This center is easily adaptable for most dramatic play centers with a few additions!
- Airport Dramatic Play printables on Teachers Pay Teachers
- Child-sized chairs
- A large box
- A roll (or two) of Duct Tape
- Old phones, computers, or any other fun looking defunct technology
- 2-3 small tables and counters for different areas.
- A counter or sturdy furniture like the Create-It-Station by Constructive Playthings.
Taking It Up to New Heights!
To really invest in making a jaw-dropping dramatic play space, consider adding the following:
- PVC pipe frame security checkpoint
- Pilot control panel
- Control “Tower” complete with safety vests and cardboard signal wands)
- Baggage area
- Flight Attendant station/cart
Introducing the Airport Dramatic Play Center
Introduce the center by taking a poll to see how many students have flown on an airplane. Discuss what is needed to pack to go on a trip, and where the students would like to go. Using a pocket chart helps give the children good practice graphing information, and they can easily see if more friends have gone on an airplane or not!
A great way to use environmental print and avoid arguments is to use a nametag station. Here, every role in the center is assigned a nametag, and students select which they would like to use. The nametags help students both by supplying them with names and pictures of the important people in an airport and helping them identify who has which part to play.
At times, certain roles are more popular than others, and having a “waiting list” helps students take turns more patiently. It also sneaks in a little extra name-writing practice!
Planning the Adventure
Before passengers can get on the plane, they need to stop at the reservations desk to purchase a ticket. The computer monitor, keyboard, and telephone make this area have a waiting list all morning long! Pretending to do “grown-up” things like working at a computer and using a phone are always very attractive to young children. They love to emulate the adults in their lives!
Traveling with Baggage
Ready for Take-Off!
The ground crew is in charge of directing the plane on the tarmac. The crew member wears an orange vest, soundproof headphones, and goggles. Homemade wands created from a big wrapping paper tube and two colors of duct tape are great for guiding the plane.
At Play to Learn Preschool, there is a fantastic control panel created by a lovely volunteer. Constructed from particleboard, with dials made from stickers, buttons from an old telephone, breaker switches and buttons from the hardware store, and an intercom system made from an old hairdryer, it is always a favorite! However, more simple controls, even just a steering wheel and a calculator can suffice with a little imagination.
Have a Nice Flight!
Adding Supporting Materials
While the dramatic play area is exciting, adding supporting materials at other centers will help reinforce the vocabulary, provide students with more ways to explore the idea, and give children a way to practice the concept of an airport in several different settings.
Adding airplane themed books to the reading center is a fantastic way to build on the topic. A word wall added to the literacy center helps reinforce the vocabulary. Airplane toys added to the block center, and a sensory table with cloud dough are excellent additions as well.