Role play equipment - a shop till, money tin and receipt book

Should we always have a home corner in Reception?

This is a question I am asked a lot as I support different Early years practitioners.  My usual answer depends on the following questions:

  • What do this cohort need? How do you know?  How are you making that decision?
  • What was their nursery experience? Did they have access to a home corner for six half-terms already?
  • What domestic play do you offer outdoors?

Some children thrive on domestic play and it tells us a lot about them. Most children, however, also benefit from other scenarios such as role play Shops, Offices, Vets, Post Office, Clinics and so on. 

My advice is to have a home corner for the first half term in Reception if transition requires it, then change it to something else, but try to develop some domestic play in addition to this, outdoors. Personally, I used to try to make links between indoor and outdoor role play: A home outside, a shop inside, an animal rescue centre outside, a Vets inside and so on. 

You can also make mini, deconstructed or ‘pop up’ role plays in other areas of provision.  Our Maths area, for example contains a basket of items for children to create their own shop, using loose parts, natural materials or role play props.  The till contains money, the tin a pen and price labels. There is also a bell and receipt book. ‘Key words on a key ring’ offer support for children making price tags.

If you are going to keep a Home Corner in Reception then perhaps you could consider theming it to your core story or topic? Here are two examples of how I themed my home corner, first in support of The 3 Little Pigs story, the second as Granny Hood’s Cottage, linked to a Red Riding Hood theme:

Reception play corner - Little Red Riding Hood themed