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Best Role Play Area


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#1 emmajess

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:08 PM

Since being quite ill before Christmas and not being quite myself again until just recently, the last couple of role play areas in my classroom have been a bit of a let down. They've been ones that have been successful in the past but that I haven't been able to put the usual 110% effort into this time!
Children have mostly gone into them and played mummies and daddies with the dolls - which is great, but I'd like to foster a bit more imaginative / complex play next time.

Just wondered what your most successful role play areas inside have been? My teaching assistant suggested a baby clinic, but I'm not overly excited about this one either - I think I need something that's going to really motivate and inspire everyone... including me!

#2 Cait

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:10 PM

Could you ask the children?

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#3 acarder

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:12 PM

Im having the same problem, no matter what I put in the home corner, the children always revert to playing mummies and daddies after a couple of weeks. How can I inject more into my home corner? At the moment I have set it up as the 3 bears cottage with 3 different sized chairs and beautiful beds that were made for me by one of our parent governors. Ive also got the books in there with puppets to reenact the story with and real pooridge oats and bowls. What else can I do?

#4 Wendles

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:24 PM

can you have a 'home corner' and separate role play area? At the moment we have our usual home corner with lots of babies etc due to lots of siblings being born but also on the carpet we have a half tent and community play things blocks wher ethe chdlren are camping, they have gone to sydney and greece where it was hot but they were alos able to build igloo's (because of our recent snow falls)

#5 xfactorlover

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:29 PM

hi ya the best role play areas that i ahev had are: superhero gym and superhero in general, traditional tales- jack and the beanstalk, castle and 3 bears house, three pigs building site. children love them i normally get my ideas from the children so you should just ask them! x x x

#6 biccy

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:50 PM

Best one recently was a shape pizza palour

#7 mustangsally

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:07 PM

We're doing a picnic area which was inspired by the children as they kept taking all the plates out of the kitchen and setting them up in the book corner to have a picnic! We've got a camoflage net to drape over the top and we are in the process of painting a tree to stick on the wall to give it a forest feel. We have managed to get hold of small picnic hampers with plates etc in for the children and we have a huge roll of imitation grass to lay on top of the mats.

#8 jellytots

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:23 PM

I have had the same problem recently. However, we have found that by introducing more 'props' and resources this has made the children's play far more imaginative and prompted lots of interesting discussions between the children. We have now included a basket full of various glasses for the children to wear, disposable cameras that have been used, little briefcases, waistcoats, diaries, old mobile phones etc etc so it really is more like 'real life' for the children. One little boy actually said 'Im just like daddy going to work and for the rest of the week has worn the same waistcoat into nursery with an old mobile phone!! Daddy has gone to work and so has he!!! It really made us chuckle.

So, it might not be so much as changing your home corner but adapting it, making it more exciting.

Hope that helps!

Jellytots

#9 chumpychop

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:29 PM

:o I like you try to have different role play areas and have tried lots.
We have done the Deep dark wood from the gruffalo - using lots of green material,paper trees on walls,logs and twipgs picked u from local woods,furry hedgehogs,rabbits, frogs,birds etc we also used this to read the stroy to small groups which they loved.
We have also done an argos- good for number recognition picked up pens and tickets from local argos ,laminated bays a-d ,argos books etc.

Baby clinic, doctors,chinese restaurant,post office,beach shop,vets,ice cream parlor,florist( this then got extended byy the children to a wedding as one of the childrens mums worked in one so showed them how to make bouquets.
St Georges day - we made a castle with turrets and covered all plates cupe etc in tin foil and made a fire(not a real one!!) to cook on and made maidens hats, and shields from old cardboard and ye youve guessed it tin foil.

Garden Centre Jungle .

#10 Lorna

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:59 PM

My role play corner before half term was an aeroplane. An old cardboard box... with cardboard wings, dials and controls made by the children. Classroom chairs in rows behind to be the passenger part of the plane. Holidat brouchers to develop ideas and discussion. This was inspired by our topic on transport and the visit of two Captains from different airlines.

Next I will start with a baby clinic as lots of baby play atm and also topic on growing.

L

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#11 Mrsb

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:33 PM

Just before half term thr role play area turned into 'arctic corner' the home corner is just as it sounds!!!!
However, like many it appears from reading the posts, if the childrens interest continues as before we are going to change the role play area into a baby clinic or something along those lines!
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#12 fingertips

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:39 PM

Since being quite ill before Christmas and not being quite myself again until just recently, the last couple of role play areas in my classroom have been a bit of a let down. They've been ones that have been successful in the past but that I haven't been able to put the usual 110% effort into this time!
Children have mostly gone into them and played mummies and daddies with the dolls - which is great, but I'd like to foster a bit more imaginative / complex play next time.

Just wondered what your most successful role play areas inside have been? My teaching assistant suggested a baby clinic, but I'm not overly excited about this one either - I think I need something that's going to really motivate and inspire everyone... including me!



Hi there!

I am a deep admirer of Diane Rich's message (2002) that children explore the world and their place in it by 'storying' in their play and how, by 'catching children's stories' we can tune into their needs, what they want to find out, what worries them and what they are interested in. In this tradition, similarly to Cait who suggested asking them for ideas; I would suggest observing them to see what themes emerge and using those to inform your planning and provision. Learn from what you see and hear. As Rich said "those themes children choose for play and storying may not be those that adults choose" and it is true that our ideas for a stimulating role-play area may not be theirs!

I have taken this approach with my Nursery children for a couple of years now and our role play area has taken on a whole new dimension. It has become known as the 'Whatever you want it to be Place'; in recent weeks it has been a hospital, monster den, Rapunzel's tower and Winnie the Pooh's thinking spot - all from 'catching' ideas from the children as they played. In recognition that their play ideas are highly valued they even offer up ideas "I know, we could ... and we need ..." We write down their plans for play, the resources, the first 'players' and even produce little books with photographs of the stories (or imaginative scenarios) which unfold there. It's worth a try!

Fingertips

#13 HelenP

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:18 PM

On of the children's favourite role play areas has been a garage. A parent donated a child's pushbike that they didn't want any more and the children spent ages trying to take it apart. I brought in lots of my husband's spanners etc and drew round them on a large sheet of paper which we stuck on to a "work bench" so that the children could check they had them all at the end of the session and ordered them according to size. Overalls were essential as bits of the bike were oily. The idea came from the Ginn star science book for the reception class; there were lots of ideas for role play areas in the topic book

Helen

#14 JacquieL

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:33 PM

I think that the most important way forward with role-play is to involve the children. Whether it is a child initiated, or an adult initiated theme, the children should be planning and helping to set it up. I find that if they are fully involved at every stage then their interest is likely to be sustained. They don't necessarily 'go' where we want them to go with it. As with anything else there are times when adults need to play alongside the children, and other times when the children need to be left to develop it for themselves.
"There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals." Aristotle.

#15 chumpychop

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 07:32 PM

Totally agree!.
We had a hairdressers once and spent ages setting up.
Then when the children went into it they turned it into a beauty salon doing waxing!!!!! nails etc. they ended up using old till rolls as wax strips and paint brushes as pretend nail varnish. the children got so much more out of it and so did we by overhearing a conversation about bikini waxing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Even though we try and change ours every week not everything is sucessful. You can spend ages setting up and the children just arn,t interested

#16 lyness2005

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:55 PM

Hi, I also have a role play area and a home corner (and have a small classroom) the children love having the choice of both. My role play at the mo is a quilt on the floor for snow and a pop up igloo tent from ikea, with a box for their shoes beside it. It has been a huge success. I think they like to have a place to 'hide'. The topic we have been doing is bears and they bring their bears into the igloo and read bear stories. Some of the time they pretend to be polar bears and husky dogs also.

#17 heleng

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:21 PM

Our most recent role play has been one of the most successful. The topic was stories people tell so we visited the local theatre and went back stage. The children helped set this up when we came back and it was fantastic. We had a box office and you had to have a ticket to come in, we also had a dressing room, stage, stage managers, lights, monitors, props etc and nearly all the ideas came from the children.

#18 Marion

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:39 AM

Hi there!

As Rich said "those themes children choose for play and storying may not be those that adults choose" and it is true that our ideas for a stimulating role-play area may not be theirs!


Fingertips


I think as adults we get very hung up on it looking authentic but children don't need that they are far better at using their imagination.
We started using prop boxes rather than setting up role play areas and find the children engage much more freely and don't always revert to doctors and nurses and mummy and daddy play. In fact when we set up a doctors surgery they used the bandages to create Egyptian mummies for a "scooby doo" spooky museum.
Next week we have a Secret Agents theme in response to imaginative play before half term ... I'm quite excited
Marion


Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.

#19 emmajess

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 03:12 PM

Next week we have a Secret Agents theme in response to imaginative play before half term ... I'm quite excited


That sounds great Marion - tell us some more about it - and maybe some photos once it's established? I'm thinking about the children's big interests from before half term and thinking about having a general mender's shop - inspired by Helen P's garage idea.

#20 Marion

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 03:45 PM

I'm not setting up a role play area for this just a few props. Dark glasses, old mobile phones, cameras, binoculars and the theme from Mission Impossible. I'm planning "Missions" should you choose to accept them around all curriculum areas and action will take place indoors and outdoors. Oh I found some Invisible Writer pens at WHS which have UV torches to reveal the writing (I think some reluctant writers will be interested)
Marion


Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.

#21 melodiousbrown

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 05:04 PM

We set up a fairytale castle with the children which was really popular with both girls & boys. Lots of storytelling going on and discussions about different characters they were going to be. We are planning on developing it by adding a few more resources after half term. It evolves with the children, through discussion with them and observing. The dolls always end up getting used as part of their pretend play in some way or another; but thats fine with me :o
Melody

#22 Peggy

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:16 PM

Lots of ideas, I too had a home corner (which wasn't actually in a corner :o ) and in addition role play relating to interests observed. We found that children are more engaged if the resources can be as realistic as 'normal life' for example in the home corner the children have real food to (pretend) cook, in the hairdressors salon we had a working hair dryer, from this however a boy folded some paper onto a stick and managed to make a windmill :( could never of planned that ourselves with our adult limited imaginations :( :lol: .

So, two role play areas and lots of realistic resources plus the freedom to let imaginations flow.

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#23 eggwoman

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 08:04 PM

We have an idea of what we may have but then we ask the children what they would like/what they think we need and then we let them make things for the role play. They have recently had a vets and they brought in their soft toy animals, we had bandages, they made the posters.

When we have had a garden centre/flowers shop they have made flowers to sell, made seed packets and counted seeds in the packets (dried rice), we've had a school, bear cave, beach hut, post office, police station, a library (our reading area) and then a lounge (rather than a kitchen), doctors -whether baby clinic, hospital, can't think but the role play book by Neil Griffiths is worth a look some nice ideas and pictures just to give a bit of inspiration

#24 bethie

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 08:44 PM

My best role play area was also a castle. It started off as a "Princess" castle linked into Cinderella, then we/the children adapted it to a "Knights" castle. We then went on to look at George and the Dragon as this is what they were really into. There was loads of role play and fantastic language linked to the stories. The children were all really sad when the castle 'front' collapsed and we decided as a whole class to take it down ready for a new one after half term! They loved the masks I printed off from sparklebox.

I have a number of children who are obsessed with babies and playing mummies and daddies, so if they don't link into the role play I hide them away in the cupboard- I am so mean!!!! They do come and ask me if they can have them out every now and again and I do let them!

#25 queline

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 09:34 PM

There's some brilliant ideas here:). I think, as has been said a lot, if the role play idea comes from the children then it is so much more successful. There's nothing worse then spending ages on an idea (getting really excited about it...) and setting it up for the children to only have mediocre interest in it!
My most successful role play has to be a pet shop, the children got so much out of it developing a favourite pet wall and real old pet artifacts, we even put dog biscuits in for sorting and counting and discussed how to look after animals! The imaginary play was brilliant, 2 of my children became so infatuated they got guinea pigs for Christmas!
Another favourite with the children is playing 'schools' so i made a school role play box which they can access at any time with pretend stickers, certificates, register and school language flash cards. It's literally just a shoe box that i decorated with photos of them playing schools but they LOVE it!

#26 emmajess

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:11 PM

So, I discussed this in great depth with my class, and a castle was most popular. I have visions in my mind of how it will look - but I think they might be a little ambitious! hee hee!

For those of you who have had lovely castle role plays, how did you make the castle? I thought about big sheets of corrugated card, the kind of size that would come on a roll like backing paper, but have no idea where I'd get this from! Any ideas?? Or even photos??

#27 Beau

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:25 PM

So, I discussed this in great depth with my class, and a castle was most popular. I have visions in my mind of how it will look - but I think they might be a little ambitious! hee hee!

For those of you who have had lovely castle role plays, how did you make the castle? I thought about big sheets of corrugated card, the kind of size that would come on a roll like backing paper, but have no idea where I'd get this from! Any ideas?? Or even photos??


We made ours with the climbing frame wrapped with large cardboard sheets. The cardboard came from huge boxes that one of the mums who worked in Tesco's brought in for us. :o The children painted it with large sponges dipped in various shades of grey paint.
Carol

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#28 melodiousbrown

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 04:48 PM

We made our own bricks out of paper to stick on our role play area divider, involved taling about shape & size, cutting skills, patterns. :o
Melody

#29 emmajess

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:40 PM

Have made the castle and added the props - it looks great and I know the children are going to love it! (They helped set most of it up, but I went in today and added some special surprise bits - like a treasure chest full of treasure!)

#30 jeanine

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 05:42 PM

this may or may not be helpful :-)

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