Running out of ideas for your dramatic play area? Here are 75 great dramatic play themes your little learners will love.
Changing Dramatic Play Themes
Dramatic play themes should be changed periodically to help encourage and invite your little learners to play and grow. The novelty of something new or that hasn’t been around in while is sure to lure your preschooler to the dramatic play area. Some people change dramatic play themes every two weeks or every month, others change the theme whenever they notice their little ones not playing in the area as frequently. If you find that your little one has a favorite theme, feel free to revisit favorites!
Variety in dramatic play themes is essential to help keep your preschooler’s mind and vocabulary growing. With a new theme, comes new vocabulary words and new conversations that happen. By changing out the theme frequently, you can encourage your little one to continue to grow in many different ways.
Dramatic play is important not only for vocabulary building but also for social-emotional learning. Your little learner takes on a new role and can see how her actions are taken by someone else. She learns from this interaction and if the action is one she should do again. Creativity and imagination are also large (and important) parts of dramatic play.
Below are 75 dramatic play themes to help you change out your dramatic play area for years to come.
The Best Dramatic Play Themes for Kids
Your little learner can help taxi a plane or be a pilot herself.
Grab those stuffed animals and a clipboard to help give teddy a check-up.
Stuffed animals and some bowls for food are the start of something good in this animal shelter dramatic play theme. You may want to allow your little one to make a leash to walk the dogs.
Attach apples (pom poms) to a tree with the hook side of Velcro. Have your little one pick the apples and put them in a basket.
Train the sea lions, penguins, and dolphins in this aquarium dramatic play theme.
Brrr! Grab your coat and head out to the land of snow. The Arctic theme is perfect for winter!
Fix up broken cars. You can use ride-on toys (if you have them) or Match Box cars.
Serve up some freshly baked muffins and cookies in the bakery! Have recipes written on cards and bowls with spoons to have your little one mix up something tasty.
Roll up some towels and let your little one take them in her beach bag. She may even want to put on her swim suit.
Let your little one become a beekeeper! Using a old box, place bees inside. Have him pull out the bees from the box. You can have sun hats and gloves available to help protect his body from the swarm.
Who doesn’t love celebrating a birthday? Let your little one decorate and help plan a party with this dramatic play theme. Allow her to “make” a cake by stacking different items. She can draw a picture and put it on top for her decorations.
Give your little ones some building tools and some pictures for inspiration. Blocks and famous buildings are a great start to becoming a builder.
Your little one is sure to love displaying her favorite books to sell. Be sure to ask her what books she recommends.
You can set it up in the dramatic play area if you have a tent. No tent? No problem! Have your little one help you brainstorm how to make a tent with a blanket. S’mores over a fire are another great element to add to your campsite dramatic play area.
Despite it being called a car wash, they are not limited to only cars. Your little one can clean up anything she can dream of. If she is interested in actually washing items, you may want to move this dramatic play outside so she can wash her bike.
Build a fort and use your stuffed animals as knights or alligators in a mote.
Bring out some wrapping paper and tape (or gift boxes). Have your little one pick out, wrap up, and label the gifts for other people. She could also decorate a Christmas tree or bake holiday cookies.
Print out (or make) menus of things people can order in a coffee shop. Your preschooler can take the order and make the food and coffee. Play food and empty cups a perfect for this dramatic play theme.
There are many different helpers in our communities! Police officers, bakers, fire fighters, the list goes on and on. Print out some community helper hats and let your little one get to saving the community!
We have a blog post all about community helpers (with the printable) here.
Construction & Construction Site
Grab some traffic cones and a vest and have your little one direct traffic, fix the road, or build something new.
Use some recipes to make pretend cookies. Your little one can also take orders and hand out cookies if she wants.
Your little one can clean and help with toothaches!
Find the bones of dinosaurs or be the dinosaur! The choice is your preschooler’s!
Help people to feel better by listening to their symptoms and come up with a solution!
Make a decorate some yummy treats!
Help your little learner learn about our amazing planet.
Print out an eye chart to help your budding eye doctor.
If your little one has a favorite fairy tale, you can take on the elements of that fairy tale. If not, set up different elements to the three little pigs or a gingerbread house, or giant feet.
Leaves, pumpkins, and apples, oh my!
Tractors and animals are sure to bring a smile to your little learner’s face!
Favorite Stores (Target, Starbucks, McDonald’s…)
Use the color scheme and general elements of the store to bring it to life in your dramatic play area. You may want to add in a name badge, too.
Fire Station & Firefighter
Get ready to put out some fires with your pretend hose!
Magnets on the end of a string are a great way to ‘catch’ fish that have paperclips attached to them.
Different flowers can be put together into beautiful mixed flower bouquets.
How many trees can your little one make and stand up to create a forest? Maybe he will even add some animals to his forest.
Plant and harvest your own pretend food.
Cardboard boxes work GREAT as gingerbread house structures. Markers, stickers, or paper cutouts are perfect for decorating the house.
Set out different items that can be used to help your little one get physically fit.
Brushes and clips are a great start to a hair salon. Be sure to discuss that scissors are NOT part of this hair salon.
October is spooky season! If you are doing this dramatic play in October it should be relatively easy to grab some pumpkins, skeletons, and toilet paper to decorate a haunted house.
Playing house is a classic dramatic play theme!
Bring on the x-rays and casts!
Hot Chocolate Stand
Make some pretend hot drinks to warm up on a cold day.
Ice Cream Shop
Don’t forget to offer different toppings for the ice cream.
Use a box wrapped in white paper with a small hole cut out of the top. Have your little one place the string attached to the fishing pole in the hole to go ice fishing.
Put paper plates on your feet and skate around the house.
Magnifying glasses and small jars are a must during insect dramatic play!
Set up some trees and hide animals all around the trees.
What will you make or clean up in the kitchen?
Have your little one sort and fold some socks to add to the laundromat theme.
Whip up a cold glass of lemonade. Be sure to pick a price to sell your lemonade.
Enjoy swimming around a reef with the fish.
Bring out office supplies and (maybe) make a cardboard computer for your little one to work on.
Sometimes its too cold or dreary to play outside. Bring the outside in with this dramatic play theme.
Who wouldn’t want to go looking for a new pet?
Aye Matey! Help your little one make a map and search for the hidden treasure!
Order up! Make pizzas out of paper or felt and have your little one make up a delicious pie.
Who will your little learner chose to help in this dramatic play center?
Write and mail off some letters. You kids can even deliver the mail they made.
Pick and carve your own pumpkins.
Practice sorting recycling into different bins. It’s a great way to get your kids thinking about reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Grab the binoculars and make a paper bag vest to set out on a safari.
Help Santa make and deliver toys!
Set out some kid-safe science equipment and let your little scientist get to work on investigating.
Let your little one walk around the house and “shop” for different things. Be sure to pay for the items that were picked out.
Space & Space Station
Blast Off! To the moon and beyond your little astronaut goes!
When there are big problems, your kids are there to help save the city!
A tea kettle and mugs are a perfect start to a tea party. Don’t forget the finger sandwiches and nice conversation!
Set the pretend table and let your little one get to feasting!
Lights, camera, action! Have a paying area, a stage, and maybe even curtains!
Set up some toys with price tags.
Leave some paper, markers, stickers, and heart templates so your little one can make some valentines.
Not only small animals that can make it to the animal hospital need to be checked out. Sometimes horses, cows, or animals at the zoo need to be checked out too! Print off some pretend X- Rays and give your little one something to use as a bandage for her hurt animals.
Let your little one predict if it will be sunny, rainy, or if a storm is coming. Some images of the sun, clouds, and lightning clouds will help your little one to show the weather she predicts.
Wrap some boxes in white paper and have your little one build a snowman or a snow fort. Use white paper or white pom poms to make snowballs.
Use some cotton filling to make it look like snow (and if you are brave, let your little one play with it). You can use paper plates on your feet to “ice skate” around the house.
There are many different animals at the zoo. Bring your stuffed animals or plastic animals and make different pens to have a zoo. Have your little one feed and clean up after the animals.
Dramatic Play Themes
From working in Santa’s Workshop to being a veterinarian, there are dramatic play themes for everyone. Pick a theme to start with and let your little one use her imagination, creativity, and new vocabulary in new ways.