Play to Learn Preschool · Jun 18, 2015

Ice Cream Parlor

We love dramatic play so much that our very first blog post, almost 2 years ago was about our Ice Cream Parlor! It's one that we do every year because the kids love it, and there is so much learning that takes place while they play.
In the past, I have always made scented play dough for the kids to scoop and serve at this center. We made chocolate and mint and lemon. Yum! I loved that the texture of the dough allowed the kids to really scoop it and strengthen their little muscles. This year, though, I had a student with a gluten allergy. So, dough was not an option. Instead we used large colored pom poms.
I was expecting to hate them and long for the dough, but guess what? They were great. Really! I loved how easy they were to clean up, and how the balls made it easy for the students to count the scoops. They were perfect, and I think that we will use them every year.
All of our dramatic play centers have a few things in common. First, we use name tags. These are so important! I've tried putting the center out without them, and we always have arguments and confusion. The tags help the students choose a role and act it out.
The final key to success with dramatic play is labels. When our supplies are labeled (and the spot where they belong is labeled!) then the whole center works well. When we don't take the time to label the supplies, it's chaos. (I've tried it when we're pinched for time and then I regret it immediately and put up the labels. Don't be like me. Just go ahead and label the supplies!)
Another thing that they all have in common is a writing element. We try to sneak in as much literacy as we can! At the ice cream parlor, the students can write down their orders. They circle the number of scoops, and then color the scoop to indicate their flavor choice.
The scooper's job is to fill the order and make the sundaes!
We used small red pom poms for the cherries and salt shakers full of colored rice for the sprinkles.
Our preschoolers have a serious infatuation with the vacuum. I added this "Janitor" job and it was more popular than the "Scooper." Really.
So, what type of ice cream would you like? Have fun playing and learning with your children today!

All of these Ice Cream Parlor labels, jobs, signs and order forms are available for you to download HERE:

Follow this Dramatic Play board for tons of great ideas: Follow Play to Learn Preschool's board Dramatic Play Preschool on Pinterest.
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