Dramatic Play Ideas


This week the children and I turned our dramatic play area into a beauty salon. I wrote a letter to all the parents asking for permission to paint their children’s nails and to send labeled combs, brushed, and hair supplies to school. Almost all the parents sent their children to school with something to add to the beauty salon. The children love getting their faces painted and their nails, even the boys! The children and I named the beauty salon and made a sign. We also placed a phone, cash register, and pads of paper in the beauty salon. We are having so much fun!


Since we have many videos in our home along with video games we decided to turn our area into a video rental store. We visited a local store and asked to borrow some of the hard plastic covers that use to send the tapes home in. They also gave us some movie posters to hang up. We made membership cards out of index cards. The kids used a hole punch for a “special promotion” for every $3.00 you spent you got a punch on a card. We had empty popcorn tubs to sell and some empty soda bottles to sell as well. We had video games to rent and when the kids wanted to play a game they had to “rent” the game and were only allowed to keep it for 15 minutes of play time. we used an older computer for the register. The kids rated their favorite movies and had them on display. They had to have the movies is some sort of order (i.e. mystery, kids or by an alphabet of the movie) We had play money, checks, credit cards. We also had accounts in case the kids forgot their money.


Turn your dress up area into a stage. Set out instruments and costumes. Make microphones out of toilet paper rolls and black tape. Let children make masks out of paper plates to perform their version of a familiar story. Set the book out for the children to refer back to. The children really get into their characters!!!


We often set up 2 of our rooms, one to look like a house, with beds, tables and chairs and kitchen stuff (stoves, shelves, refrigerators, pots and pans) and the other to be a town, with a library (books, reading mat, check out desk with cards to put in books), a grocery store (carts, food, cash register) a mechanic (tools, a bench to put the car on), and a doctors office (a table with tissue paper, Dr kit, rubber gloves, a reception area with magazines, phone, med cards). The kids use the little tyke red car to “drive” into “town” and do their errands, while some of the kids “work” and others do their “chores” at home…every 10 min or so we let the kids switch so they get to do different roles.


Our imaginary play area is a doctors office. We use our beds for nap time as the doctor’s bed. I put a stethoscope, Band-Aids, toy needles, blankets, and Popsicle sticks in it. I put my old computer keyboard in it at a table for the nurse. I put an apron in it for the doctor. I also bought a fisher price doctors kit to put in it too. I put old bell phone cards in it for the children can use as health cards when they come in. The children just love this idea.


Hair Salon. The children give each other pretend haircuts. I put rollers, hair clips, elastics, and other hair accessories in it. I put empty shampoo bottles and hairspray bottles in it. I also put up some different hairstyles out of magazines on the wall. For capes for the children to put on, I bought some men’s dress shirts from the local thrift store. It’s called Kids’ Only Hair Salon and I posted it on the wall with some pretend prices. I just knew the children would love it. It’s a really cute idea for the children.


Restaurant. I made menus to put in it. I made them by writing food and prices on a piece of paper and laminating them. I put tables, chairs, silverware, plates, and napkins at the table. There is also a fisher price kitchen on it. I put monopoly money in it. The children love it.


Beach Prop Box- I used a small durable plastic cooler, inside it I put, two beach towels, two or more size 10-14 children’s swimsuits, an empty sun-screen bottle, sunglasses, a bright colored hat (it is a good idea to do a head lice check daily, if hats are used), two or more empty plastic soda bottles (glue lids on for younger age children), & sand toys. The children in my class played with this both indoors and outdoors in the sandbox. If you are really creative, and not afraid of sweeping up sand, you can place a small wading pool filled with sand inside your classroom. Place it on a plastic shower curtain to make clean up easier.


We turned our housekeeping area into a florist, we asked parents to donate old silk flowers, plastic vases, ribbon pieces, and of course an old cash register with play money, the kids just loved it!


My students love to visit fast food restaurants. We turned our house area into a McDonald’s. We went to our local franchise and they were kind enough to give us some wrappers, boxes, cups and bags. A parent donated some aprons and hats. We used waffle foam mattress material that had been discarded to cut into strips to make “fries”. We made hamburgers, pickles, onions, and all the other toppings from felt and fun foam and enhanced them with markers so they looked like the real thing. We made menus, used play money and the children took orders on scrap paper. This incorporated so many skills: math, language, cooperative play, dramatic play, classification, etc. It was a real hit! We boxed up all the props and shared them with other classes as well and they added their props when they were finished.

2 thoughts on “Dramatic Play Ideas”


  1. Make a pretend donut shop simply by
    taking poster board and cutting them
    into donut shapes…twist…donut..
    bars..etc. Glue sprinkles on some.
    Use a cash register with pretend monies, some empty milk
    boxes and paper bags/boxes. Get some free paper hats from Krispie Kreme donut shop to add more fun.

    For Science/Math…let the children
    sort the different donuts according
    to types, sizes, shapes, sprinkles or not…etc. Then graph the results.


  2. In my class we set up a Farmer’s Market. The children are able to purchase fruits and vegetables. I place plastic fruits and vegetables in baskets. I also label each basket and put the cost of each item in front of it. The children love pretending that they are purchasing fruits and vegetables. I also give them purses and wallets with pretend money. The cashier takes the money and gives them a receipt. This is a wonderful idea to use in the Fall.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.