Dramatic Play Centers
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I change my Housekeeping Center into many different Dramatic Play Centers during the school year. With all of your Dramatic Play Centers be sure to make a poster with photos of how the center is supposed to look when they are done playing. The poster says "This is what a CLEAN (Name of Center) looks like." Here are a few of my favorites.
Lakeshore Learning Store has some wonderful new products to make your dramatic play centers more literacy based. They now sell Dramatic Play Writing Boxes. There is one for doctor's office, restaurant, home, grocery store, toy store and school. They include rings of vocabulary words and wipe off cards to write on. My students love them.
In October, I set up the costume shop. I shop for costumes after Halloween (75%- 90% off) and also ask parents to donate old costumes. Be sure to include bags for pretend Trick-or-Treating and pencil and paper to sketch out costume designs.
Pizza Hut - During the winter months, I set up a Pizza Hut. You can get empty boxes, cups and pizza rounds from your local restaurant. I have even gotten some old menus. The kids can make up the pizzas using felt pieces to fill the orders. I found it has helped the children a lot in their writing to have the ingredients listed in the pocket chart. The wait is long to get into this popular restaurant!
Grocery Store - In November I turn my dramatic Play Center into a Grocery Store. It is very easy to set up because I ask parents to send in empty food boxes and containers. If parents want to send in full boxes and cans, I take the items to the food shelf when we are through with the center. The kids love to scan the groceries and use the cash register.
Doctor's Office - In January, I set up a Doctor's office. Over the years I have collected many supplies from parents that work in hospitals or doctors' offices. I have lab coats, scrubs, gloves, ace bandages, and empty medicine bottles. You have to have a stethoscope. If you do not want the kids to examine each other (we talk about appropriate behavior) you can include stuffed animals and make it a Vetís Office.
The Shoe Store is a real hit with the kids. I collect shoes, boots and slippers at Goodwill and Garage Sales. I also have a few purses. All of the kids (even the boys) love clomping around in high heels. Make sure you find the really tacky and glittery ones. It was really funny this year when we had a Fire Drill and 6 kids went out in heels and boots. I put up different word cards in the pocket chart so the kids can write and fill orders.