Early Childhood Ed

How to use Dramatic Play in Preschool

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Dramatic play is one of the most fun and popular choices for children in preschool classrooms today.  There are several ways that preschool teachers can use dramatic play to educate young children in their classrooms.

Role play

Teachers can incorporate role play into their dramatic play centers on a regular basis with relative ease.  Teachers can provide the children with toys, or props, to act out a specific role.  Teachers can also give the children dress up clothes in order to do so.  An example of a role play activity during an occupation-related theme in a preschool class would be to start by setting up a table with a table cloth, play food, plates and silverware.  Teachers could then ask the children to act out the job of a waiter or waitress.  Another example would be to give children a pretend doctor's kit, surgical masks, and pretend scrubs.  Then teachers could ask them to act out the job of a doctor or surgeon.

Pretend play

Teachers can hand out simple props and give the children ideas of what to do with them, while still leaving the activity open-ended.  For example, teachers can give children a few Lincoln Logs to play with in the dramatic play center and then ask the children what they would like to use them for.  Teachers can start by modeling some ideas for the children (using it as a toothbrush or a microphone) and then see what kind of ideas the children come up with on their own.  This is a great way to stretch young children's imaginations and teach them how to pretend play.

Additionally, it is a good idea for preschool teachers to have plenty of props in their dramatic play center.  A few key ingredients to include might be puppets, dolls, a dollhouse, musical instruments, a cash register, play money, etc.  The more props, the merrier! 

Dress up play  

Teachers should include a wide variety of clothing and accessories for preschool children to experiment with dressing up in the dramatic play center.  Teachers can include different costumes that relate to different occupations, sports players, and so forth.  Additionally, it is a good idea for teachers to include some open-ended dress up items such as adult clothing, different types of shoes, wigs, etc.  If possible, teachers should see if they can include a full length mirror so that the children can see their reflections after they dress up.

There are many different ways that preschool teachers can use dramatic play to teach children.  Various types of role play, pretend play and dress up play all should be used interchangeably in preschool classrooms.  These types of activities play a vital role in early childhood education today.

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