After teaching preschool for a number of years, I have found that the dramatic play center is a always a huge hit. Rarely, if ever, does a child choose to avoid dramatic play. Children, especially at the preschool age, are so curious about the people they see. Dressing up and pretending to be other people helps them learn about others. It also helps them learn to see another person's perspective, and that other people think and do things differently from them. Creating an at-home tub full of dramatic play items is sure to be loved by your children! It's easy, and can have little to no cost. Here are some ideas for your dramatic play tub:
1. Old hairdryer, curling iron, or flat iron. Just cut off the cord and make sure there are no wires that could poke your child. (Hairdresser)
2. Old jewelry, or dollar store jewelry. Include necklaces, bracelets, or hook-on earings.
3. Those old heels that are way out of style? Toss them in the bucket!
4. Old or unused hats, scarves, or gloves.
5. An apron, clipboard, and paper for being a waiter or waitress (for even more fun, attach pictures of food from a magazine to a manila folder-instant food menu!)
6. Wigs, blow up or kid sized guitar, and play microphone (you can find these at the dollar store) for being a Rock Star
7. Old halloween costumes are great for dress-up, too. Put them in the bucket!
8. Check out the dollar store, especially right now since Halloween is coming up. They have fire fighter hats, wigs, fairy wands, skirts, masks, and more!
9. Make your own masks out of paper plates, felt & string, or construction paper.
10. Paper coffee cups and lids, pitcher. (Barista)
11. Old, empty, and clean make-up containers and brushes.
The ideas are endless, and as you can see, you can do most of these things using items you already own. It's a great way to use items that have either broken or are not being used any more. When introducing a new item/costume/person to your child, try playing with them so they can see how to pretend to be that person ("Hi. Welcome to Starbucks! What kind of drink would you like? Here it is, but be careful, it's hot.") Your child will love pretending to be different people they see around town, and will learn more about those people by pretending to be them.
Also, to limit the "old, boring" factor, try putting out just a few things at a time. The next week, trade those ones for a new set of dress-ups.