“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” –  Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers… he’s one of my childhood “heroes”. This is perhaps my favourite quote about play because it captures the truth of play. It really IS the work of childhood.

As a former early childhood educator, I’m a huge advocate for large blocks of uninterrupted play time. I personally struggle with “getting into” play but I love to set up play provocations for my children. In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen pictures of the play spaces I create with and for my children.

What’s wonderful about play spaces is that it’s a fabulous opportunity to teach your children about the roles people live and work in. Plus there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate curriculum (and you get to do so in the subtlest of ways).

Planning the dramatic play space.

There a few things I consider before I set up a dramatic play space.

1- Is it applicable to a recent experience or an interest of my children?

The most successful dramatic play spaces will be ones that my children are most interested in. Sometimes I can “introduce” an interest by setting up a space but usually I stick to branching off of something they like.

2- What can I do to make it educational?

I try to think of ways to make the experience educational. Are there signs that my children can write? Could they calculate prices?

3- How can I expand on the idea if the interest takes off?

I assess if there are related field trips we could take if their interest grows. I also research possible books we can read and people we could “interview”.

5 Fabulous Dramatic Play Spaces for Children

Check out these five fun and inspiring dramatic place space ideas! #homeschooling #play Click To Tweet

The Restaurant

When we rowed the book, Little Nino’s Pizzeria, I set up a pizza parlor for the girls. I added a cash register with toy money, used old pizza flyers, and plates. I also cut out pizza shapes and pizza toppings from felt material so that they could “make” pizzas.

The pizza parlor dramatic play space is loads of fun!

The Grocery Store

My girls almost always accompany me to the grocery store. They had a delightful time setting up and playing in our grocery store! To assemble this space, I included a cash register with money, toy food, a shopping basket, and shopping bags.

Little play grocery store.

The Lemonade Stand

This past summer, my girls had a blast selling lemonade as a fundraiser for the local children’s hospital. My youngest daughter recently requested that we play lemonade stand. I of course, complied! I included toy money, a cash “box”, a lemon juicer, toy lemons (which are made of felt), and signs.

A lemonade stand is a fun space to play in!

The Library

My oldest daughter recently accompanied her Girl Guide troop on a tour of the community library. She came home enthused by what she saw, so we decided to set up a library of our own! The girls made library cards for every member of the family, we gathered plenty of books, made signs, and set up a book return bin. I also let them use the “Home Library” app on the iPad to check books in and out of the library.

A library dramatic play space is always fun!

Baby Bath Time

If she could, my youngest daughter would take several baths a day. I decided that it might be time to set up a bath for her baby doll. I included a small bin with warm water, face cloths, towels, a rubber duck, baby “shampoo”, and dry clothes.

Baby bath time is so much fun!

If you want to continue to see our dramatic play spaces, make sure to follow us on Instagram. We like to share pictures of all of our play spaces there!


Do me a favor, will you? Share in the comments, do you set up dramatic play spaces for your children? Then share this article with your homeschooling friends.


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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool and creator of The Deliberate Mom. Jennifer writes about parenting, homeschooling, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

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