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Create a Home Corner

Children love to imitate adult activities, particularly those activities they see you doing each day. Setting up a ‘home corner’ is an easy, fun way to encourage this.

As well as offering a safe and enjoyable play environment for children, setting up a home corner can also help promote development of fine motor skills, problem solving, imagination and language skills, practicing social skills and cooperative play.

For younger children, you’ll only need to provide a few simple toys and lots of attention from you. My eldest daughter started with a simple tea set, a couple of pots and small wooden spoons, set up on a low table. From around 18 months to two years play will mainly be imitative and you’ll need to prompt their activities – for example, ‘let’s pour a cup of water’ or ‘can you help me stir this pot’…

As they get older and progress you can start looking for open-ended toys and props to naturally extend their play. This is something I did in conjunction with my daughter, with most of our props being collected over time from our favourite local collectible shop, The Flying Wardrobe in Witchcliffe. We have just as much fun looking for good items for her home corner as we do playing with them!

The lovely thing about a home corner is that it can evolve and develop along with your child. What started out as a simple low table and a tea set has now developed into what you see in the photographs! Granted, we are spoilt in that we have the space for a reasonable sized playroom (this room was once our whole house so we have come quite a way!)

Some of the props we have added over time include:

  • small broom (small adult one with the handle cut down and sanded for safety) & dustpan & broom
  • vintage dolls cot and pram & enamel dish used as a pretend bath
  • second hand egg cups (make great small cups for pretend drinking); old wooden coasters (make good small pretend plates); collectible teaspoons with pretty handles (Tienne loves these!)
  • various small woven baskets (all children love moving items around & sorting things into containers/baskets)
  • old fashioned canisters for storing pretend food
  • paper, stamps, a wooden letterbox
  • dress up stand

Over 80 percent of our home corner ‘finds’ have come from our favourite local collectible shop, resulting in a unique, eclectic home corner which Tienne loves…particular as she has always been a part in finding, purchasing and often cleaning items before they take pride of place in her play room. She really does take great interest in her new treasures and when recently we changed her home corner around to incorporate a new ‘old’ piece of furniture she couldn’t contain her excitement at having a ‘new kitchen’ and everyone who visited that first week was grabbed by the hand and dragged into her playroom to admire it!

It’s been so lovely to watch Tienne’s play evolve over the past few years and I have to stop myself from always wanting to join in as naturally she becomes increasingly independent with her play – she is nearly 4 now. That’s not to say that she doesn’t enjoy me playing and directing her play still at times, she actively seeks me out often…but I do try and take a step back these days and leave her and her friends to play without my intervention.

…Before the temptation becomes too great and I’m in there too… being spoilt with cups of tea and yummy pretend dinners, having some part of me being fixed in my daughter’s hospital or being transformed into a customer visiting my daughter’s shop!