A few years ago when Sunflower was just a baby and I was beginning to discover the world of Waldorf pedagogy, Isabel Fernandez del Castillo (author of the famous book, the Birth Revolution and later the godmother of Metamorphosis), gave a few days in Mallorca where He commented that the best investment we can make in toys for a child is a kitchen to put in the kitchen.
She is also a Waldorf mom, she precisely takes her daughters to a Waldorf school in Madrid, and when she commented on this, which surprised me because of the logic that it is and how little it is applied, I went a step further towards this pedagogy.
That’s why Sunflower has always had a playful environment in the kitchen of our house, where it has all the elements at its disposal to play symbolically and represent domestic chores.
The importance of home play environments
The director of my daughter’s school, Laura Play, once told me a phrase that stuck with me: “Children do not need many toys, much less sophisticated toys; they are the toy factories that need children”.
It was one of those true truths that make you wonder about the need for children to be stuffed with toys at all times, most of them of poor quality and that also do not accompany their natural process of discovering and experiencing the world.
For that reason, and as you already know, I am in favor that at home there is not a great over stimulation of toys and those that are true (of noble materials, not plastic) and are very thoughtful.
In addition, whenever possible, it is ideal to define areas for play activities within the home (on the outside area I already spoke to you here); from a zone to paint, color and make crafts, a corner of the dolls, a bench or easel with baskets and different simple game elements (such as building blocks, natural elements, wooden animals or knitwear, fabrics …) and of course a corner with a play kitchen.
This brings advantages. To begin, sorting the space where the child plays
And making sure everything is in place will suggest to the child that there is a general order in life.
In addition, the orderly arrangement of the toys in the different spaces will encourage the child to motivate himself in his game and in this way it will be easy to find him one day playing quietly and only when he wakes up. While if the toys are piled in a box , do not suggest anything. What’s more, the child feels invaded by objects (because objects have a presence that carries the environment) and what he does is close to them, as if he did not see them.
Organize the symbolic play area of the kitchen in the kitchen!
One thing you have already discovered as a mother / father is that your child wants to be where you are.
The places in the house where we spend most time during the day are the living room and the kitchen , so it is important to establish play areas in both spaces, and what better way to take advantage of all the action and imitation potential that is developed in the kitchen that with a game environment.
A toy kitchen is a basic game element for both a boy and a girl.
We could make some DIY kitchen, you can make a simple imitation kitchen and sink with a wooden box, in which a hole is opened in the upper surface and placed in the hollow a metal basin. The kitchen controls can be drawn by hand. It would be even better to place a front door with hinges and shelves inside, but it is not essential.
On Interest you can find some very inspiring ideas of DIY wood kitchens, made with pallets or with a bedside table for example.
If you buy a kitchen, please make it wooden!
If you opt for the option of buying play kitchen, something very important (at least for me) is that it is made of wood and not plastic.
It is not the first time I tell you (see here), but plastic is a cold element that does not teach or transmit anything to the child, which does not exist in nature and on the other hand does not allow a coherent experience for the child.
For example, you will agree with me that it is not the same to lift a large wooden truck to a large plastic truck. When you lift a large element so easily, without much effort, the experience of weight that we transmit to the child is as false, instead a wooden toy that weighs, that has texture, consistency and also transmits sensations such as the warmth of the wood, offers a more authentic vision of reality.
So if you are looking for a kitchen, it should be made of wood, although I know from experience that it is not always easy to find it, because there are often lacquered with many bright colors and details, for me, unnecessary.
In our case, the symbolic play corner in the kitchen began as a tiny wooden module (what a shame I do not have a photo), and now we have this bamboo kitchen, which I love because of its simplicity and at the same time complete that is. I cannot like it anymore, it’s so Waldorf!
We have it placed next to the table waitress of the coffee machine, what allows us to take advantage of the inferior shelves to keep other utensils and complements for her.
The texture of this kitchen is super nice and also brings some wooden pots and utensils, and has doors that open and plenty of storage space. The stoves also rotate with a click.
If you are interested, this kitchen can be found here.
Other things that we have in this corner, in addition to natural things that we are changing as nuts, pineapples, shells, sticks (used to cook in addition to everything you get for the kitchen), are fruits and vegetables made of wood.
And there you have it, a couple of wooden spoons, some small plates and glasses and trays to fill, empty, and make your creations. Nothing else is needed, and I can assure you that many times you are working in the kitchen, your child will also do it in theirs, by your side. You can spend hours like that!