Dramatic Play is an amazing way to teach your child important social skills, build empathy, and expose them to the fun elements of real-life situations. These themed activities encourage them to ask questions, make connections and learn more about the world around them. The materials I use are usually toys/books we already have, painted amazon boxes, and Dollar Store finds.
For each theme day I try to incorporate 5 elements to give my kids a multi-faceted experience. These five elements include:
- Reading- I choose 3-5 books related to the theme, and with varying degrees of difficulty. For example, I will pick a board book with flaps for them to explore independently, as well as a longer book that I read aloud.
- Games- Including games is a great way to get kids excited about the theme. They can be age appropriate board games, or even games you make-up, like a moon rock (balls of foil) collecting race.
- Activities- The activities are always something they can explore independently, such as playing with figurines (to theme of course), collecting eggs from a cardboard chicken coop, or feeding animals with see through bellies.
- Felt Board Story- Choosing a felt board story that fits the theme is easy and gives the student time to sit and interact with a teacher/parent led activity. This can include a poem, song, or story. I always encourage the kids to take part in the story by adding or taking away elements from the board.
- Craft- Painting, Gluing, Molding, and Coloring?! What’s not to love?! Generally, I save the craft for the end and usually serve a snack while they work. For toddlers, I love a good Contact Paper craft, as it keeps the mess and glue eating to a minimum (post coming soon).
Timing wise, I like to introduce the kids to the space when it is completely set up. This means that it’s either the first activity in the morning, or after their afternoon nap. I also recommend letting them explore independently at first, letting them lead you through the sections that interest them the most.
Here are some pictures from some of the fun theme days we’ve had!