For warming up the winter blues we turn our room into a beach. We call this week our Winter beach bash! first we ask parents to dig out the children's swimsuits and bring them in then we fill a child size pool with just enough water for the kids to get a little wet then we have out beach towels, beach balls, sunglasses, sand toys and of course ice cream cones. We have a great time and think summer at the same time.
During circle time, I passed out one green stick (taken from a Lincoln Logs set) to each of my preschool students. Then, I modeled some ideas for pretending. I used my green stick as a comb and a toothbrush. We started a chant: Let's play pretend, Let's play pretend, Let's play pretend with our little green sticks. I gave each child a chance to think of a way to pretend with the sticks. It was a great way to stretch their imaginations and show them how to pretend.
How to make your own classroom Bath Tub :o)
Our school recently purchased playground equipment that came in a nice heavy cardboard box. We cut the box down to two feet in height, painted the outside white and let the children put their hand prints all over to decorate it. Inside the box we covered a paper drinking cup with silver glitter to be the faucet and made knobs attached with brass fasteners to represent hot and cold water. Inside the "TUB" we put packaging peanuts for bubbles along with wash clothes. For fun we added empty shampoo bottles, towels, bath pillows, bars of soap and shower caps. The children had a blast. Oh ... don't forget your rubber duck :o)
I once did a whole month on the arts. It included a week of commercials, a week of movie reviewing, and a week of dramatic play. We did so many things there really were a ton of possibilities! The kids loved it. We taped our own commercials and watched quite a few 30 minute movies and reviewed them. We also practiced plays for an entire week then acted them out in front of the camera. For weeks after that the kids took turns taking home the tape to share.
Looking for a way to spice up your dramatic play area? Sort through your old magazines and cut out pictures of food to contact onto your plates! will encourage so much imaginary play especially with toddlers!
Prop boxes are the greatest and most important part of teaching children different social situations and interactions. Our boxes range from puppets, to musical instruments, to a beauty salon. The children involve the teachers during open center time and assign teachers the roles they want them to play. Being able to be in charge of a dramatic play scenario allows the children to learn how to appropriately interact with a "client," allows them to set the tone of the "game," and also gives them the freedom of choice. Frequently revolving and recycling prop boxes will also alleviate boredom which can lead to behaviors indicating that it's time to get some new boxes out!
As I tell a story (3 bears, billy goats gruff, etc) I choose the central characters and put minimal costuming on them (cap for baby bear, scarf for Goldilocks.) As I tell the story, they act out and the "audience" helps with sound effects or repetitive phrases ("then mommy bear" said...). In this way, all of the children are involved, imaginations must be used and we hear and see the story. I use this for Bible stories as well.
In our living center we have a toddler bed for the children to use. The bed has become many different things. Sometimes it is used for a boat, car, dentist chair, doctor bed and sometimes the children just sit and read each other bedtime stories.
I'm a student studying dramatic play. I have come up with a few ideas that may be fun and useful. In the spring I have the kids do spring cleaning. There are different reasons why I do this. First it helps the kids be neat and organized. Second, It goes along with our Spring theme. And thirdly the area needs to be cleaned periodically. Hope this helps!
Take small empty clear water bottles, fill them half full with water and food coloring, then hot glue the cap on. The kids love pretending to drink these different "juices".
One of my children's favorite dress-up items was not a clothing item at all... it was an old semi-sheer curtain. It was used by boys and girls alike in a host of different ways.
Suitcase game: Put a pile of old clothes and props on the floor and put an empty cardboard box alongside them. One person picks up an article, for example, a red hat, and puts it in the box saying, "I'm going on vacation and I will take...my red hat." The next person also puts something in the box, for example, a blue shirt, and says "I'm going on vacation, and I'll take...my red hat and blue shirt." Continue the game, increasing the list of things in the box until one person forgets something.
Your dramatic play area can be spiced up by adding music, classical Greg & Steve, Hap Palmer, Ella Jenkins, and Raffi (just to name a few). Also add a full length mirror. You will be amazed to see the transformation to singing and dancing in front of the mirror with or without dress up clothes. Dress up clothes can also include scarves, pieces of fabric of different textures and colors so the children can create their own clothing designs! Make sure the pieces of fabric are not too big, so the children can manipulate and create themselves, with little help. Also remember to include items for the boys, like shoes, hats, colored fabric they would like, old brief cases, and dad's shirts. If you change the items in your dramatic play area every few weeks, it will always be fun and exciting. If you have great favorites, be sure to leave those there for the whole year..
Make child size cars, boats, buses, etc.
Take cardboard storage boxes (the height of the boxes should be from the floor to the children's knees).
Cut out the bottoms and tops of the boxes and remove the flaps if any so that the box is hollow.
Cut handles in the longer sides for the children to hold box with their hands.
Paint the boxes to resemble a car, fire truck, boat, bus, etc.
The children can stand in the box and hold it up while moving in the dramatic play area and throughout the room!!
This is fun when outdoors, but would make a good rainy-day activity as well. All you need is a whistle or buzzer. Tell the children to act as a bear and give them 10 to "act" as the bear. Then, blow the whistle or buzzer and create another "character" right after that, such as a clown, or even yourself. Come up with a list of "characters" and incorporate them into your lesson. For example, if you are currently studying about Africa when doing the activity specify all African characters or animals. Be creative and watch the responses of the children. They are usually quite inventive!
The parent in our classroom made a coconut tree out of the heavy cardboard tube from the center of a roll of newsprint (about 4 1/2 ft tall) and rolled up paper put into the top of it to make it almost reach the ceiling. She made construction paper leaves and paper mache coconuts. It stood in the middle of our room for the month of January. We read Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom every day. The book and tape were in the listening center and the computer program was available at the computer center. We had laminated paper letters stuck to the tree and another set in a box under the tree and had the kids match upper and lower case. I also have a set of stuffed pillow letters with pictures for each letter. The class never got tired of playing Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom and they were reluctant to see the tree go at the end of the unit.
We often put dolls out with baskets, slings, backpacks & posters of parents carrying babies in different ways from different countries. They love the slings best.
For Dramatic play or sensory make a cow head and tail out of poster board. Place the head on a small chair and the tail on another small chair put a broom stick across the chair fill a rubber glove with half water and milk tie it and then tie it to the broom stick(make sure you poke holes at the finger tips) show the child how to milk a cow.
As a parent of 2 preschoolers I have found yard sales to be a great source of materials for dramatic play. First communion dresses and flower girl dresses are inexpensive and are short enough that I don't have to worry about tripping. Consignment shops are another source although the tend to be a bit more expensive.
If your like me, you saved all of your prom dresses, and they are collecting dust in the very back of your closet. The girls in our class just love to wear formal dresses. We add crowns, fancy shoes, and matching purses.
For our dramatic play area I found allot of wonderful inexpensive items at our local thrift store. I bought silky nightgowns with lace and just tied the thin straps up to shorten them to their lengths, they call them their party dresses. I also was able to find wigs, hats, uniforms, scarves, shoes, purses, belts, ties, and the list goes on. I was in heaven and the most expensive thing was a pair of cowboy boots for $2.75. We just change our dramatic play area and the clothes to go with our unit.
My children like to play restaurant in the kitchen area. I draw or glue pictures to represent play foods that we have onto construction paper which I then laminate. They also like to tie on aprons and pretend to be a waiter. I have children with disabilities, some of whom are non-verbal. This activity facilitates the use of pictures for communication and helps to teach the names of foods for language development.
At my preschool, we cut pantyhose at the top and joined three together to make a plait. We made a headband and attached two plaits to each headband. The children really loved wearing their new hair.
I make each child a lab coat to wear in our laboratory. I use white pillowcases. I lay them with the opening end facing me. I cut it all the way up to the seam then to each corner. It looks like a t. Then I surge the ends to keep from raveling. I draw on pockects with rulers, pens, pencils, etc. in it. I also write on names like Dr. I.M. Smart or Can I Discover, PH.d. The kids love them. They also wear them when we go out to our outside garden lab.
We collected puppets, stuffed animals and toys for all the animals in Brown Bear, Brown Bear. We let each child choose a toy and "read" that part of the book as the teacher turns the pages. Later, we put out lots of different toys and let them make up their own parts as the teacher writes them down. The children draw the pictures and we make our own book.
Name: Lynn Williams
Have children stand in a line with one leader (adult) the other adult leader stands across the yard or room. The leader without children yells "_______, _______, how did you get there? (filling in the blanks with an animal or a mode of transportation) The other adult leader yells the mode of movement for that animal or vehicle. ex. "Snake, snake, how did you get there?" "We slithered!" at this point all the children pretend to be that thing and slither to the other leader. It goes back and forth as long as the attention of your children. Use horses, bees, motorcycles, racecars, airplanes, etc.
When doing a farm or rain unit, put yellow and orange rubbler dishwashing gloves out for children to wear on their feet.
Name: Julie E-Mail: Imjewlz@aol.com
To promote fine motor skills I tied a thin rope in our home center to be a clothesline. I put out clothespins and my group had a wonderful time hanging clothes up to dry. They even tried to see how many things they could hang from one pin, how heavy the items could be, how many items they could attach onto the wash line and how to hang the clothes using as few pins as possible. I did do this activity under supervision with my three year olds, but the four year olds needed less supervision. Also I tied the rope to two high and immovable pieces of furniture. I also made it clear that for safety reasons they could not hang on the rope of pull on it, and I reminded them of the rules often.
Name: Bj. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have large hand held "masks" of farm animals. They are large pictures of the animal with a hole cut out for the child's face. We have one child close his eyes while I put the mask up to his face for him to hold. Then the other children must give clues about the animal so that the child can guess who he is. It is a great language activity and the children love it. We talk about describing the animal by telling what it looks like, how many legs, what it eats, what it does, the sound it makes, what we use it for, etc. And, of course, the child has no difficulty guessing who he is after so many clues. I don't let them guess until everyone has had a chance to give a clue if they want to.
Name: ginny E-Mail: Msginnyedu@aol.com
Now that Spring is coming (to some areas, we are in NW Florida) extend your Dramatic Play to the outdoors. Make up a basket of costumes, dressups and props; take them outside and set up an area or center where the children can dressup and then play outside. Princesses, Princes, Animals, Farmers, Gardeners, just some ideas for Spring fun outdoors.
Be sure to carry out a dressup mirror so the kids can check themselves out. Nothing is more fun than to see kids in all kinds of creative outfits playing outside, they truly become different "people"!! If you have a covered, secured area, you might try setting this up as a Outdoor Play Center.
Name: Julie E-Mail: Imjewlz@aol.com
I find great bargains at my local thrift store. I was able to purchase white lab-type coats that can be used with a Doctor or Dentist's office theme. Also, old suit coats are available for two to five dollars.
Name: Alicia E-Mail: AliciaDug@aol.com
I buy Halloween costumes the week after Halloween at 75% off and stock up for the year with princess gowns and animal costumes.
Name: Robin E-Mail: email@example.com
If your making crowns from paper and you always find that they never fit two children. Also, the staples or glue do not hold it together. Try using velcro to hold the headband on so children of all different head sizes can wear it without ripping it.
Name: Madeline E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the project approach becoming ever so popular, I think that it is important to bring over to the dramatic play area the hats, crowns, masks, swords etc. that the children have made. It is nice to have props, but it is a great feeling to play with personal creations that the children have made with their own hands.
Just an addition that I add when we have a gardening center or florist shop. I fill our water/sand table with soil..and shovels...pots...plastic flowers....etc.
Name: CASi E-Mail: KC028@aol.com
With regard to male/female dress-up centers: Ask parents for Dad's old suits. Cut the sleeves down to child size (the cuff will still hang over the child's hands!). Also ask for old, stained neckties. Pre-tie the knots loosely so the children can slip the ties over their heads. I also request old halloween costumes. We are usually fortunate in getting animals (cows, pigs, dogs, etc.) and I tie these up into themes as well. Have fun!
Name: Donna E-Mail: email@example.com
Kitchen supply stores have some great oven mitts which are animals (the mitt part forms a mouth), and some cute fruit/vegetable characters. These really liven up dramatic play, can help to bring out an introverted child (I've found that some of my kids who are reluctant to talk or sing will make a puppet do so), and, best of all, are machine washable. I found a bunch of these at a dollar store, which was even better!
I ask the parents to send in the empty boxes of foods they use at home, I ask for multicultural food boxes too. We stuff them with newspaper and tape them shut. The children enjoy mixing foods, shopping, or serving using foods they are familiar with. I also put real materials into the area. Apples in September, gourds, pumpkins, indian corn etc. It's interesting to see the children explore the variety of different materials. The children have set up a store in the past sorting the fruits and veggies etc.
Submitted by: Stephanie E-Mail: Stephanie_Rottmayer@Convene.com
Look for old scarves of various sizes at garage sales. They can be tied millions of ways for more creative dress-ups. Some of our kids who like to pretend to be animals tie them together for long "tails" with the first one stuck in their waistband.
Submitted by: Melissa E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a dress up area for boys and girls. The girls have purses, gloves, coats and hats. The boys have a custom of a dinosaur or cowboy plus they use ties around their heads like Ninja Turtles. We have had some Grandmas come to visit our class and dress up also and we didn't have too much that could fit them!