Hey y’all! It’s been a LONG time, but I’m back! Life has definitely changed since last time I blogged. Mike and I now have a precious 13 month old girl. I was nervous to see how having a baby would change my career. Part of me feared that being a new mom would negatively affect my teaching, but i’m happy to say that having Claire has made me a MUCH better teacher. Definitely far from perfect, but better.
Just as I strive to be present and intentional when I am with my daughter, I now really focus on being the same with my students. I always really cared about my kiddos, but having one of my own makes me think of all their parents and how they want their child to be treated. One day Claire will have teachers, and I certainly want the best for her. I strive to be the best I can be for my students as well. Of course I still have MANY teacher (and mom) fails along the way! I am horrible with puppets (thankfully my students think it’s pretty comedic), forget deadlines, have horrible grammar (good thing I teach pre-k), lose my train of thought in the middle of teaching and the list goes on!
Click “continue reading” to see some of my DIY dramatic play!
One part of teaching that I have become very passionate about is dramatic play. This center is vital for early childhood as it sparks imagination while also teaching the necessary standards. Plus it’s just plain old FUN for the kids. For those that aren’t “down with the early childhood lingo”, a classroom is broken up into centers. I have a writing center, iPad center, puzzle center, painting center, library center, sensory center and a dramatic play center. The dramatic play center is often set up as a house, but it can be changed throughout the year. I change my dramatic play for each unit or time of year. Creating things for my kiddos to play with in these centers are part of the fun!
Below I will share some examples of my creations. Not all items are my own and I will try to link anything that I can. Also, not everything is perfect. Sometimes I spend a long time on a piece while other times I may rush through. What’s important is that the kids can enjoy it.
This was a fun one! I simply used a diaper box (which are plentiful at my house), scrapbook paper (for the fire), paint and foil. Scissors will work, but using a box cutter was much easier for cutting the large opening. The steps are pretty simple. Cut the box, paint, glue in the foil and flames and voila! I added some gray paper on the outside to give it a more authentic look (I like to think it’s authentic HAH). I also used the left over from the big opening for the pizza spatula.
I wish I got pics of the entire center, but I forgot to take any for this one. The kids did love playing with it. I used This Melissa and Doug Felt Pizza set.
This is my favorite! I cut out the shape of the castle using a few large boxes (including *gasp* another diaper box!) This step was super fun because my kiddos helped with the creation. They were very proud of their work!
I used a sharpie to create the brick design and glued some construction paper and tissue paper for the lanterns. This year (as this was last February) I will spend more time on the butcher paper wall in the background. Mrs. Bevolo (my coworker) and I used various materials we had to set up the kitchen scene, because decorative plates look much more medieval than regular play plates! FYI, you can find these at Michaels for under $3. Worth it.
The tent was an Amazon purchase. I don’t usually spend so much for my classroom, but I was feeling extra inspired! Plus I got to use it in my classroom library after this unit (Traditional Tales) was over. Fun for the whole year. I found princess shoes, tiaras and wands at dollar tree and brought old dresses from home for dress up. Tulle and ribbon helped make the dresses fit the kiddos just right! I also ordered This knight set so it wasn’t all princess. The knight set holds up very well and can be used for years to come.
And yes! That is my Christmas tree in the center. I figured it added a nice “castle in the forest” feel. Plus I didn’t have much storage space in my closet! I will share how I incorporated my Christmas tree into a flower shop center as well.
This is my latest creation! I wanted to keep my home center up for a bit longer since our new unit is focused on family. This washing machine and drying rack adds more opportunity for play AND learning! the washing machine and clothing help with sorting while the clothes pins help work those fine motor skills necessary for writing. There is also an iron and ironing board (not made by me… I am very fortunate to work at a school where we have a TON of furniture for the home center).
The washing machine is made with another diaper box. I taped up the open areas, cut out the lid then painted the box gray. I used some random wood bobbles I had lying around for the buttons and cut a zip lock bag to make the window. Surprisingly that has not broken yet! If it does, I will use lamination sheets in it’s place. I think the best touch was definitely the command hook as a handle.
I have only had this out for a couple of days and so far the kiddos are LOVING it! I think that was solidified when I overheard a student telling her granny at lunch “Mrs. Ruge MADE a washing machine!!”
Thank you for checking in, especially if you made it through this entire post! I cannot finish this post without adding this: a hot glue gun will be your best friend for all of these DIY projects!
I will have another dramatic play post up in the future.