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January project: Set up your 'home corner' pantry play area

Author: Kriskamol Vutithum

Welcome to our first blog post of 2021!

A new year has begun and the days are gradually getting longer with more sunlight. Decluttering your home and rearranging your space allows new energy and joy to come into your living space. This is more important then ever as many of us are spending a lot more time indoors this year. 
   In this first blog post, we want to introduce you to a project that would not only help declutter your space but will keep both children and adult busy and contribute to a meaningful play session. 'Home corner' is a dedicated play area that incorporate anything we can find in our home but in a smaller/children size. You might have seen it in form of a tiny kitchen, pantry or shops filled with knitted, soft dolls or wooden toys in vegetable and fruit shapes, eggs, sauce bottles, sugar box etc. 
    This play area allows children to take control of their environment, make decisions, use their imagination, re-enact situation they have experience or heard about. By setting up this corner, you're giving them an invitation to play, explore, test, express and imitate. It can also be a great setting to teach basic cooking, cleaning and other chores through play as well. 
Using REAL cooking materials in this play corner makes it even more fun for children (as they are very keen to explore what's inside the kitchen cupboards anyway!) You can start by collecting empty bottles of cooking sauce, can, jam jar, egg tray, detergent box, cheese container, washing up liquid bottle. Basically anything that's used in the real kitchen (Make sure they are clean and has no shape edges, see picture below). Additionally, you can even add real herbs or small plants in the area and ask children to help water them as well. 
You can sort different shapes of pasta (butterfly shape, macaroni, bow shape, spaghetti) and rice into a recycle egg tray. These can be stored on the play shelf and use in pretend cooking play session. Our gluten-free playdough is a great addition in this as well. Pasta can be used to make mark on playdough, rice gives different sensation when being mixed into the dry playdough. You can even add edible glitter, dry flowers if you can find some in your kitchen. 
Here are some standard stuff you should be able to find in your dry cupboard. 
Look for:
- different shapes of pasta
- rice
- egg tray
- noodle
- cereals and grains
You can add vegetable such as rhubarbs and radish to make stamp too!
Gather and sort them into bottles or egg tray.
Note: For younger children. This can be a good sorting toy as well (exercising fine-motor skills) So if you have two children, they can play in the same area and use the same material in two sets of activities. 
We hope this gives you some fresh ideas and a new way to have meaningful conversation in your family. Don't forget to tag us by using #filoucreation. We look forward to see your small world kitchen and playdough! 
Kris & Fay
There's a whole theory behind 'home-corner' play please visit our source if you wish to read more :)