There is this gasp of joy in the classroom when housekeeping center transforms. It is my kinders favorite center. It is my goal to transform this center every two weeks. I notice that this refreshes the childrens' play as well. There is an art to this – having enough materials to create new settings!
First, I collect wooden bowls, silver trays, tea pots, and other small items to fill this center. I love to collect special wooden items, international clothing, tablecloths, napkins, metal goblets – any sweet treasures I might find at a thrift store, garage sale or gift from friends.
Second, I keep about 5 large boxes with items to put into the housekeeping center when there is not a specific theme to set up. This gives me a large palette of items to choose from and create something special. I also keep several boxes of fabric to put over the top of my playstands. (I love saris for this! Look at your local Indian markets for lovely silk saris – they make amazing covers.)
Third, I avoid ALL plastic toys of any kind. I do not feel that having a center that mirrors what is at home provides any benefit to my students. I take extra care to make sure it is nothing like what they have in their own environments.
Finally, the children love to have real things to play with. I purchased as much “real” adult items as I can that are safe and appropriate for the center.
Nesting dolls and hand-painted wooden bowls are a wonderful find to add to housekeeping. I like to mix cultures sometimes to give a global atmosphere. I also buy little wooden spoons.
There are so many wooden acorn bowls and the like available in thrift stores. If you start looking, you will find all you could possibly need for a very small investment.
My area has yearly cultural festivals. I love buying outfits at these gatherings for housekeeping. The colors and detailing are so magical.
Candlesticks are a great addition to housekeeping. I found wooden ones at Hobby Lobby for a few bucks. I have a wonderful little set of wooden bowls with shell inside that the children enjoy. There is a hand-carved cup from a student's grandfather.