This “sweet” ice cream shop dramatic play center will have early learners engaged and smiling all summer long! Who doesn’t love the frosty sweet taste of ice cream? Students experience all of the roles in an ice cream parlor, including the customer!
Materials Needed for Ice Cream Shop Dramatic Play:
- Pom poms or play dough
- Scoopers (from a local dollar store!)
- Plastic bowls
- Plastic containers for the “ice cream”
- Labels and more from Play To Learn Preschool’s Ice Cream Shop Bundle!
- Backdrop (an inexpensive way to add some WOW to the dramatic play center!)
Get a Ready to Print Bundle HERE!
Ice Cream Dramatic Play Center$4.00
Students can pretend that they are customers and servers with this Ice Cream Dramatic Play center. Develop important language, early literacy, and math skills all while playing and “eating” ice cream!
Play dough is one fun choice for an ice cream parlor center. It provides that extra-real touch, as well as some motor skills practice getting it to scoop. It can be scented in any flavor needed, using extracts, powders or drink mix. However, sometimes situations dictate that something else be used, so large colored pompoms are a great substitute. The fine motor resistance isn’t there, but the students use their imaginations and barely notice a difference. Some benefits to using the pom-poms in the ice cream parlor include the ease of clean-up, they are easier for children to count the scoops, and they won’t dry out and get crumbly. They also hold up to the heavy use that this center is sure to have!
The Keys to A Great Dramatic Play Center
All of the best dramatic play centers have a few things in common. First, name tags are so important! These name tags help students choose a role and act it out. Without them, there’s often arguing and confusion. As a bonus, they build the vocabulary! There are jobs for a Customer, a Scooper, a Cashier, a Janitor, a Waitress/Waiter, and Dishwasher in this center.
Another key to success with dramatic play is labels. When supplies are labeled (and the spot where they belong is labeled!), the whole center works well. This guides the students on where supplies are to go when they are not being used. Without the labels, children have to guess where to put them – and often they have very interesting guesses! The best labels have both a picture and the word to help early pre-reading skills develop.
Another thing that all great dramatic play centers have in common is a writing element. Literacy skills are needed everywhere, so it’s a great idea to put them in as often as possible! It is important to maximize learning whenever possible through play. At the ice cream parlor, the students can write down their orders. They write the number of scoops and then color the scoop to indicate their flavor choice. Finally, they choose their toppings as well. All great literacy practice!
Small red pom poms for the cherries and salt shakers full of colored rice for the sprinkles add the perfect finishing touch. Tongs add some fine motor practice as well!
Cleaning is an important part of any food service industry. A toy vacuum, a spray bottle (empty or just barely filled with water), or a broom and dustpan make it a very popular job with little helpers!
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Your blog makes me happy. It really shows the love & dedication you have for little learners. I wish I was young again so I could be in your class! I love the activities you have for the children. Keep up the good work!
Jamie White, M.Ed.
Thank you so much Cecily! We do have a lot of fun together.
Jamie, I am so glad I found your blog this weekend! I am returning to pre-k after being in k and first for the past 10 years! You have totally inspired me and I can't wait to jump in:)
The Resourceful Apple