In most child care centres, you'll find a dramatic play area filled with costumes, props and other toys. These areas provide more than just a space for children to play; they provide a host of benefits. Through dramatic play, children develop their motor skills, investigate real-life situations in a safe environment, develop language skills and learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way. Rotate the selection of costumes, toys and props to keep the area interesting and to allow for investigation of different scenarios.
Turn your dramatic play area into a grocery store. Fill shelves with empty food boxes and other empty household good containers, as well as toy foods. Place shopping trolleys and bags in the area. Set up a checkout stand, complete with a cash register and money. Children can pretend they are at the grocery store purchasing items and can act as grocery store clerks. In a grocery store dramatic play centre, children can emulate adults and investigate what it is like to be in charge of the shopping, or see what it would be like to work at a grocery store.
A flower shop is another option for a dramatic play centre. Supply plastic vases and other unbreakable vessels that children can use to display flowers. Set out watering cans and an assortment of silk flowers. Provide children with baskets for carrying the flowers to a cash register, or to a table where they can create bouquets. Offer children aprons and gardening gloves to wear. In this centre, children can learn the names of flowers, improve colour recognition and express their creativity as they arrange bouquets.
Day at the Beach
Create the seaside in your dramatic play centre. Furnish the area with beach chairs, beach towels, sand buckets and beach balls. Costumes and props can include beach cover-ups, tube floats, water wings, sunglasses and perhaps even swimming costumes that children can put on over their clothing. Set shells and rocks out for children to gather. Offer children blocks that they can use to build pretend sandcastles. This centre is ideal for children in all geographic locations, particularly those who don't live near the ocean, as they can pretend they are lifeguards, or simply spending a day at the beach.
Children can pretend to be postmen or pretend they are mailing letters in a post office dramatic play area. Fill the centre with papers, envelopes, pencils, pens, stamps and stamp pads. Include large bags that can be used to carry letters. Set out one or more play mailboxes. Offer children post office worker costumes to wear, including blue shirts and blue caps. Kids can pretend that they are sending out letters or processing mail.
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