Contributed by Theresa A., Teacher, Camp Pendleton, CA
A Dramatic Play Area is a vital part of a preschool classroom. It’s a place where children can explore, imagine, create, play and learn in a safe environment, on a large scale and without the boundaries of reality. A child can develop his/ her own scenarios, resolve conflicts and make believe to their hearts content. Children like to mimic the world around them. They pretend to be cowboys, princesses, doctors, teachers, firemen and police officers. Children want to be grown ups and a Dramatic Play area gives them the opportunity to imagine they are. This activity helps develop a child’s language and literacy skills, social skills, fine and gross motor skills and cognitive thinking.
In my classroom there is a Dramatic Play Area. In the center we have furniture, clothes/ costumes, props and anything else we need to create their scene. We change it about every other month. We go off of what the children are interested in. Sometimes it’s a story we’ve read, a place they’ve visited or a recent event. In the past we have had a “Pet Hospital,” a “Pizzeria,” a “Toy Store,” a “Shoe Store,” “The Three Bear’s House,” “Grandma’s House” and a “Campsite.” We ask parents for help in gathering the items we need for the theme, such as shopping bags, uniforms, shoes, pizza boxes or stuffed animals. The Dramatic Play area is so popular that many times we have to put time limits so that everyone gets a chance to play in it.