I thought I’d share one of my learning experiences through dramatic play. This could also be used as an activity to support a cooking experience.
What we did in this instance was set up a restaurant in our classroom. This helps to foster a social area where the children can practice their social skills (e.g. interaction, taking turns and cooperation).
It was an intentional learning experience, fitting within our theme of healthy food habits (e.g. dessert comes last, what makes a healthy menu).
We engaged in a lot of talk about the restaurant, which was set up in the indoor learning environment. We made this experience more authentic by using real items (for example, a fine china tea set) in the restaurant. This placed ownership on the children to take care of the china and made it more realistic for the children.
At the outset, I emphasized how valuable and fragile the tea set was – and over the course of two months, the children were so respectful that no item in the set was broken – and it was played with a lot!
This activity was great in allowing the children to draw on their own knowledge, but also extend it in creative and imaginative ways.
The children made the menus, then took turns playing the different roles in the restaurant (chef, waiters, etc.), allowing them to lead, follow and build on each other’s ideas.
It also encouraged their language and reading – through the process of taking orders in the restaurant.
This exercise encouraged fair play and cooperation, as the children worked together to run the restaurant, taking turns by regularly exchanging roles.
Comprehension and recall played a big part; even for an adult it can be tough to remember who wants what from 4 different tables!
So that’s one example of a great scenario for dramatic play, and incorporating an activity into your own curriculum to support children’s learning. I hope it’s got your creative juices flowing!