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