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How to build the ultimate indoor play space in your kitchen corner

Pretend play blog header

Kids in the kitchen! 🌽🍳 Bringing play-based learning to life 


Children learn best through play. It’s a vital part of early childhood that encourages children to learn, develop and grow whilst having fun. In The Early Years Learning Framework, play-based learning is a central focus, and emphasises the intentional role of educators in enriching learning. (EYLF practice: Play-based learning and intentionality) 


Bringing a kitchen corner to life in your centre creates a stage for pretend play, role play and open-ended play that encourages imagination, language development, social interactions, sharing, as well as a sense of belonging and identity. A wonderful pretend play space allows educators to achieve EYLF outcomes such as: ‘Children are confident and involved learners; Children are connected with and contribute to their world’. So what are we waiting for? Time to whip up the ultimate indoor kitchen play space. 🍳 


Hot trends to look for in kitchen sets 


Trend: the real deal! 

They might be ‘pretend’, but the trend is for real-look play kitchens. This comes through in details such as soft close hinges, real tapware and contemporary materials. Love!! 


Trend: open furnishings 

Another trend is for open furnishings, allowing easy access to shelves and cooking play essentials! We love this, as it creates a visual feast that inspires play easily. 


Trend: modular 

Versatility is king with these new play spaces. Modular elements you can build and shape how you like to accommodate your space and move around to keep things fresh! 


Our top dream (play) kitchens… 


Coastal & cool  

This new Norwegia Spaces Coastal Kitchen Island & Bench Set has breezy fresh vibes for days. It leans into the trends with real taps and versatile kit elements (that also complement the Natural Spaces and other Norwegia Spaces ranges). Shop the set or the Bench and Island separately. 


8953_MulticulturalFood Set


Urban & awesome  

Urban chic, early childhood-style! This new Norwegia Spaces Urban Kitchen Island & Bench Set embraces the industrial look with its modern materials, black & white look and clean lines. Shop the set or the Bench and Island separately. 



Flexible & fun 


The Natural Spaces Open Play Kitchen Set of 4 is so versatile. We adore the open furnishings and modular aspect of this set that has a beautiful natural aesthetic! The set includes a kitchen bench, stove, sink and cupboard. Move them around however you like to inspire play! 


8953_NS Open PlayKitchen



Take a peek at the whole range: Kitchen & Home Corner Furniture 


Let’s get cooking! 

Now it’s time to stock up the cupboards and cook up some fun learning! We’ve handpicked 10 colourful food, health and nutrition sets to invite role play, conversation, open-ended play and group activities.  



1: Multicultural on the menu 


8953_MulticulturalFood Set 


Teach little ones respect for diversity and cultural responsiveness through role play & discussion with the Multicultural Food Set. It includes a Chinese Food Set, Japanese Food Set and Italian Food Set. Each set features food, plates, condiments and a menu. Each play food set is also available separately. 



2: Tuck into bush tucker 


Bush Tucker Resources


Play snap, read, prepare a pretend meal and chat about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspectives with this new Bush Food Kit. It’s focused on learning about traditional Aboriginal bush food in a tangible and fun way, encouraging role play while opening conversations about First Nations People and their culture. 



3: Teach about food allergies 


Food allergies resource


Help the little ones in your care learn about Food Allergies & Intolerances with this engaging card game. There are eight cards with food intolerances, 45 food cards, ambulance cards and more.  



4: Food bingo! 


Food bingo resource


For early literacy skills, association skills and critical thinking, you’ll love having a pack of Bingo (with 72 food items) in your kitchen corner. Each tile has an image on one side and a name on the other, so that children can practise learning associations with visual and verbal cues. There are flexible play options to suit children of various ages and abilities – match picture to picture; or word to picture. 



5: Match or sort the fruit & veggies 


Matching veggie resource


This new Fruit & Vegetable Match set lets little ones play and learn at the same time. There are 28 colour-printed wooden tiles, perfectly sized for small hands. Match the pairs, play a memory game or use the tiles to practise sorting food items: fruit vs veg; various colours; sweet vs sour vs savoury; seeds vs no seeds… it’s up to you! 



6: Learn about the food groups 


8953_The Food Group Book Pack


Potatoes, eggs or sour grapes?! Learn about food groups in a fun way with The Food Group Book Pack. This bestselling picture book series serves up a plate full of laughs, adventures and lessons with empowering and charming stories. There are seven books… from The Couch Potato to The Smart Cookie to The Big Cheese! 



7: What’s for breakfast? 



Get puzzling and prepare a yummy meal with My Breakfast Tray. This new tray from Andreu Toys will be so popular in your kitchen corner for pretend play. (Andreu Toys are committed to inclusive education, with a clear intention of promoting diversity). The wooden tray is served up with all its accessories, including toast, fried egg and more. Did someone say yum? 



8: Chop! Chop! Let’s hone those fine motor skills! 


Food cutting resource


With the Joseph Joseph Chopping Board Set, chop away with this licensed replica of Joseph Joseph’s colourful Chop2Pot folding chopping board. This fun set includes a safe-to-use Elevate knife and four pieces of ‘choppable’ food. It uses ChopPop™️ play food technology for safe play with no hook & loop fastenings or magnets in sight! 



9: Cake & coffee… let’s brew this!


Tea & coffee resource


With a cake mixer, tea set and coffee set in Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Appliances Set, you can mix it up or cook up some mud pies! Melissa & Doug’s hand-crafted designs use durable wood and other specialist materials that are popular with educators and children alike. 



10: Wrap your food & nutrition learning up in a bow  


Nutrition Curriculum Kit


Get the cupboards ready! Our Nutrition Curriculum Kit will help you stock up on all the pretend play food you could need! You can also teach students about healthy eating in a hands-on way. There’s a huge set of play food that includes meat, breads, poultry, dairy, sweets and condiments. There’s a 36-piece container of fruits and vegetables, plus a wooden play food crate featuring the five food groups. The kit also includes a floor mat showing the healthy eating plate, with food cards and teacher notes. It’s such a valuable resource to teach about nutrition! 


Head here to see even more Play Foods & Shopping ideas, Play Kitchen Accessories and Health Education activities. 


Key food, nutrition & health dates for your calendar 

We know your little learners will use their play kitchen every day, but these annual days are a perfect time to delve deeper into the world of kitchens, health, nutrition and food! 

🥕 National Eat Your Veggies Day – 17 June  

🍓 National Nutrition Week – 16-23 October 

🥑 International Chef’s Day – 20 October 

🍇 More fun food days this year 



We can’t wait to hear how you create your play kitchen corner. Hungry to get started? We’ve pulled together everything here in this Wishlist.  


For a consultation or more inspo, check out the Brilliant Learning Spaces we support in early childhood. Oh, and download the inspirational Booklet for more ideas! 


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Everyone Belongs: Celebrating Harmony Day In The Classroom

Everyone Belongs

Australia is an incredibly diverse country that people from many different backgrounds call home. Considering that nearly half of Australians are either born overseas, or have one or more parents that have been born overseas (Australian Bureau of Statistics), it is no wonder that Australia is considered one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.

I consider myself extremely lucky to teach in such a vibrant, multicultural country and acknowledge the responsibility of celebrating this diversity in my classroom. Celebrating the rich diversity of all students is something that should be embedded into classroom practices each and every day. While fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom happens on a daily basis, there are some special dates throughout the school calendar, such as Harmony Day, that provide a further opportunity for us to celebrate the rich diversity of our amazing country.

What is Harmony Day?

Harmony Day, which is held on the 21st of March every year, is widely celebrated in the community and at schools around the country. This significant day coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is a time to celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity and promote inclusiveness, with its key message being ‘Everyone Belongs’.

On Harmony Day, many schools engage their community in a variety of activities. These activities aim to teach understanding of how all Australians equally belong to this country and enrich it, as well as promote cultural respect for all. There are various ways to celebrate this special day in the classroom, read on to find many ideas and activities to implement at your school. *

Ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the Classroom

Wear Orange

Invite students and staff to wear orange on March 21st to celebrate Harmony Day. This might sound simple, but did you know that orange is the chosen colour to represent Harmony Day and it signifies social communication and meaningful conversations? The Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs (2019) explains that this chosen colour relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. In the past, I have used this tradition as an opportunity to talk to my students about what this colour means, which has sparked many rich conversations.


Promote Diversity Through Books

Celebrations of the world book with wooden figures on grass background

One of the best ways to build children’s understandings of different topics is through books. Two of my favourite books to read with my students on Harmony Day are ‘Celebrations Around The World’ by Mike Ingram and ‘Whoever You Are’ by Mem Fox. Both of these books celebrate diversity, invite students to think deeply and can be used as a platform to provoke rich, meaningful conversations.

Celebrations Around The World’ is a big book that explores the diversity of our local communities, our nation and our world. This book looks at celebrations from around the world and is key for developing children’s understanding of other cultures and the world around them. I have also used this book to celebrate some of these culturally significant days in my classroom, such as Chinese New Year and Saint Patrick’s Day.

Celebrations of the world inside spread on grass background

‘Whoever You are’ is beautifully written and celebrates children’s uniqueness, while pointing out that common humanity unites everyone. “Their lives may be different from yours, and their words may be different from yours. But inside, their hearts are just like yours”. This thought-provoking quotation from the text invites students to explore the notion of diversity and inclusion further through discussion.

Featured Products:

Celebrations of the World Big Book
Whoever You Are Book


Multicultural Paper Chain Dolls

Paper chain dolls on classroom desk

This next Harmony Day activity was inspired by the aforementioned text ‘Whoever You Are’. We read this book before making these multicultural paper chain dolls. We had a fantastic discussion about how we may be different in ways, which is what makes us special, and how we are all similar, before commencing this activity.

Paperchain dolls whoever you are book with coloured pens on grass background

When making their paper chain dolls, students were encouraged to represent a wide variety of cultures through highlighting their appearance like skin colour, special clothing and interests etc. I love how these paper chain dolls look like they are holding hands, representing that it is important to live in peace with one another, regardless of how we may live our lives.

Featured Product:
Whoever You Are Book


Invite Families To Share Their Culture

Inviting families into the classroom is often encouraged in order to bridge connections between home and school. To foster this partnership further, invite families to come and share something about their cultural background with the class on Harmony Day. I have implemented this special ‘show and tell’ in my classroom before, where families shared different aspects of their lives with the class. One of the mothers of my students came from India and was kind enough to give Henna tattoos to all of the children. Another parent was born in China and taught us how to make Chinese dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year. I have also had parents share their special outfits, pictures, dance, music and food. What better way to develop an understanding of different cultures, as well as gain a better understanding of students and their families?


Embed Multicultural Resources Into Classroom Learning Spaces

Embedding multicultural resources into classroom learning spaces is something I do all year round, as I’m sure many other educators do as well. Using and highlighting multicultural resources is another idea of how to celebrate diversity in the classroom during Harmony Day. I love using multicultural resources in my early years classroom as it fosters the concept of ‘Everyone Belongs’ and means that everybody feels represented. By naturally incorporating multicultural resources into play, children are able to develop their understanding and acceptance of different cultures in a natural and authentic way.

Home corner play space featuring kitchen and dining table

In home corner, my students enjoy engaging with our multicultural play food, which exposes them to food from all around the world. Food is such a big part of culture and I’ve heard many students talking about how they have eaten this or that at home, as well as ask others what particular items are, thus learning about unfamiliar foods.

Multicultural play food on table

My students also love playing with our multicultural dolls in the home corner, all of which have different physical appearances. Representing many cultures through classroom resources encourages children to understand the rich diversity of our population.

Multicultural wooden dolls on grass background

Another resource that I use in my classroom to represent cultures is multicultural wooden dolls. These are some of our most loved play resources and they represent a wide range of cultures and showcase the rich diversity of people within our community.

Wooden town and dolls on grass background

My students love using these dolls with our wooden blocks, as well as with our town set, which is fantastic as it builds children’s understanding of our society being incredibly diverse with many people who have varying beliefs, cultures, interests and appearances.

Featured Products:

Multicultural Play Food Assortment – 100 pieces

The Happy Architect Town Set
Wooden Multicultural People – Set of 42


Hello! Konnichiwa! Ciao!

How many different ways can you say hello? I asked my students this last year and was impressed by how many ways they knew how to say hello in different languages. We also referred to a video on YouTube to learn some new greetings we weren’t familiar with already. We made a poster of the many different greetings and proudly hung it on our door to greet any visitors to the classroom.


Everybody Belongings Puzzle Artwork

What better way to show that ‘Everyone Belongs’ than with this puzzle piece artwork? This is a great collaborative artwork to complete with students for Harmony Day and is very effective when all of the pieces have been put together. Each student can complete a drawing of themselves and then cut out their puzzle piece. Once all joined together, this artwork clearly shows that even though we are all unique in our own ways, we can still join together and that everybody belongs.

Puzzle artwork with coloured pens on grass


Explore Homes Around The World

Homes around the world on grass featuring globe

Celebrating Harmony Day is an opportunity to learn about how cultures around the world live and many children find it fascinating to learn about this. My students enjoyed learning about the different types of homes people live in around the world and matching these to countries on the globe.

Chinese wooden play home on grass

As children engaged in this imaginative play, they were developing their understanding and acceptance of many cultures through an age appropriate and authentic activity.

Featured Product:
Multicultural Block Play Set – 33 pieces

Jigdraws- Pack of 20


What are your favourite ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the classroom? We would love to hear from you!



Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cultural Diversity in Australia

Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs , Harmony Week.


Heidi Overbye from Learning Through Play is a Brisbane based, Early Years Teacher who currently teaches Prep, the first year of formal schooling in Queensland. Heidi is an advocate for play-based, hands-on learning experiences and creating stimulating and creative learning spaces. Heidi shares what happens in her classroom daily on her Instagram page, Learning Through Play. See for a huge range of activities, play spaces and lesson ideas.


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