This week we set up this lovely Polly's Pancake House dramatic play area. Dramatic play offers a great many learning opportunities: print awareness, imagination, problem solving, socialization.... and it is just plain ol' FUN! Here is a compilation of many of the ideas we integrated into this activity. Enjoy!
1. Up-cycle your food containers
Why buy expensive toy containers for orange juice or milk? Just clean the ones that you have. You can always ask parents to bring a few interesting shaped ones! And for the food? Why not use pompoms that the kids can pour out. This little activity adds to their small motor skills and hones in their spacial relationship skills as well.
2. Is that an egg?! No... It's the sun.
We used felt to make a fried egg for our sun -- Whimsy is part of our creative powers. It helps children make connections in real life.
3. Menus and Order Forms
Think through the process of the experience. At a restaurant, after waiting to be seated, we will get our little menus and give our orders. The kiddos love impersonating the characters in their adventures. Why not give them all of the tools to enrich their experience to make it more fun.
4. Hang our aprons, or hats, or super hero capes...
Costumes add to the experience. Make sure to hang them with clothes pins to work on our small motor skills.
5. and 6. Think about continuity
Once the orders are taken, they must be sent to the kitchen and have a place over the stove so the cook knows what to make.(5) How do you like the little oven we made from a large plastic container? (6) As an extra bonus, the oven can be used to store our supplies. Brilliant!
7. Find a basic recipe
Make up a recipe and have all ingredients so the kiddos can independently follow the recipe.
8. A block and a clothespin
We use table settings or signs that must be suspended quite often. This is an easy set up that we find super helpful. We hot glued a clothespin to a wooden block, and... Voila! A thingamaginga!
9. Service Counter. Check!
This little structure is used literally year round. It is a basic, 3 section wooden structure that we painted white and put hinges on it. This has been a haunted house, a cave, grandma's house, a jeep, a farmhouse...
10. A big, plastic fantastic, laundry bag.
This couldn't be more useful! It can be used by the kids and the adults alike to both play and put it away! :)
I hope you enjoyed our little tips on putting together a dramatic play area. As a last thought: make sure it is age appropriate and make it pretty!
If you are interested in these decorative materials, here is the set from our store at Teachers Pay Teachers: