How many of our little ones have a play kitchen in their classroom or homes? Kitchens are a really fun creative imagination place for kids. It's also a great opportunity for independent living skills. A lot of times it can be limiting for our students especially those with very limited or no vision. Here's one that was in one of our classrooms. It's quality built and is fun....for kids with a lot of vision. I decided that this kitchen needed a definite upgrade so that our students with limited or no vision could play with better accessibility. These are quick fixes, easy to do! Just grab your glue gun and pipe cleaners and plan a trip to Goodwill.
First, head to Goodwill and look though their kitchen section. I actually found most of these at a store called Deseret Industries (DI). Deseret Industries is similar to Goodwill or Savers. I had good luck there. I was able to find all kinds of interesting cooking utensils and tools. Check out the pic below. Note: the items in the picture are small little utensils, pans, etc. They are not full size at all.
I found all kinds of fun metal options. I like the metal because so many things are plastic and this gives some variety. My favorite find was the old school vegetable steamer. How fun to experience concepts like open/closed, empty/full, big/little, cause & effect and water play. I also found this tiny little pepper grinder. It was fun to replace the pepper with something else (i.e. scented sand) and let those little hands turn the crank. The little metal bowels and cupcake pans were fun, too. Goodwills are also perfect places to find small sauce pans which are perfect for little hands to cook with! You can also find little soap dispensers, cups, slotted spoons and all kinds of options for kitchen fun.
One of my talented preschool teachers, Annette, gave me a great idea to add to the kitchen: real food! As in boxes of rice, macaroni, etc. or cans of vegetables, soup, etc. Stock your kitchen with real items and then work them in to a lesson when possible! You can find a toaster (and obviously never plug it in!) and "cook" with toast during centers then during another time, cook real toast (or waffles) and eat it! You can also do letters (T for Toast!).
But now back to the kitchen itself. How about those darn painted on burners? How do you cook on that?! Grab those pipe cleaners and heat up that hot glue gun!! I used some bold color pipe cleaners for my burners. I simply glued on the pipe cleaners (grab a craft stick or something that can help you press on the pipe cleaners. I totally burned my fingers off!). The next thing I did was grab some black pipe cleaners. The problem with this "stove" is that nothing is defined--not the burners, not the cooking space, nothing! This creates a problem when we develop concept development of what a stove actually is. The black pipe cleaners were used to actually make a defined stove top. The other part of our kitchen set that wasn't really defined was the oven. This was an easy fix thanks to my APH Carousel of Textures kit. I grabbed a silver shiny whole piece of paper and hot glued that to make my oven door pop.
You can add more modifications if you would like but these quick fixes were enough to include all of our kiddos with vision impairments without a lot of hassle. The hot glue is also easy to take off in case your kitchen set needs to go to another teacher. Let's get cooking!
|Easy textures added to the play kitchen for kids who are blind or have vision impairments|