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Dramatic Play Area
Type: Projects   Skills: Play & CreativitySocial & Emotional Skills
A Dramatic Play Area is a space organized to encourage dramatic play. You place objects and items that relate to a particular theme in the designated area, and then let the children explore their fantasies. Dramatic Play Area
What We Learn
A dramatic play area is good for helping kids with social development because it encourages social cooperation. When the children play together, they develop and practice skills on how to share, learning to wait their turn, and how to ask for materials they want to use.

It also enhances language skills. Knowing the proper way to ask for an item can take years of practice, but if this language is facilitated by a provider in an activity like dramatic play then the skills will start to build up earlier and the children will begin to use them on their own.

Dramatic play also promotes hands-on experience with real world materials. Children are often limited in the amount of things they can touch and use. Through these experiences, they can explore their curiosities and make sense of the world around them.

Finally, dramatic play also builds cultural competence. Through the social context provided by the activity, the children will learn about differences and similarities, about diversity and about other cultures. This kind of learning promotes acceptance and helps to build bridges between children and their different cultures.
Supply List
Dramatic play possibilities are limitless, but here are some suggestions to get you started:

Smaller kitchen items (such as: dishes, used metal spoons, bowls, spatulas, used wooden spoons, chopsticks, soup bowls, Asian soup spoons, used wooden salad bowls, bamboo mats, cultural serving trays, old pots pans and pie tins, etc.)

Big kitchen items (such as a play stove, sink and refrigerator)

Decorations for walls and ceiling

Child-sized table and chairs

Dress up clothes (such as: men’s shirts, blouses, dresses, shoes for men and high heeled shoes, coats, scarves, hats)

Pencils and notebooks
Ask the children’s families to donate any type of old household items, such as kitchen utensils, clothes, and other household items.

After kids have brought in different items from home, validate each of the children during group time by allowing them to share what they’ve brought from home to the group. If anyone has brought in any cultural-specific items, for example, chopsticks, use that opportunity to foster a discussion about different cultures.

You may want to supplement what the children have brought from home with your own items. If you don’t have any old items in your own home, you can always find great items at thrift stores and garage sales for under a dollar.

Set up your dramatic play area. Create a welcoming environment for the children in an appropriate area where the section is clearly defined with furniture to give the area that home or cozy feeling. Have child-size tables and chairs for the kids, so they have a sense of belonging in this space. Have a shelf or bookcase area where children can easily reach and play with all of the items they have brought in.

Finally, allow the children to play. They’ll use the different props they’ve brought in to pretend all sorts of different scenarios (cooking a meal, getting ready for work, cleaning house, etc.) The provider should facilitate conversations to encourage social development during play.
Find Activities

Related Episode
Social Development
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