child be ready for kindergarten?

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Helping Children Learn to Play Series #7: Play Kitchens

Play Kitchens Cook Up Brain Food

Play kitchens are often a popular choice for young children and can support their early development. Preschool children’s early education is delivered through PLAY, so it’s critical for us to provide opportunities and to extend the ways kids can play. The kinds of toys and experiences young kids have for play will influence not just their play but their learning too.

play kitchens and kidsWhen we think of children as smart, we are often referring to using big words or knowing numbers and letters, but there many ways to be smart, including life skills. A child’s kitchen will encourage life-skill and other play. In a play kitchen, kids are imitating the adult world. They are practicing what it feels like to make so many decisions, figuring out what events happen in what order, and interacting with others.

play kitchens and kidsWe can support this play by what we do in the kitchen. For instance, when you are making a meal, talk outloud about what you need to do first. You might say, “I need to put the cereal in the bowl before I pour on the milk.” Count and use numbers in your work that your child can use in play.

categorizing-childrenPlay kitchens can be a small space in a room. Mud kitchens outside are another marvelous option. Instead of purchasing, a play kitchen can be made with boxes and a few recycled items. Cut a door in a tall box to make a fridge. Shelves can be added by making narrow slots on the sides and sliding in flat pieces of cardboard that will stick out just a bit. On a smaller box, to make a stove, glue 4 circles to be the burners and cut out a door for the oven. Add some inexpensive items like unbreakable dishes, empty boxes from groceries, plastic foods, and other containers. Sometimes a table or floor is enough. Children’s imagination will supply the rest.

pots-pansChildren will play over and over in their kitchen space–boys as well as girls. In their pretend play, they will solve problems, plan, and organize. We can also participate and play along or let them play independently as well as with other children. Including kids in our activities in the kitchen provides them a model to imitate. Using lots of language for what we are doing gives kids the words and language patterns to use in their play.

Children get to practice how to meet one of their most basic needs-food. Food is itself an ingredient in many life experiences of interacting with others. Much of our cultures revolve around preparing and eating food. A play kitchen is an opportunity for children to develop and learn important life skills and make critical brain connections. As adults and caregivers what we do can expand how children play and influence their learning. Does your child have a play kitchen?

Kindergarten Readiness: Fun & Learning in the Kitchen

Encouraging your toddler’s early learning or preschooler’s kindergarten readiness can be as easy as opening a drawer in your kitchen. Having a drawer with plastic containers and safe tools gives your child something to play with while you are busy. The crawlers discover how they can take everything out of the drawer. Small containers willContinue Reading

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Kitchen

As children play, they are¬†creating brain connections, learning many important skills and¬†developing kindergarten readiness. Did you know that every room in your house has special opportunities for play? Here’s some ways that your child can learn and play in the kitchen: A low drawer dedicated to unbreakable plastic containers can be used by a kneelingContinue Reading

Copyright 2014 Barbara Allisen & 123 Kindergarten