Dramatic play is nothing more than using imagination while at play.
Careful planning is a big part of any dramatic play area. Use your own imagination when planning this type of activity. Do you remember playing “house” or “grocery store” when you were young? During your play you incorporated both what you knew from real life and what you had seen on TV or garnered from books. This type of play gives children the opportunity to play “let’s pretend” in a new way.
Think outside the box. While props are a necessary part of this kind of play, you won’t need to have the exact item. Plain paper, for example, can be used for pretend money.
"Let's Pretend" play requires communication between the children, and usually involves several children, so they learn to talk to and get along with a variety of other personalities. Even children without the verbal skills to talk about their world will show what they think about their world by the way they play. As an added bonus, some children who are naturally shy will literally come alive when they are pretending to be someone else.
Whatever is going on in the children's own personal lives is likely to come out during dramatic play. It can be used to express how they feel about a divorce, a trip to the dentist, not getting a treat at the store, or an upcoming holiday. While adults normally talk about how they feel, children express it through play. This type of play helps them to deal with their feelings.
Children will learn about taking turns. If a grocery store is set up, for example, every child will not be able to run the cash register first. The needs of the whole group must be met, and the children learn a lot about cooperating with each other.
This is one area of play that normally goes on far longer than time allows. The children get so into it, and are so busy acting out different characters (ex. cook, waitress, or customer during restaurant play), that the time flies by. Try to give the children a warning prior to ending this type of play. If your kids are like mine, you’ll hear groans if you don’t.
There are LOTS of great ways to set up an imaginative play area in your daycare. Use your imagination to create unique opportunities for children to "pretend".
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