40 Dramatic Play Ideas

dramatic play ideas
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Dramatic play/ role play whatever you want to call is the pinnacle of play based learning. There is so much learning involved while playing .These posts on Scholastic and on Crayon Freckles  sum up clearly the importance and benefits of role play.

Here we have gathered a number of general role play ideas which have many elements to encourage reading, writing, doing simple math. Under each general idea we have collected numerous ways to set up the same dramatic play. Choose the one which appeals to you and surprise your child with a fun role play setup. The reason for including many links for the same idea is the multiple differences in details. It could be the same flower shop or same picnic or school , but different blogs have varying focus on the same play idea. Please pay attention to the details in each link and you should have a fair idea on how to create a resourceful play scene. Of course, you can always completely forget about play based learning and just play!

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Role play ideas that encourage reading and writing

All role play ideas can be turned into reading, writing,math and getting creative prompts. That’s why the ideas generally will fall into more than 1 category. Having said that, some play set ups have a built-in literacy or math prompts like school role play, library role play, post office role play, store play. The following categorization is based simply on my observation of my child’s play style.

 School Dramatic Play

What kind of play encourages reading and writing than class room dramatic play set up. All the kids love to pretend to be adults ot anyone who is in charge. Kids who are used to school or who have seen homeschooling moms teach would love to engage this kind of play. When they carry out a teacher’s role it inevitably ends up with some reading.

school role play

 Inner Child Fun - fun and frugal

Learn With Play at Home  –  with tips for extending the play.

Childhood101- with a useful list of materials needed.

Library Dramatic Play

This kind of role play idea has so much potential for reading and writing . The following links each has a unique focus and please pay attention to the details in the posts.

library pretend play

The Good Long Road’s - very  creative library setup. The laptop is genius

No Time for Flash Cards – easy tutorial on making index cards flaps

The Pleasantest Thing‘s- brimming with details without being fancy.

Post Office Dramatic Play

This kind of play doesn’t need any introduction. Post office role play screams fun writing, scribbling, pre-writing, doodling, drawing. It can be anything. Visit the following links for more inspiration and ideas.

post office role play

My personal favorite -Post Office Play setups have oodles of opportunities for writing.Visit these links and see how each of these talented bloggers have set up their post office in a different way. Check them out and be inspired!

Nurture Store ‘s- tips for creating gentle writing prompts while having fun with the kids.

Kids Activities Blog- play mailboxes and play kits.

Let’s Lasso the Moon‘s- family mailbox

Crayons Freckles – realistic mailbox using simply a brad

Getting Messy with Jessi - mail delivery process.

Office Dramatic Play

Kids love to pretend to be adults. What’s more exciting to them than pretending to work at an office, making phone calls, punching calculators and using grown up pens. This role play idea encompasses multiple categories, language, fine motor and reading&writing.

office dramatic play

Mom with a lesson plans -opportunities to engage in writing

Teach Preschool’s use of real items to setup a role play scene is fantastic.

Restaurants and Coffee Shops play are also a wonderful way to encourage reading and math (menus, prices). Down below I have included them in our language category.

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Vocabulary and Concepts

Allmost all dramatic play prompts develop budding language and conversation skills. Some more than the others, especially the ones where there are more than one distinct role to be played. If your are in the moment playing with your child( the best kind!) or if the child has a companion or at times if the kid is taking on more than 1 role, the following ideas are worth taking a look.

Picnics and Tea Parties

pretend play sensory tea party 0

Creative Playhouse – toddler picnic.

Growing a Jeweled Rose  – tea party.

Construction Zones & Workshops

construction pretend play

Crayon Freckles - play dough construction zone

Little Explorers – “Fix It” workshop.

Restaurants

No Time for Flash Cards – restaurant dramatic play idea. 

La Force be with you – wonderful DIY recipe book for kids. Easily adapt the idea and turn it into a menu

New Ideas

Fireflies and Mudpies - squash shop with fun conversation

Glittering Muffins - door to door salesperson

pretend-play-door-salespersonw

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Math Skills

Any store/ restaurant related role play set up will have inbuilt math play prompt. Below I have a few fantastic and inspiring stores role play ideas

Bakery/ Sweet Shop

bakery-setting

Our own bakery dramatic play 

Kids Activities Blog- play dough candy store

Toy Store

pretend toy store

No Time For Flash Cards‘s toy store

L earn with play at home - learn numbers

Flower Shop

Let’s go Fly a Kite - has a handy materials list for a fun flower shop play

The Imagination Tree – Garden center

Ice Cream Shop

Learning 4 Kids‘s- ice cream shop with recyclables

Grocery Store

grocery store

A Mom with a lesson Plan - easy set up but full of ideas for play materials.

Playing House has a ultra simple grocery store set up. No reason not to do this with your kid.

Bank

I think playing “Bank” would be a great idea for older kids. Introducing simply ” deposit” and “withdrawal” terms while showing them what they mean is a fun way to introduce “Money” to them.

Crayon Freckles - use lite brite to play bank. Extend the activity depending on the kid’s age.

Kindergartenkindergarten has a clever way to use a tri-fold board as an ATM.

Coffee Shop

Cafe role play collage text

The Imagination Tree -works as a reading prompt as well.

Growing a Jeweled Rose - sensory play and dramatic play set up.

Fairy and the Frog - play dough coffee Shop

Food Truck

Tinkerlab – box truck (must see!)

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Overcoming fears/anxiety

Dramatic play is great for over coming fears and many kids are not so ok with going to the doctor, am I right? Role play can be used to ease the child into any situation. If my child is afraid of the doctor I’d set up a simple hospital role play. For kids who are uncomfortable with hair cuts, hair salon play would be great. Also fears need not be the only issue that can be addressed Think about slow to warm up or at times shy kids. Role playing a certain anxious situation like park/play ground or simply a store would be a wonderful tool to overcome hesitation and worry. Ideally role play ideas under language skills would overlap with overcoming anxiety.

Some hospital and doctor’s office set-ups

doc mcstuffins clinic pretend play

Growing a Jeweled Rose – hospital setup

Fairy and the Frog -doll hospital set up

Crayon Freckles - Doc Mc Stuffins Play

Hair Salon - For fun or to overcome haircut anxiety

salon pretend play

Dramatic Play in the Tub!

Lemonade Stand

Printables

Growing Pre K

Pre-K Pages

Round Up

Simple Kids

Few more incredible ideas

Vet clinic ideas

Car Wash dramatic play

Cloud Dough ice cream shop set-up with a homemade recipe

So many possibilities, so many spins..

The following are a few affiliate links to some cool play props.


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11 Comments

    1. TurkeyMom

      Valerie- Your door to door salesman dramatic play is super fun. Very new idea to me. I’m itching to try it soon with my kids.

      Reply
    1. TurkeyMom

      Jen – I’ll say it again your cookie sheet laptop is so clever. I like all your simple, fun activities you do with your son.

      Reply
    1. TurkeyMom

      Yeah. We are big fans of dramatic play as well. Most are spontaneous kid-initiated ones and some are the ones I set up for them as an after school surprise. Hope you find something fun in there. Thanks for the pin

      Reply

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