Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas Spirit

Children Using the New Role Play Area

It’s weird, you spend all this time making a role play area for the kids to use. You get the children to help you paint it and construct it, and you fill it with lovely laminated things.

And then you get quite protective of the whole thing and don’t want the children to play in it!

But I managed to stop myself from fussing over the role play area and the kids actually had some fun!

They were dressing up and pretending to be Santa, delivering presents and constructing toys in construction area! Everyone was on task! There were even two children who appointed themselves in charge of the post office!

All in all a successful role play area!

Here’s how I did it!

Different Areas

I’m not sure of the dimensions of my role play area but I am fortunate that it is a substantial size. I have devoted quite a bit of my classroom to it as it’s important to develop children’s imaginative play – especially in the era of computer games – while at the same time developing their language skills.

There are six main areas in my Christmas role play area:

  • The entrance
  • The dressing up box
  • Christmas Post Office
  • Santa’s Office
  • Wrapping presents tough spot
  • Construction of toys

The Entrance

We were fortunate to have some new equipment at school so we had a lot of large cardboard boxes available. All good Early Years teachers know that a large cardboard box is worth it’s weight in gold!

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My teaching assistant (who is amazing!) cut a door out of the cardboard and then the children worked together to paint the whole thing red. We have some very large lego bricks which my TA painted brown and used those bricks to create a brick pattern on the wall.

The Dressing Up Box

This is a permanent feature of my little role play area. Children are always encouraged to dress up in the costumes, not needing much encouragement. Learning to dress oneself is an important skill in the Early Years as it uses lots of different motor skills.

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I filled the role play area with Christmas related clothes. I have Santa and Mrs Claus clothes, angel outfits, three wise men outfits and red and green jumpers.

i told the children they’re only allowed in the role play area if they’re wearing a costume as this meant that I was able to keep the numbers down.

Post Office Table

I used some large old boxes to make post boxes and faced them out to the room as if the children were in the post office.

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I’ve left a basket of letter templates and some cheap Santa letters I bought off the internet to encourage writing, with some natural pencils I bought from Evolution. I included some envelopes with glue and stamps.

I put in some old telephones to encourage speaking and listening skills. And an old notepad.

Santa’s Office

This one isn’t quite finished at the time of taking this photo. I wanted to put Santa’s IN tray and OUT tray on the boxes but forgot to pick them up from the printer.

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Santa’s office has letters to the children, toy design templates and naughty or nice lists in the trays. It also has a small Christmas tree and a word bank on the wall.

Wrapping Presents

Wrapping presents uses a huge amount of fine motor skill, children need to co-ordinate paper, gift and selotape which is very difficult for the little ones.

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Missing from this photo is the wrapping paper which I have now cut into small squares and will be leaving in the tough spot. The children actually enjoyed giving gifts (as long as I gave them back again) and were using the writing frames as wrapping paper. I think they’ll get really excited about the role play area.

Construction Toys

As we all know, Father Christmas makes the children’s toys in his workshop so no Santa’s workshop would be complete without a toy construction area!

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Another well known fact is that it is the elves who make the toys. I explained to children that they must wear the elf ears to take part in the construction role play. This also helps to limit the numbers as well as their role play.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your role play areas!

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