Dramatic play is one of my favorite centers to set up each month. I love to incorporate different themes as we learn so I knew this Dramatic Play Ice Cream Shop would be the perfect addition to our weekly ice cream themed lessons.
What’s Included in the Ice Cream Shop Dramatic Play Center?
This ice cream shop comes with everything you will need to set up a dramatic play center in your home or classroom.
There are 65 pages of items included in this resource such as:
- an ice cream shop banner (or you can make it say parlor)
- labels for items in the shop (sprinkles, syrup, cones, bowls, spoons, vanilla ice cream etc)
- an open and closed sign
- pretend money
- hours of operation
- literacy activities ((How to Make a Milkshake (sign, cut and paste activity, and writing worksheet) and How to Make Homemade Ice Cream (sign, cut and paste activity, and writing worksheet))
- flavor of the day sign (that can be changed between vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry)
- badges for employees, managers, and customers (boy and girl versions of all)
- several buy one get one free punch cards
- employee of the month sign
- order forms with a money activity
DIY Ice Cream Shop Props
I originally purchased some CUTE props from Amazon to use with this BUT after a week and a half of non shipment, I decided to get creative and make my own props from household items. Here are some tips to make this dramatic ice cream shop on the cheap!
Roll tissue paper into balls to look like various ice cream flavors. White for vanilla, pink for strawberry, and green for mint. I didn’t have brown tissue paper for chocolate ice cream but I did have an old UPS box full of shipping paper that worked just the same.
The toppings were equally as easy to create. You can roll small balls of red tissue paper to make cherries and cut up different colored pipe cleaners to make sprinkles. After a few days of playing in the center, my son emptied the hole punch scraps into the sprinkles bowl and used that as well! Stretched cotton balls are a quick way to create whipped cream and brown string makes awesome chocolate syrup!!
The cones were the trickiest part (even though they were very quick and simple to put together). You just need to cut a toilet paper roll in half (hotdog style) and tape it together in a cone shape.
I did have to buy a few items to make this work out the way I wanted it to. We purchased the large and small bowls from Dollar Tree. The toppings shelf and the Ice Cream shop are both from Amazon, but can also be found at Target.
What Do Kids Learn in a Dramatic Play Center?
Kids learn best when they’re engaged in play so utilizing a dramatic play center at school or home is an easy way for them to learn different skills and standards.
Before children learn academics, I think it’s important for them to learn how to be kind individuals. Dramatic Play is a great way to teach empathy, by putting themselves in other people’s shoes as they role-play. It’s also a great way to teach kids how to share.
Dramatic play is essential for young learners because it teaches them language development. From a very young age, kids are soaking up as much language as they can; however, this is a great way to teach them new vocabulary that they may not have been exposed to. It also builds expressive language by giving them a voice. This encourages kids to speak up, share their opinions, and convey their wants or wishes based on the role they’ve chosen.
Academics are also a big part of dramatic play centers. Let’s use an ice cream shop for example. In a dramatic play ice cream shop, children can practice exchanging money and names of coins as they pay for their items. They can count the scoops of ice cream or toppings as they add them into their cone. Customers can practice reading from left to right or matching pictures to words by ordering off of a menu. The employee can take their order as they practice their handwriting skills on a notepad.
Dramatic play is a complete package and one of my favorite centers to use. How do you incorporate dramatic play in your house or school?