A preschool teacher’s dream is to have a fully-stocked, interactive dramatic play area! But finding the best way to store the items necessary to create such an area can be more of a nightmare. Don’t fret just yet. These dramatic play storage tips help turn the dream into a reality.
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #1 – Use Containers
Find large, sturdy plastic containers with lids to hold each set of dramatic play items. Label each container with an easy-to-read sticker so things can be quickly found. This box is a transparent container from Costco, but any sturdy container with a lid will work fine.
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #2 – Keep Everything Together
Nothing is worse than knowing what you need but not being able to find it! Avoid this stress by keeping all items for each dramatic play together in one box. Store heavy items, like books and blocks, on the bottom, with more fragile items, such as a tea party set, on top. It can be tempting to pick up extra props, books, and supplies. However, sticking to one box ensures that everything will be together when it’s needed.
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #3 – Use It or Lose It
When setting up a center, anything that doesn’t get used that year gets donated or trashed. If it didn’t get used this year, it wouldn’t be likely to be used in the future. Pass it on to someone else who may get better use out of it, or if need be, simply throw it out.
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Dramatic Play Bundle for Preschool$79.00
HUGE bundle or dramatic Play Centers for the Early Childhood Classroom! Each set includes all of the signs, labels, writing activities, role play name tags, and a social story to introduce the new dramatic play center. New sets will be added to the bundle as they are created, at no additional cost to you!
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #4 – Ask for Donations
There is a lot that goes into making a dramatic play center! Avoid the pull to purchase all items out of a teacher’s limited budget. Instead, ask for donations from the community or preschool families. Many community resources, such as stores, pizza parlors, and so on, are more than happy to donate a few props.
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #5 – Set Up a Lending Library
There’s no reason to keep all the wonderful props and books to yourself. Set up a “lending library” or a sharing partnership with other local early childhood educators. Children around your area will benefit from many teachers’ ideas and creativity. And as a bonus, if the different sets are “visiting” other schools, they aren’t taking up valuable storage space AND they are helping other children!
If a lending library is unavailable or a bit too much to handle now, check to see if your area has a toy library. Initially set up as a way to benefit families who were struggling financially, many modern-day toy libraries offer much more for educators and families alike!
Dramatic Play Storage Tip #6 – Find More Storage Space
When dramatic play items are bursting at the seams, it is time to look for alternate storage. Repurposing an unused space, such as an under-stairs storage area, into a dramatic play storage space can be a solution. Closets, up on top of cabinets, in a garage or shed – since the items are in sturdy plastic tubs, they can go anywhere!
It may be time to rent out a storage unit when all else fails. A storage unit can be configured to your specific needs, with sturdy shelves labeled with the corresponding dramatic play center. This makes finding materials so much easier!
Dramatic play is always a favorite space in a preschool classroom, and with just a little thought and some thoughtful organization, it can be a teacher’s favorite as well.