Change the dramatic play into a theater for a fairy tale theme or reading week! What better way to celebrate reading than acting out some of their favorite books! Plus, students are now retelling books, which develops their book knowledge, book skills, reading comprehension, fluency, and LOVE of reading!
Let me show you my ticks and tips to transform your dramatic play center into a theater! Remember, you can go big with props and resources, or you can always scale it down too. You do you, friend! If you want all the dramatic play printables, labels, signs, hats, and teacher direction pages, grab Fairy Tale Theater Dramatic Play from my TpT store HERE.
Ticket Booth! Now that our world is digital, I made a ticket booth instead of a ticket counter, just like they would use at a real theater. Use the thick poster board from the dollar store so it will stand up on its own. Place the tickets and money in buckets behind the stand. Plus, when they go up to the ticket booth, students “read the pictures” on the sign with their peers and pay!
Tickets and Seat Numbers! You know I am always trying to sneak in math everywhere! I numbered the seats and tickets to expose them to numbers. Now students have to match their ticket number with the seat number!
Now Showing Sign! Make a place for the actors to write their names! Students are now writing their names and/or their friend’s names during play. I like to use dry erase markers so they can write, erase, and write again without using tons of paper.
Prop Storage! Each book had its own cubby for the props to keep them organized. Students stored the floor prop pieces in between the wall and the shelf. When we first opened the theater, I only put out props for ONE book. Then a few days later, I added another book with props for them to act out. I always read the book at circle time, which is always a favorite time of day for my kiddos. We acted it out at circle time too with the props before I put it in the dramatic play center for independent play.
Thee Billy Goats Gruff! I painted poster board to make the grass and the bridge. Each character also had a hat to show what character they were. I had the book out for the narrator to use to retell the book if they wished, or they could act it out without the book. By the end of the theme, they were acting it out by memory and would sometimes change up the ending, which was a fun twist too!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears! This one required a few more props. We had three bowls, three chairs (pieces of foam board), and three beds (pieces of fabric).
Three Little Pigs! This was their favorite to act out! We glued straw (straw house), toothpicks (stick house), and red paper rectangles (brick house) to each poster to create the houses. To make sure they could walk on them, I covered each with thick packing tape because they were to thick to laminate.
Theater Curtain! Make your own theater curtain background using plastic tablecloths from the dollar store. Place two command hooks on either side and string a ribbon across it. Then drape each tablecloth over the ribbon. Now you have a gorgeous (and inexpensive) curtain background and no damage to the wall! You can reuse the tablecloths for something else or save them in your prop box.
Concession Stand! Every theater needs a Concession Stand! It is also the perfect place to sneak in lots of math and fine motor! Add a number line next to the cash register for students to use as a guide as they write receipts and count money. Hang up a menu with prices for students to read and order from. Make an order form for the concession stand worker to fill out! There truly are so many ways to sneak it math; it’s awesome! Concession Stand Props! Add tweezers and scoops for students to use when they prepare the snacks to strengthen those little fingers and hands. Add cups and bottles of different sizes for students to compare and use math vocabulary when they order. For example, a student may say, “Do you want a small or large drink?” Now if you only had one size cups on the shelf, that vocabulary would not have been used! Be intentional when you select what props to use. Paint and reuse small boxes to create a drink machine and popcorn machine. It doesn’t have to be fancy or break the bank. The only “requirement” is that it’s fun for students! Candy Station! Now doesn’t this look yummy? I used a wooden tray I had (these cars came in it) with sections so the candy could be sorted by color. Then I added a scale next to the tray of “candy”. And just like that, students are sorting and measuring during play!
Theater In Action! Look at these students learning and playing at the theater! It makes my teacher heart so happy when they are learning through play!
Self-Regulation and Social Skills! The audience has to WAIT for the show to start, then actually watch it! The actors have to set up the stage and WAIT for the audience to take their seats. The actors have to work together collaboratively with the other actors. They are taking turns talking and using props. And before they start the show, they have to decide what character to be and usually negotiate with their peers so they can be the character they want. Sometimes they will not get to be their first choice character, and that’s ok too. Students are practicing tons of social skills as they play in the theater!
Remember, do so a much as you want, or you can always scale it down too. You do you, friend! You know what your students can handle and what they can’t. Maybe your concession stand is half the size of mine. Or maybe there are just two book options to act out. It will all be amazing and your students will learn through play!
If you want all the dramatic play printables, labels, signs, hats, and teacher direction pages grab Fairy Tale Theater Dramatic Play from my TpT store HERE.
If you need activities and centers for a Fairy Tale theme, check out all my favorites and grab the freebie HERE!
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