Guest post by Kirsten Almo
|Junior chefs at work (author's image)|
If you make a visit to the children’s area in the Edgerton Public Library, you will most likely find a young chef at work! Slicing fruits and vegetables, pouring cups of milk, or serving a sandwich to another child, our youngest patrons are busy! The addition of a toy kitchen has been a huge hit with our children and their caregivers.
|Child and caregiver interaction|
Using funds from a Growing Wisconsin Readers mini-grant through the Early Literacy Community Development course, I was able to purchase a toy kitchen, dishes, and toy food for our children’s area. Many families in our small, rural community visit the library to not only check out reading materials, but to have a place to play with their children. The play area promotes cooperation among “chefs,” conversation between “chefs and eaters,” and plenty of opportunity for creative play. Our dishes in primary colors are used for sorting by color and shape.
|Menu ideas (author's image)|
The toy kitchen has provided a great way for caregivers to interact with their children while also giving adults time to browse and collect materials to take home with them. While the toy kitchen was purchased with our toddler patrons in mind, many parents have told me that their older children love playing there as well. One recent morning I found the following “menu” sitting on the shelf of the kitchen!
Future plans for our toy kitchen include pairing seasonal books with seasonal food items – for example, apples and pumpkins this fall and cookie baking this winter.
Young children learn through play and based on the number of cooks in the kitchen, there’s a lot of learning going on at the Edgerton Public Library!
Kirsten Almo, Youth Librarian