One thing I love about my space is that the layout is flexible. I have a few items that are secured in place for safety, but past that the children and I are able to mold the environment to match our interests. In February, our dramatic play space became a doctor office, complete with fish tank and jazz music.
We began by thinking about what happens at the doctors office and what things the doctor uses. Everyone agreed that they use shots, band-aids, and stickers, but weren't sure past that.
To get some more ideas, we watched a few clips, like this one, about going to a doctor office. This gave them the opportunity to come up with some vocabulary words we would use during our play. We made two posters: one with body parts and the other with some "doctor words." For body parts, I had each child tell me body parts that they knew by asking open ended questions. For vocabulary, my older children were able to label items that were in the video.
I also brought in a few supplies to give them ideas. A stethoscope, scale, and measuring tape were some of the most used items. It was a great way to get in some math skills in a real world situation, as well.
We also made a few toys. One item was a cast. This toy was inspired by the children. We had used cardboard to create an indoor obstacle course. During their play, they began using a tube shaped piece on their legs to walk like a robot. They remembered that I said it reminded me of a cast and they wanted to re-use it. So, we tore up some white paper and made a glue mixture to wrap it up.
We also made re-usable band-aids. First I cut a paper towel tube to be the same width and a band-aid. We put the band-aid on the paper towel tube and cut across where the ends of the band-aid came together. Voila! Recycling and reducing the materials we use.
Adding the old school phone was great. One 3 year old picked it up, pressed the headset and exclaimed, "There are no buttons!" I showed him where the buttons were and he looked at me like I had 3 heads, "What is this thing?"
One other aspect we used to make it feel more real was to make doctor shirts. With just a sharpie and plain white undershirts, I drew collared shirts and write their names on them. In March we are creating a science lab, so we will be able to re-use the shirts for our science experiments!
Not shown is our table light and eye/ears light. We used a piece of cardboard and a cd to make the "light" that hung over the table. Attached to that was a pipe cleaner with a round clothes pin attached to the end. That was so that we could check ears and eyes.
Our baby dolls were our most well behaved patients. They took meds, lay on the scale, and had lots and lots of bottles while at the doctor's office.
To help set the mood, we used clips like this: Ambient Fish Tank with Music.