Food and food preparation is a large part of childhood (being fed to learning how to eat to watching food be prepared to going to restaurants). Playing with pretend food, cooking, serving, and shopping are wonderful play and learning activities for children and will evolve as they grow.
Having a pretend kitchen, collection of kitchen items, and play food are perfect toys for discovery and proper development for any young child. My 8 year old decided to set up a restaurant outside on the swing-set. My 10 year old acted as the “Manager”. I ordered and played the customer. Children will learn how to simulate cooking, use their imaginations, negotiate, order, take orders, and more!
Pretend food, empty & clean recycled plastic containers, egg cartons, cereal & pasta boxes, plastic vegetables and fruit, other
Today’s find on the side of the road! will turn this into new, plastics are very durable (and saved me @ $100). Different types of “houses” are a very important part of imaginative play. Children can use them with dolls, Shopkins, Fisher Price people, Star Wars figures, or other. Houses add a component to play that allows children to pretend and create scenarios they experience every day (going to school, the doctors, and even just being at home). Having different house options changes the dynamic each time when they are alternated in and out. I always pick these up on the side of the road when I see them. And, when my children outgrow them or our collection of houses get too large, I donate them. I love seeing my girls faces of excitement when a “new” house waits for them as they get off the bus! Hours of fun to come!
A room with different options provides children the opportunity to explore and find their interests! However, even if a child is drawn to a preference like dolls, it doesn’t mean they will always play with those toys. Nor should you get rid of toys they don’t play with frequently. Just put them away. When toys are reintroduced, weeks or even months later, every time they are taken out they feel like new! This is called “rotating the toys”. My son didn’t play with the construction toys for weeks but this week he used them often.
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All Toys are NOT created equal! Open ended toys like manipulatives provide the greatest opportunity for learning. Manipulatives are things that can be “manipulated”, like legos, blocks, magnets. One of my favorites, that my children still use after 9 years, is “Tall Stackers Pegs Building Sets”. They have built so many variations of structures I couldn’t possibly count! ***Make sure to like our page or follow the blog to receive constant tips and ideas for learning at home