Updated: May 23
It's one of the first things you see when you walk in, but what does your child learn when they walk in to play? Read below to find out.
When you are in The Bazaar look around. The counters are spread out, there are high shelves and low shelves and all of these components are encouraging your child to walk around to get what they need from different areas. Do they need fruit to cook on the grill? They will need to walk to the fruit stand and bring it back to the kitchen. This encourages physical development and the ability to attend to a task: why did I walk over here and where do I need to go next? All of the moving from space to space, bending down and reaching up helps develop gross motor skills and helps children learn where they are in relation to their surroundings.
The materials in The Bazaar are all different weights, sizes, and textures. This helps support fine motor development such as the muscles in the hands. If you are playing in The Tailor Shop you might first pick up a leather jacket that is heavy. Next, you might pick up a scarf that is light and slippery. Those two activities take different amounts of muscle and one might use the whole hand while another uses a two-finger pincer grasp. Through play, your child will learn what to expect based on what it looks like and their past experiences touching the objects. In the kitchen, they might be cooking with felt noodles and plastic oranges and those two objects feel different and require different muscles much like the different types of clothing.
The market and kitchen allow for child-sized materials of what they see the adults in their life interacting with every day. Your child has the opportunity to cook the same meal they help or watch you cook, entirely on their own where everything is somewhere they can reach. This also provides opportunities to role-play with peers in the space. The children can talk about how they want to play and how they can play together. This might create conversations about different food they eat at home or how their kitchens are different.
Interactions and conversations with peers support social skills and emotion regulation. This comes through rule-following in an agreed-upon game and potential conflict resolution when they see the play differently. Opportunities to discuss turn-taking with different materials such as plates, pans, or clothes provide the space for children to start thinking about others and how they want to interact. Young children are learning there is more than just them in the world and waiting for a toy or pausing to ask for a toy rather than just taking it starts to build social awareness.
In the Tailor Shop, you can count how many articles of clothing are being put on the mannequin or the number of buttons on a shirt. If your child is mending clothes on the sewing machine you could say something like, "Wow you have fixed four shirts today! That is a lot of hard work!" This brings in the counting component as well as thinking about the past and what they have been doing and what they will do next.
In the kitchen, while you are cooking together, talk about a recipe for what you are making. "You said we are making granola bars so we need one cup of oats, one cup of raisins, and a tablespoon of honey." As you pretend to add the ingredients you are talking about adding parts to make a whole. This play could be used at home to make real granola bars.
When cooking in the kitchen you can bring up topics like, "Oh the heat is on, that pan is hot!" This is an opportunity to talk about conduction and how food is cooked. "When I make chili at home the beans started crunchy, the meat started pink, and the tomatoes were bright red. Then we added heat to the food and each thing got softer and some foods change color. I wonder how that happens?"
The Bazaar is full of art and decorations, look up at the buildings and you can see how it has been hand-painted to represent different cultures. Look at each building and look at what colors are mixed together, or what shapes are present on each building. This is also an opportunity to talk about fashion and how designing and creating clothes is art people do for a living. What types of art do you see when you play at The Bazaar?
Scripts to Try
"What are you planning to make?"
"Wow, this plate is full of food! How will I eat it all?"
"I see you are adding oranges to that plate, the vitamins in oranges help your body fight germs."
"Look at the pattern on that shirt! I am seeing four colors, what are they?"
"I want to make stir fry so I am going to add these vegetables and some noodles to my pan"
"Hmm, it looks like we don't have the ingredients we need in the kitchen. Let's go to the market to buy the items we need, what do we need again?"