Monday, February 08, 2010

Classroom Kitchens: Teaching Cooperative Play & Hours of Fun


If you teach young children, your classroom probably includes some toys that are perfect for stimulating the imagination. After all, those in preschool and kindergarten usually need several breaks during their day, and encouraging creativity is often a positive thing. For this reason, classroom kitchen centers are the type of classroom furniture that you should consider purchasing. Not only can they allow several children to play cooperatively at one time, but they usually fit perfectly into the corner of any classroom.


If your class consists of younger kids who may or may not be interested in classroom kitchen centers, you might try starting out with a basic product. This type is typically comprised of a simple sink and stove that are side by side. You may add toys, such as plastic dishes and food, as long as you believe that your students will not lose or swallow them. As you know, larger play items are usually safer at most preschools, so be sure to take the ages of your students into account when purchasing accessories for classroom kitchen centers.


If you think your students might get bored with a simple center, consider the purchase of more complex pretend kitchens. These are usually great for older kids who want a more realistic play center, such as several shelves on which to place dishes, or a refrigerator to put play food in. Of course, if you think your students are responsible enough to handle plastic or wooden play food and dishes, you can add them to the set so that playtime is even more fun than ever. This also means that more kids can play at once.


In some cases, you can start out with a simple center and then add to it. For example, you might begin with a single stove and sink set, and then add a wooden refrigerator or additional shelves when you think your students are ready to move on. You can usually observe their behavior around the set in order to decide. If there are several students interested in playing with classroom kitchen centers and not enough room, adding a few units to your classroom could be a good idea. You can even add more interesting accessories, such as a blender or coffeemaker. Kids of all ages usually have fun mimicking their parents in the kitchen as if they were older, which means that classroom kitchen centers of all kinds are likely to entertain for hours.


Most of the classroom kitchen centers you will find for sale are made of wood, though some are plastic instead. The majority include plastic knobs on the stove and faucets on the sink to make for the most realistic play possible. Most are set at heights that are perfect for toddlers and young kids, and are meant to be quite difficult to tip over. As long as the classroom kitchen centers that you see on the market include these traits, you will probably find them to be both safe and amusing for your students.

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