Monday, January 30, 2017

Baby Doll Dramatic Play

When we get to the middle of winter, the last thing that I want to do is pull out the same dramatic play materials that we've been using all year.  That means I have to get a little more resourceful to make my dramatic play centers interesting.


Now you can definitely buy some amazing printables and supplies at the Dollar Tree to add to your dramatic play area, and I've done that too, but I'm talking about using what you've already got.  Baby dolls were always popular in my classroom, and I tried not to keep them out all of the time so that it was special when they were available.  I also spent a lot of time raiding the infant for additional supplies.  Here are some great things to add to your baby doll dramatic play:

  • Blankets - plenty of blankets, and bonus if you can find two of the same because for some reason the children will all fight over that one blanket...
  • Real baby bottles - borrow them from families, I'm sure that someone has a couple of extras they would be willing to share.
  • Real baby spoons and bowls - There is just something about the real thing, as opposed to the tiny plastic ones that come with doll sets.  Many preschoolers don't ever get to play with the real baby bowls and spoons because their parents need them for younger siblings, or they get put away as soon as they are outgrown.
  • Pacifiers - even if they can't actually put them in the dolls' mouths they will still enjoy playing with them.
  • Newborn diapers - go buy a pack and it will be well worth your investment, even better if you can get a parent to donate a pack that their little one has grown out of. Your preschoolers will spend hours putting these on and changing them.
  • A Changing Pad - Yet another example of when the real thing seems far superior to a play or homemade version.
  • Multiple Diaper Bags - You'll be amazed at the stuff that will disappear from your classroom shelves and wind up in these diaper bags, but it will be worth it because it will keep them occupied!
  • Empty baby food containers - self explanatory
  • Infant Daily Sheets - If you use these in your programs then the children are probably pretty familiar with them. Run off some extra copies and let them fill them in. 
While I'm a huge fan of the real thing, in the case of doll furniture, strollers, and baby carries it definitely makes the most sense to use the play versions. They're cheaper and they won't take up nearly as much space in your classroom!

What items do you make sure to include when you have baby dolls in your dramatic play center? If you're looking for some more strategies to make your centers more interesting, check out my Center Challenge Books!

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