A child serves pretend ice-cream made out of coloured sponges and recycled materials

Strawberry ice-cream? With a yoghurt frosted donut?

The Aeon Marketplace is a vibrant, thriving community of shops organised and run by the children of Aeon.  It began as a passion project from a small group of children with a dream to open up their own pizza shop.  Unfortunately, the paper pizzas they made just didn’t last very long, so we began looking at other materials.  In the end, we used kitchen sponges and cloths to make durable, easy to clean play food.  We found uses for recycled containers, boxes and other throw away materials. Before we knew it- the Aeon Marketplace was born!

Pretend cooking using homemade fake food.

mmmm freshly grilled tomato.

Once the pizza shop was finished, other children came forward with more ideas for shops, and began to brainstorm how they could use what we have to make the food they were interested in.  The shops evolved from a simple operation with two people preparing and serving the food to a complex system involving levels of management, specific roles for each staff member, hygiene inspectors, delivery people, tax collectors and food critics.  The children negotiate their roles, work together to keep their shops running, call meetings to discuss problems with their ‘manager’ and compete with the other shops by offering deals and showing off their best customer service.


Two young children interact with the fake roast chicken at the Aeon market place.

Sir would you care for some roast chicken with some side dishes?


The Marketplace has an astoundingly rich and diverse selection of food cultures and is a great place for children to learn about foods from around the world and the way people eat.

We are frequently amazed at the intricate level of detail that the children introduce, pulling from their existing knowledge of the world and sharing it with each other to extend their cultural understanding and knowledge. Without even realising it, children use the Marketplace as a way to discuss, role play and learn about healthy food choices, sharing, recycling and so much more in a boundless and self-created setting which changes everyday.


Fake Food artist & Aeon Marketplace developer is Lead Educator Lucy Marshall. Here she is shown  packing up a Yum Cha special.