Friday, July 20, 2012

Kitchen Play Center....don't give up on it yet!

Early Childhood experts agree on the importance of play.  I dare you to find one expert that says children DON'T benefit from play. . . trust me, you won't find one!

My own daughter was a kindergartner last year and she has been dreading first grade all summer. 
She said they aren't allowed to play in first grade!  I hope she's wrong but she's probably right.  

Standards are climbing and teachers are scrambling to keep up.

No, we don't play all day BUT we DO PLAY!  And yes, I believe in the power of play!
Ok, I'm off my high horse.

My kitchen center needed a little attention this year so I've spent the summer collecting and making items to replenish it a little.

Here's what I've been doing:
This is my daughter's kitchen at home.

One thing I've found is that kids prefer playing with the "real deal!"  Instead of spending lots of money on fake food simply clean out your own containers instead of throwing them away!  

If you keep cans (like the Manwich can in the picture) make sure you open the can from the bottom.  It won't have the sharp edges that can cut and when you put it on the shelf it looks like it hasn't been opened yet.

I've also been working on some paper items to put in the center.

click picture to see on TPT

The great thing about play is that they don't need directions.  Experts also agree we shouldn't guide play.  Kids know how to do it naturally.  

So let them play!
And learn.
And grow.


  1. Good thoughts Michelle! My principal asked me at the end of the school year if I wanted to get rid of my kitchen. I firmly said no... I am so going to use your restaurant! Thanks so much!

    1. Yay! So glad you said "no!" It's so hard for some people to understand but they DO learn from play that we don't control. Thanks for leaving the comment! :)

  2. I taught kindergarten for nine years and it is where my heart is, although I teach first grade now. I COULD NOT, in good conscience, get rid of the 'housekeeping' area if I were still teaching kinder. I was so dismayed when I found out our half day teacher had gotten rid of the kitchen/play area. It is such a disservice to our kiddos. When they come to first grade, it is obvious that they did not get enough play time in kinder. THEY NEED PLAY TIME!! I am SO glad you're standing firm on this Michelle! Keep up the excellent work you are obviously doing!

  3. I WISH our school was ok with play. Although, there is barely room for enough tables for my students let alone enough for a kitchen set. Do you have any recommendations on choice centers for small rooms? We are changing reading programs this year and I might have a small 20-min block and would love to do choice centers if I can. Thanks!

    1. Good for you! You will never be sorry you give them time for play! The great thing about kids is that they will make play out of anything you give them. Buckets of food is really all they need...the kitchen itself is a nice extra but they'll make a kitchen out of your tables if they want to cook! My kinders favorites "play" buckets are: play dough, legos, stamps/art supplies and the small toys such as cars, plastic animals, etc. They also love playing with any of the classroom "teaching" supplies I allow them to use. The love to pretend to be "in charge!"

  4. I moved up tp first grade 2 years ago and I love it. I also loved kindergarten, I can't imagine not having a housekeeping area. It makes me sad because one of the kdg teachers at my school turns all of her kitchen stuff around where the kids can't play with it. She doesn't do centers. It really bothers me. They come to my room for 1st and we have centers.

    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  5. This is going to sound really silly, but I've never thought of using real food containers for play! Is that crazy or what? Thanks for opening my eyes! LOL!

    ❤Mrs. McKown
    Little Literacy Learners

  6. Awww, I miss my housekeeping set. We just did not have room for it! I like all your ideas!

  7. I love this idea! I posted on this on our blog!

    Check out my "What's for Lunch?" packet! :)


  8. Play is so essential to young children's learning. Wouldn't it be fabulous if all the "powers that be" realized that play truly is how children learn. I love my kitchen center - and more importantly, so do the kids : )

    I am hosting a Pete the Cat linky party. It would wonderful if you could link up your Pete the Cat school tour cards.

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