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Ways to Enhance The Dramatic Play Area

The dramatic play area can be one of the most played in areas of your classroom, but it all depends on how interesting it is for your children.  This area is where children can learn and engage in what could be in the real world and can be changed to match the theme of what you are teaching that week or month.  Children of all ages and both girls and boys love playing in the dramatic play area.

A dramatic play center is an essential part of your classroom.  This area helps children explore different roles and situations and children play with real-life items and tools that we utilize in everyday life.  This area encourages children in a safe way how to utilize materials that they may see at home.  The dramatic play area can be enhanced by these simple steps.  NAEYC also provides some great information on how to implement and culturally inclusive environment within the dramatic play area.

  • Adding everyday Items to the center

Adding cereal boxes or other food boxes will allow children to role play with their peers and learn hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.  Making sure that the items that you place in the center are also good food choices that are going to promote healthy eating.

You can also add items like detergent bottles, milk cartons, Aprons, dress up clothes that are job specific, adult size clothing, shoes, and purses.

  • Large Enough Space

This area can be an area that a good amount of space is needed.  Creativity can explode in this area if you allow it by providing the materials but also adding the space to let that creativity to expand.

  • Changing up the themes ever so often to keep the interest of the children

Making the dramatic play area have a specific theme added to it along with the normal items will add curiosity and engagement to the center.  They can learn new vocabulary, knowledge about that specific item and much more by adding different themes into the area.  Here are some suggestions on what themes that could be added:

 

  • Restaurant
  • Beauty salon
  • Vet clinic
  • Bakery
  • Ice cream parlor
  • Doctors Office
  • Grocery Store
  • Airport
  • Nursery
  • Flower shop
  • Pizza Parlor

 

  • Open-ended materials

Adding materials that could substitute as many different things will allow children to explore their imagination which is an area children find hard these days.  Putting things like pompoms or pipe cleaners in the area help expand higher order of thinking in children this age.

  • Labeling materials in the center

Labeling the shelves and containers in the center will help children see where the items go and will make for less clutter.  Children become anxious and frustrated when there is clutter just like adults do.  This will help children be able to take responsibility for the area and the materials.

  • Have fun with the children

The best way to expand on children’s learning is to get down and play with them.  Be the facilitator.  Don’t take over the play but ask open-ended questions that will make them think.  Also by being the person that can help them expand on what they are learning they will be able to express in more detail what they are exploring.  Be the person that is eating the food that they made or the patient at the doctor’s office. Allow the children to be the boss during this time and just expand.