Children love to play in a dramatic play setting that has been designed around a theme. Providing ample props engages the children in the theme and allows them to make believe their own scenarios. The key to a successful dramatic environment is providing enough props for several children to avoid conflict.
The benefit of providing dramatic play outdoors is that the children can use more of the environment to enhance their play. They can also let loose a bit as they can use more of their body to engage in play. They can be louder, busier, and even incorporate the structure, bikes, or sandbox!
Here are a few of the dramatic play ideas we have used in our Outdoor Classroom over the past few months:
|Our younger pod enjoyed the small scale Country Kitchen (crossed with the Mud Kitchen approach). The teachers put the kitchen near the sandbox to encourage the children to use the sand and other natural items they had set out.|
|Mixin' up the soup!|
|Farmer's Market - We set out four shopping carts, several shopping bags, purses, several cash registers, and play money. We added labeled bins and shelves filled with fruits, vegetables, bread and dairy products.|
|Western Cook Out - Cowboy hats, flannel shirts, bandanas, plastic plates and utensils, and aluminum cookware with LOADS of plastic camp food made this theme a big success. The kids really enjoyed the giant ham and steak!|
|Every week, we add a few special items to add interest to the theme. This time, we added a campfire and tripod. The kids had a great time cooking the ham and hot dogs over the fire.|
|We even added a hanging lantern for effect.|
|Paleontology Lab - Directly beside the dino dig, we place another table filled with laboratory gear such as goggles, beakers, and magnifying glasses.|
|Adding photos and language around the yard inspires curiosity in Language and Literacy.|
|Teddy Bear Picnic - The children enjoyed LOADS of teddies and stuffies. We added pitchers, cups, plates, baskets, and a quilt to make the perfect picnic setting.|
|Post Office - This theme features mail boxes, US Mail Tricycles, newspaper, paper, cards, envelopes, stickers, stamps, clipboards, tape, and hole punchers. You name it - if it was good for writing or posting, we provided it!|
Other ideas include: Play House, Police, Bakery, Pumpkin Patch, Garden, Weather Station, TV Station, Rock and Roll Stage, Nautical or Pirate Boat, Castle, or Shoe Shop.
Have any other great ideas for Outdoor Dramatic Play? Mention them here and provide a link if you have one!