Dramatic play is a fantastic way for preschoolers to really synthesize the information they’ve been gathering throughout their experience with a theme or unit. They naturally use new vocabulary words, implement concepts, and contemplate new ideas all in a meaningful way. Here are a few ideas for dramatic play themes within a seeds, plants, garden, or flowers unit.
Set up with a cashier’s table, complete with register, phone, and paper and pencils to encourage writing orders. On another table, provide containers, bows, and artificial flowers. Ask your neighborhood flower shop for items like water tubes (fascinating to kids), expired catalogs, or outdated note cards. Make sure to include purses or wallets with play money for your customers! This dramatic play theme encourages writing with the note cards and order forms, counting and color recognition as they place and fill orders, and the social structure of commerce.
For this theme, it’s always fun to have a tractor. You may just have a steering wheel at a table with a cotton stuffed paper towel tube taped down as the exhaust pipe. I like to have a tractor in one section with a play cell phone, and then a farmhouse using our usual kitchen area, perhaps with the veggies from the field cooking on the stove, and including seed catalogs (you can request them online) and paper and pencil at the table to encourage the children to plan their crops. You could use a brown blanket as soil and place imitation plants or toy food to simulate a field or a small garden. Along with language skills, this theme reinforces the true origins of food.
Combine a few of the above props here for a garden store. Start with your standard cashier center with a register, phone, paper, and pencils. Use an array of seed catalogs for ordering and to encourage copying words. Have items for sale such as seed packets (real, empty, or created), items like tools, gloves, pots, watering cans, and empty boxes of things like MiracleGro (again, real or created). This theme, again, promotes the social concept of commerce, as well as the needs of plants, and lots of writing and reading opportunities!
So try one of these themes in your seed unit and watch your little ones grow their imaginations!
Photo by Thoursie.