Dramatic Play
An Article written by Ruth
(reprinted with permission from A Child's Place)

Children learn about the world around them through play. By changing the dramatic play area, you can provide hands on learning opportunities.

Grocery Store
shopping carts
cash register
empty food boxes and containers (milk cartons, egg cartons, plastic bottles, etc)
play food
play money
purses and wallets
paper bags
stickers for pricing food (or cards)

Set up an entrance area with one or two shopping carts and baskets for shopping. If you do not have these, set out bags with handles. Set up the food on shelves and in the refrigerator. Have the children price the items using stickers or cards that can be placed in the various areas. If you have younger children who may place stickers everywhere, then cards would be a better choice. Set up the cash register with paper bags for bagging the groceries. Play money for the cash register and also in the wallets and purses for making change and paying for purchases.

Pet Shop
stuffed pet animals
pet carriers
empty boxes of pet food
pet food dishes
cash register
play money
purses and wallets
pet toys (new)
paper bags

Set up a pet viewing / adoption area with the stuffed animals. Set up food/toys/accessories on shelves. Provide baskets for carrying purchases. Have the cash register set up with bags for bagging purchases.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
bear ears
clip on tie (for Daddy bear)
apron (for Mommy bear)
bib (for baby bear)
3 bowls of sequencing size
3 spoons of sequencing size
3 chairs of sequencing size
3 beds of sequencing size
golden wig
empty porridge box

Set up a table with the 3 bowls and spoons. Set up a living room area with the 3 chairs and a bedroom with the 3 beds. You can easily set up the bedroom using a cot (or mat) for the largest bed, and differing sized blankets for the other 2 beds. A wig can be made by attaching yellow wool to a hair net (the type worn with curlers – they are cloth and have holes throughout). Bear ears can be made by attaching felt ears to a fuzzy brown headband.

Doctor’s kit
blankets and pillows
lab coats
clipboards, paper, pencil
nurse hats

If you can get a hold of some medical charts and xrays, these are a great addition to hang on the wall. Set up mats with blankets and pillows for hospital beds. Lab coats can be made by cutting men’s old white dress shirts. Attach paper and a pencil to clipboards for recording medical information. Nurse hats can be made by folding large pieces of white paper.

pilot hat
fast food plates or separated dishes
play food
driving set
steward/stewardess jackets

Set up the airplane by making aisles with the chairs. Set up the cockpit by drawing an instrument panel and using a driving set (steering wheel) or by attaching a paper plate with a brad to the instrument panel. You can have the children draw or paint a sky mural to hang on the wall for scenery.

refrigerator box

This set is great for a medieval times or fairy tale theme. Capes can be made from scrap material and will fasten easily and safely if you use a Velcro closure. Crowns can be made from covered cardboard (material, felt, or tinfoil – you can add jewels to if you wish) or fun foam. Wands can be made from cutting out star shaped felt and adding glitter glue to them. Attach to a tongue depressor. Hobby horses are easily made by attaching a coloured sock stuffed with newspaper to a dowel or wrapping paper tube. Add wool and felt features to complete the horse. The refrigerator box can be made into a castle by cutting a door (or better yet, a drawbridge) and decorating with paint. Add the finishing touches with construction paper cones on tubes for the towers.

library cards
alphabet cards
tables and chairs
date stamp with papers

Set up a library area for reading with cushions, pillows, tables, and chairs. Show the children how the date stamper works and how it should only be used on the date cards and NEVER on a book. Have each child print out their own library card for borrowing books. It will be easier to keep the pencils and stamp away from the books if they have their own table and are attached with a string.

These are only a few examples of how the dramatic play area can be changed. You are limited only by your imagination so have fun creating a whole new world!

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