Thursday, June 2, 2011

Flower shop for dramatic play

To go along with our loose theme of "flowers and plants" this past month, I built Q a simple "flower shop." This is one of the first "themed" play areas I have introduced to her, so I wanted to keep it simple.

I used our art easel. I raided my craft supplies and came up with some fake flowers and greenery. I put red mums, green ferns, orange flowers and white geraniums each in a tall metal bucket that sits on the edge of the easel. (the flower can be used for sorting by type and color!!). I decorated by draping a flowery piece of fabric across the top, making a sign that says FLOWER SHOP, hanging a couple of shopping bags from a piece of bent metal hanger I taped up and stuck a flower clip onto, and used some flower art we'd made earlier in the month to decorate the board. I didn't buy a thing and all of them items are accessible by Q.
She loves to push the buckets of flowers in her shopping cart, take them out of the buckets and put them back in, ask her daddy and I what color flowers we want in the bags (and fill our orders!), and put the flowers on her little table for decorations.

When I initially set up the play space I had to spend some time playing with her and helping guide/direct her play by making some suggestions of what she might want to do with the items. For example, I said, "I want to buy some flowers! Can you put 3 red ones in a bag for me?" I also worked with her the first several times she cleaned this area up to teach her how to restore all the work back into its proper spots. These are necessary components to make play spaces successful, to keep them looking nice and appealing, and to teach the child how to play in them. Obviously older children need less guidance once they have more practice constructing their own dramatic play.

For an older child I might consider adding:
-cash register (could just be a calculator!)
-money (pennies or play money or even slips of paper)
-pad/pen to write orders on
-apron for worker to wear
-paper for receipts

They might also enjoy making the "flower shop" sign themselves! Or at least decorating it!!

The key is to be creative and find items around your home to repurpose. Don't get too complicated--leave some room to encourage imagination and remember that simple is better!

What fun can you have creating a flower shop or other themed play space for your kiddos as summer starts off???

HERE is a link to another great flower shop idea that would be great for preschoolers!
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