Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookie Shop Pretend Play Area

I usually use our little kitchen area to set the stage for some type of dramatic play area.  We had a great time with the farmer's market and were ready for something new and seasonal. 

We've been doing lots of baking to get ready for the holidays, so I thought a cookie shop would be just the thing! 

To start with, I always create my dramatic play areas with the general rule that I am only going to use things we already have.  This keeps them economical, of course, encourages me to be creative, and also gets good use out of things we already have.  I definitely scour our cupboards, drawers, closets when I am setting up a play area.  I usually decide on what I'll do and then spend a couple of weeks just thinking about it--pulling things I know I'll want to use when I come across them (which kinda leads to a bit of messiness as all the new stuff piles up on the counter....Matt doesn't love this stage of the process). 

I usually use the chalkboard somehow in each area.  It's a great way to encourage literacy and pre-reading skills. 

And we have this great pop up book that I couldn't resist adding to the top of the shelf.  I know we have other cookie books (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, etc.) around, so as I come across them I'll add them to the top shelf. 

I used scrap fabric and some washi paper a sweet friend brought us from Japan to make this banner.  It isn't anything fancy--I tore the fabric in strips and then cut the bottom.  I sewed the pieces onto a length of twine.  The whole thing could be done with paper, gluesticks, etc.  No sewing machine would be necessary....

I raided my linens (thanks, Aunt Karen!) for items to use.  I put a white doily on the top.

A mixing bowl is filled with batting (which I took out of a baby carseat headrest we no longer need!) and a whisk.  This is the batter.  Q loves stirring it!  We keep it on a higher shelf so Beck doesn't eat it.  Under that is a wire rack that she places the cookies on to put them in the "oven." 

I made these cookies from 2 pieces of felt and cookie cutters.  I sewed the felt pieces together around the outside, traced the cookie cutters, used a exacto knife and a small pair of scissors to cut them out.  Then I sewed around the opening and the edge of the "cookies" to hold everything together.  I ran a lighter around the edge of the cookies to seal the felt from pulling and looking yucky.  This could project could also be done using a hot glue gun or fabric glue--no sewing machine necessary. 

I made "icing" by putting each cookie on top of a piece of colored felt, tracing it, and then cutting a little smaller than the line.  I lighter-sealed the edges.  I cut little pieces of felt and hot-glued them for sprinkles. 

I made a little rack for the icing and the cookie cutters out of an Amazon box we had sitting around.  I really like having a spot for every component in the play area.  If items are displayed nicely they are more likely to be used AND more likely to be restored properly.  Also notice I only included 3 cookie cutters.  Remember that less is more.  I used two embroidered linens to line the bottoms of these little cardboard shelves. Cloth napkins, fabric, scrapbook paper would have also worked!

I put out a little spatula, some little measuring spoons and a small metal spatula to use as utensils (hanging from bottom shelf). 

I used felt and hot glue to make some felt "paper bags" (google searched for tutorial).  These are for "to-go" orders!  I also had a little Christmas box that was cookie-sized that I included.  The top compartment of this metal basket holds plates and napkins for "eat here" orders. 

I consolidated several jars of sprinkles to fill one big one.  I hot-glued the lid on so the kids can pretend with it and hopefully not decorate the house with sprinkles!  Cut paper would also work...or marbles, or any number of small colored items.  I also put out a basket of nuts. 

I changed the skirt on the bottom of our kitchen.  I used some of those clips that go onto curtain rods and a dresser scarf linen.  Under the knobs is the "oven" (just one of the shelves we've designated as oven) and also storage for other items--a small tea set and some milk.

On the end hangs potholders and a basket.  I also added a little apron, but after I took the photo.  We have a kid-sized rolling pin around, too, that I am on the lookout for, which will be added.  And a little kitchen timer that's around here somewhere.  :)

This little milk jug has cut-up pieces of Daddy's old tshirt in it.  They can be pulled out and stuffed in the mug to make "milk."  Cotton balls, white beans, white buttons,  etc. would be fun to put in and actually provide pouring practice.  We're doing the fabric since Beck would eat buttons or cotton balls right now. 

I also included a gingerbread pan.  It would be fun to trace the pattern onto felt and cut out the face parts to let the kids decorate him.  Next year!

And the "cash register."  I have had the hardest time finding a cash register I like.  The plasticy, huge, noise-making ones are not for me. I've never found a good, simple wooden one I like.  So we improvise with fancy boxes and jewelery boxes.  I dug this one out of the cupboard and put some pesos and other foreign bills we had around the house in it for a fun change. 

I put cookie displays on our little corner rack.  The top shelf always holds our cloth napkins for mealtimes, and then I use the bottom two for our play area. 

I used metal candlesticks and then some cardboard rounds that are for holding cakes.  I had them in my cupboard and thought they were perfect!  They have a doily printed on them.  I used sticky tack to adhere the candlestick to the cardboard. I had two little doilies that were just perfect to put under the pedestals.  Don't look at the dust on the shelf, okay?  I spent my time crafting and not cleaning, obviously.  :)

Here are the chocolate chip cookies on display.  I made them with Matt's old tshirt--sewed two circles together, left a gap for turning, turned right side out, stuffed with stuffing (from said headrest) and sewed them closed.  I used felt pieces and the hot glue gun for the chocolate chips.  Of course this could be done with felt, cardboard, paper, etc. 
Above are the "sugar cookies" with the icing stuck on.  The felt icing sticks to the felt cookie just perfectly!
You could even have a little tray of sprinkles, etc, cut from felt and let the kids decorate themselves!  I glued ours on to make them little-brother proof.  :)

So there you have it!  A fun cookie-play area that my kids are already enjoying!  Now go scour your cupboards and set up some type of fun pretend play area for your kids!

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