The dramatic play center is the perfect place for young children to “play to learn”. Our basic home living center is a kitchen, with play food, dishes, babies, dress-up clothes, and a phone. For a week or two each month we transform it into something extra special. This Sandwich Shop is a great one to do early on in the year. It’s fairly simple, and a nice transition from the basic kitchen.
Welcome to the Sandwich Shop!
Incorporate lots of signs and labels! It’s a great way to foster literacy development. Our sandwich shop has an open and closed sign at the entrance. We also placed the menu on the way (like you would find at a real sandwich shop). Many of our restaurant dramatic play centers have menus, but we like this wall menu because it’s less complicated for our younger students.
The customers at our Sandwich Shop go through the line and tell the sandwich makers what they would like to eat! There are 2 types of bread – sandwich bread and sub rolls. Then they add their meat, cheese, veggies, and condiments. (All of our sandwich supplies are from the Melissa & Doug Sandwich set, but you could easily make felt or foam pieces for your own center!)
This is important! Part of the learning that takes place at the dramatic play center is learning that words have meaning. Students also practice important matching and sorting skills when they put their things away.
Use a “double label system” to keep it neat. Put one label on the inside of the basket (because you know it will be empty at some point) and put an identical label on the table or shelf spot where the basket belongs.
When the sandwich is finished, the customer can take it to the cashier to pay for the meal.
Sandwich Shop Drink Machine
Every fast food restaurant needs a fountain drink machine, right? The sandwich shop is no exception. In the past, we made a drink machine for our Taco Stand. We built it right inside a book shelf. This time, we wanted to make something that we could reuse, so we created it out of a cardboard box.
Changing the Dramatic Play Center
You will know that it’s a good time to change your dramatic play center when the students’ interest begins to wane. If your students are getting bored with the plain old kitchen, add some sandwich supplies and a menu board and give this one a try!
(And just in case you’re tricked into thinking everything always goes exactly according to plan at Play to Learn Preschool, here’s a little shot of how we found the kitchen one day after the students “cleaned it all up” for us! Just keepin’ it real, folks!)
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