Purchase an inexpensive blue tablecloth and tape to the floor, this is your pool. Add rafts, balls etc.
do a “camp safari” theme. set up tents in the pretend play and create your own jungle in your preschool room. make giant stuffed animals by letting the children decide what animal to draw, cutting two shapes of that animal out, stapling or taping it together, and stuffing it with newspaper. hang them all over the room and create your own zoo!!
I thought of making a retail store environment using old clothes, shoes, dishes, cut-out tv’s, radios, etc. Make price tags using numbers or color codes and attach to items. Have copies of ads available and also ask different stores for old name tags (ex: Sears, Wal-Mart, Target) You can also make your own name tags. you will also need play money, pens, pencils, a cash register made of cardboard. Also hangers (children’s plastic ones of course). You can also make checks and credit cards with paper or cardboard. Lots of ideas for this play area.
Contact a local movie theater, and ask them for old tickets, popcorn cups, or anything else they may have laying around. Use the tickets, and popcorn cups to play “Going to the Movies” for a great and fun Dramatic Play idea.
I buy or ask parents to send in artificial flowers and plastic vases and flower pots. I put in some Styrofoam and the kids play florist shop. Add a real or play telephone and cash register, a pad of paper and a pen or pencil so that the children may take “phone” orders. The children love to make flower arrangements.
If you have extra Christmas wrapping paper around, don’t throw it away! Bring all your empty boxes and wrapping paper to your classroom and turn your home living center into a gift wrapping center. Provide tape and child-sized scissors. Even it is after Christmas, children still love to wrap boxes!
After a field trip to the grocery store, I turn our Let’s Pretend area into a grocery store for my 4 yr.old preschoolers to enjoy. I use the child size furniture(refrigerator, stove, sink )for DAIRY, BAKERY, FROZEN FOODS, a FRUITS/VEGETABLE SHELF and use the empty doll bed for MEATS/DELI. I tape pictures of some foods that belong in that section and then equip it with real boxed foods, empty juice cans, waffle boxes, real canned goods, bread bags stuffed with newspaper, plastic fruit & vegetables, plastic meat, pizza, etc. I place some of the plastic meats and deli items on clean Styrofoam trays and cover with clear plastic wrap. Then the children take turns shopping and ringing up the groceries with pretend scanner or cash register. I also equip with paper shopping bags that have handles. The difficult part is getting the children to put their groceries back on the shelves when they are finished!
With each unit, we change our home living center. For example, we changed it into a spaceship for our sun, moon and stars unit just by hanging space pictures and putting in an outdated computer that the kids could punch around on. You could use old ice cream containers with a box cut out as helmets… Backpacks are great space packs and old soda containers are perfect oxygen tanks. The ideas are endless and it doesn’t take much time to do a quick makeover for any unit.
To prevent winter blues – have a Beach Party in January. Incorporate in all centers. Wear bathing suits over your clothes – Beach boy music, sand etc.have fun!
We like to set this up in winter when we don’t get to go outside much. We set up our mini trampoline, basketball hoop, and a tumbling mat as exercise equipment. We also add fitness magazines, a telephone, towels, gym bags, a scale, and a mirror. The kids really enjoy it and it lets them work off some of that extra energy they store up during a Minnesota winter. It gets a little loud, so we limit the number of children to 4 at a time.