Dramatic play in a preschool classroom is a popular choice of students and an excellent way to encourage social interaction and language development. Rotating themes for dramatic play keeps students engaged and challenged while incorporating the current classroom curriculum. A weather theme can incorporate math and science concepts into the dramatic play and can be used during any season.
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Stock the dramatic play area with weather-related props for play. Depending on the season, you may want to adapt the props to the current weather. During the spring months, provide a rain gauge, raincoats, boots, umbrellas and rainy or stormy weather music. In the summer, stock the area with sunglasses, beach umbrellas, sand toys, towels, empty sunscreen bottles, hats and water bottles. For winter months, provide coats, hats, mittens, scarves, earmuffs and snowsuits. For fall months, try jackets, rakes and plastic leaves. Hang student-created decorations, such as clouds, snowflakes or a sun, in the play area.
Recording the Weather
Incorporate math skills into the dramatic play area by having students record the weather. If the classroom has an outside window, students can look out to check the weather. Students can also travel to another classroom or ask a staff member. If the classroom has a student computer, students can check weather conditions on a weather website. Create a shortcut on the desktop, save the location and teach students how to access the webpage. Students can then record the weather in a variety of forms. Try placing a simple bar graph with weather icons on a clipboard and have students colour in a box for each day. Students can also record the weather on a wall calendar by colouring each day to designate the weather. For example, the students could colour the box grey for cloudy or yellow for sunny. Challenge advanced students to record weather conditions with tally marks or check and record outside temperatures.
Students can also practice their writing and speaking skills at the dramatic play centre. After checking the weather, have students prepare a report. Avid writers and drawers can fill in a blank newspaper template reporting today's weather and predictions for the week. Bring in real newspaper examples for inspiration. Hang a "green screen" background in the centre and provide props, such as a camera, microphone, camera, suit jackets and laminated icons for use on the map. Encourage students to create and perform a weather report. For even more pretend play, cut an opening out of a large cardboard box for children to watch other students' forecasts "on TV."
Preschoolers love to make noise. Let students create their own "weather music." Provide baking trays, rain sticks (tubes with rice or beans inside), clappers, water bottles and flashlights for students to create a thunderstorm in the play centre. Encourage students to try patterns and rhythms within the musical storm. Challenge students to create noises for unique weather conditions, such as wind, snow and hail.
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