Gifts for Dramatic Play
Children who engage in pretend play are learning how to navigate social-emotional issues and figuring out new ways to communicate and express their ideas. To inspire your child’s budding imagination, we’re sharing our list of tried and true materials to offer in your dramatic play area.
1. Puppet Kit – Children love puppets, but have they ever made their own? This kit has materials to make 6 DIY hand puppets complete with googly eyes, felt shapes, and pom poms.
2. Clipboard – We know we add this to many of our lists, but these small clipboards are perfect for the dramatic play area! They are just the right size to carry around a doctor’s checklist or a restaurant order form.
3. Baby Doll – Dolls help children learn empathy and how to care for others. We absolutely love this collection of realistic and diverse dolls that promote the importance of representation.
4. Building Blocks – We’ve never met a child who doesn’t love to build with blocks, and this is our favorite set by Melissa & Doug.
5. Wild Animal Figures – Another one of our favorite TOOB sets by Safari Ltd. Leave these out in the block area or put them in a sensory tub. Your children will go wild for them.
6. Salad Play Food Set – Not only does this play set encourage children to open up their own restaurant, but it also promotes healthy eating. Yay!
7. Mini Chalkboard Signs – We use these signs all over the studio, but they are brilliant for the dramatic play area. Weaving literacy into play helps build children’s vocabulary and gives them a realistic purpose for writing. Leave these out and we guarantee children will begin labeling all of their creations.
8. Puppet Theater – The best part about this puppet theater is its size! It is extremely durable and fits nicely on top of a table. Pair this with the DIY puppets for endless hours of fun.
9. Doctor Kit – Medial play teaches children to talk about how their bodies feel when they’re sick and helps them identify tools they might see on their next trip to the doctor. This wooden kit is beautifully made and has held up so well over the years!
10. Tabletop Cook and Grill – A staple in our dramatic play area, and it has been for years. We love that it doesn’t take up a lot of space and sits comfortably on top of a table.
11. Cars and Traffic Signs – We’ve purchased these several times over the last few years. Children love to find these in the block area or in a sensory bin. Plus, the traffic signs add in a touch of literacy and teach children how to look for everyday print in the world around them.
12. Wooden Dollhouse – It folds up and is portable. Need we say more?
13. Play Silks – Oh my goodness … these silks are magical. Leave them out and let your child’s imagination do the rest. One may become a skirt, a superhero cape, wings, a picnic blanket, part of a fort, or even a parachute.
14. Magna-Tiles ICE – Promote shape recognition and problem solving with these cool see-through, magnetic building tiles. Put these on top of a light table for a new experience!
15. Book – Have we mentioned the importance of sneaking in some literacy to your dramatic play? Display this book in the block area to inspire children’s building designs and hopefully get in a bit of reading too.
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