Symbolic Play -
Having Fun at Dramatic Center

Dramatic center is the center that children can do a symbolic play. Symbolic play sometime referred to as a dramatic play, pretend play or imaginative play.

Children are active explorers. Through dramatic play children will able to discover new meanings and develop more complex understandings and skills.

Play is an important part of the process of construct the knowledge. Imaginative play is one of the tools for facilitating children’s spoken language. Through dramatic play children will practice spoken language to negotiating, presenting opinion and solving the problems.

Dramatic play is good for social, emotional, and cognitive development. It makes the children smarter, adjusted, and less stress.

Teachers can help children to plans a scenarios and enacts those scenarios. Give amount of time, 15 minutes at a minimum, but longer is better. Provide a realistic material is the best, but otherwise encourage them to use symbolic props that they created or their imaginations. For example a paper bag as a cook hat.

To assist children’s understanding of the different rules that may exist in a restaurant, for example teacher created name cards “cashier”, “waiter”, customer” and “chef” for children to wear around their neck.

Material for dramatic center :

  • Doll and doll clothes for both sexes
  • Dress up clothes, children’s, men’s and ladies
  • Kitchen equipment such as sink, refrigerator, stove, plate, cups
  • Doctor’s equipment such as : dolls, band-aids, eye chart, scale, empty medicine bottles, stethoscope
  • Stationeries such as paper, pencil, paper booklets.

Activities for pretend play :

Set Up an Apple Stand. Prepare an apple stand by providing the children with bags, cash register, stand, play money, scale, apple or plastic apple. Encourage the children for buy, sell and pack the apples. The children can take turns being a buyer, seller or cashier.

Set up a Vegetable Stand. Provide the children plastic fruits, a cash register, play money and bags. Create name cards “seller”, “buyer” and “cashier“ for children to wear around their neck. Encourage the children for buy, sell and pack the vegetables. The children can take turns being a buyer, seller or cashier.

Veterinarian. Put veterinarian prop box in dramatic area. Include item such as : stethoscope, thermometer, band aids and syringe, etc. Use stuffed animal as a patients.

Farmer. Gather farmer clothes and prop. Include hats, overall, boots, scarves, gardening toys such as : rake, shovel, watering can, etc.

Halloween Costumes. Put some Halloween costume to dramatic center. Let the children wear the Halloween costume. Talk to the children about the costume and pretend as the appropriate costume.

Family Celebration. Let children have a holiday meal. Gather materials for a special family meal. Collect plates, cups, napkin, spoon, fork and plastic food or food items cut from magazine.

Chinese New Year Celebration. Gather materials for a special family meal. Collect bowls, cups, napkin, chopstick, and plastic food or food items cut from magazine. Let children have a Chinese New Year meal.



Find preschool Thematic Unit and activity for :
Art Center | Block Center | Dramatic Center | Language Art Center
Manipulative Center | Math Center | Science Center

Find another preschool activities in :
Gross Motor Skill | Song and Rhymes | Field Trip | Kids Recipes

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