Dramatic play encourages infants and young children to play freely while exploring different roles. Many dramatic play activities work well for infants despite their limited mobility and body control. The dramatic play activities may actually help infants improve gross and fine motor skills by interacting with age-appropriate props and toys. Choose props that are safe for the specific age group, avoiding small pieces and sharp corners.
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Puppets fit under the dramatic play category, offering a soft, safe option for infants to explore. Put on a puppet show for the infants to demonstrate how they work. Let the infants explore with the puppets by placing them on their hands or fingers, depending on the style of puppet. Libraries sometimes offer puppets to borrow, or you can purchase puppets to build up your own collection gradually.
Soft, lightweight dolls work well for a variety of dramatic play activities. Infants often enjoy holding dolls. Provide baby props, such as toy bottles, strollers. Baby beds offer more interaction options. Demonstrate how to use the various baby props with the dolls before letting the young children experiment themselves. A walking infant may enjoy pushing a doll in a stroller, but you must supervise him closely so the stroller doesn't tip.
Dress-up clothes are a staple in most dramatic play areas. Basic clothing and accessory items, such as hats, empty wallets, purses, toy keys and mittens, let the infants explore every day items while learning to wear them. Avoid hats and other clothing items with beads, sequins and other small pieces that could pop off. Store the clothing in a box or bag to keep them clean and together.
Toy food sets are a common favorite for kids of all ages. A basic play kitchen creates the base of this dramatic play area, but play food without a kitchen is still enjoyable for infants. Choose large plastic or felt food without small pieces that could pop off into your baby's mouth. Provide toy pots, pans, plates and shopping carts for additional play options.
For infants just learning about the world, props from the home create a fitting dramatic play option. Toy telephones, toy lawnmowers, calculators and other household items fit this dramatic play theme idea. Toy versions of household items are usually the safest option. Actual telephones, calculators and other items are a possibility--if there are no sharp parts, buttons that could pop off, or other potential dangers.