Learning through play is an important and natural process which introduces kids to new skills using a comfortable and fun approach. In dramatic play situations, children learn social skills through imaginative experiences and develop skills such as sharing, taking turns, cooperation, listening and negotiation. In addition, children learn emotional skills like being kind and helpful to others.
Here are a few prop box and dramatic play ideas* for preschoolers:
Post Office Prop Box: Envelopes, postcards, stamps (seals/stickers), Boxes or packages, junk mail, mailbox, scale, mail person hat, stickers, hole punch, cash register, blue shirt (uniform), cash register, pens, pencils, paper
Flower Shop Prop Box: An assortment of fake flowers, several plastic vases, cash register, note cards, tissue paper, Aprons, telephone, newspaper (for wrapping cut flowers)
Beauty Salon Prop Box: Mirror, chairs, combs, towels, hair clips, toy scissors, empty shampoo, conditioner & hairspray bottles, curlers, barrettes, and other hair accessories, beauty doll heads, broom, dustpan, toy blow-dryers and curling irons, cash register, money, phone, appointment desk and book, pencils, hair magazines.
Explorer Prop Box: Compass, binoculars, magnifying glass, watch, notepad/pencil or crayon, camera, map, hat, bug and animal tracks identification booklet
Travel Agency Prop Box: Pamphlets from tourist bureau or AAA, phones, desks, pencils paper, toy airplanes, and boats.
Submarine Dramatic Play: Use an old refrigerator box on its side to make a submarine complete with portholes, a Pringles can to make the periscope and a door to climb into. Draw pictures of fish on Saran wrap and then duct-tape it to the portholes. Grocery store with empty food boxes as groceries, play money, cash register or calculator, canvas tote bags or paper sacks (don’t use plastic for safety reasons), carts or baskets.
Restaurant Prop Box: Note pad and pencil, menus, table and chairs, apron, table cloth, play money or credit card, play food/plates/cups
Camping Center Prop Box: Tent, hats, fishing poles, lifejackets, camping dishes, towels, sunglasses, camping stools, rocks to make campfire, torn pieces of fabric to make fire (reds, yellows, oranges, and textured fabric like corduroy, old grill or a hibachi, clothesline, bug spray and sunscreen, sleeping bags, lanterns
Picnic Prop Box: Picnic basket, plastic food, empty condiment containers, table cloth.
Library Dramatic Play: Old Books (purchased from garage sales or friends of the library sales), old grocery bags or canvas bags, old gift card for library card, rolodex (card catalog), stamp and stamp pad, paper, pens
Gardening Sensory Bin: In a sensory bin, potting soil, flower pots, mini gardening tools, rocks, plastic bugs and worms, silk flowers, watering can. If potting soil is too messy, dry out a few cans of decaf coffee on a cookie sheet and add cornstarch, which looks just like potting soil.
*Some ideas contributed by OwnADaycare Facebook fans.
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