DIY Dramatic Play Theatre

Dimples loves to dress up, he has an insanely large collection of dress ups for a 4 year old. Over the years I have collected any dress up outfit, pretend play props and funny looking piece of clothing I have come across into a toy box and it got to the point that we were hardly getting them out because there was just too much. So I decided to designate an area for the dress ups and make a play area to encourage Dimples to role play and make use of his collection. Here is the DIY Theatre I made in our lounge room. 

It was so easy, and its the lazy Mums DIY play space. I do have a sewing machine but I had 5 minutes to spare so I grabbed a red sheet, cut it down the middle and laid it across the floor then I put a string across the middle of both 'curtains' and doubled them over so that the string remained in what was now the top. I grabbed a stapler and stapled it about an inch from the edge (making sure the string wasn't in the way and was in the top side. Ok so its not ideal and you may want to sew it but it was easy and any one can do it.
I put a small hook on the wall which is opposite a baluster railing at the top of a stair case, I then tied the strong with the curtains hung from the railing across to the hook, making sure that they open and closed.

You could do it from wall to wall or across a corner of a room I guess, or if you had one of those portable clothing rails that could work. All Dimples dress ups were put in a couple of toy boxes behind the curtains and he started to do performances. Mission Complete.

Its pretty funny!
He is quite the drama King. He starts his performance with the curtain shut and counts down, then he claps three times before he rips the curtains open and springs out into action. He does high energy dances, sings and jumps around the place, he does comedy performances as a clown and falls down over and over and over laughing at him self. He always remembers to do a bow when he is finished.

Dimples tells jokes and because the height of the curtains is head height the DIY theatre also doubles as a Puppet show. He ducks down and uses props to put on a puppet show with his stuffed animals.
Its great for Family Fun. Miss Cherub sits and watches his performances excitedly and on the weekend we had a screen free day where myself, Adventures Dad and Dimples had to take turns doing performances. We spent the afternoon laughing at each other and being silly together.

Dimples has utilized all the dress up gear more in the past two weeks than he has in the past two years.
He has a Monsters Inc suit which is a favourite and a Monsters inc toy that he was talking for as if he was a ventriloquist.  He has developed quite a laugh, he always cracks me up.

Learning Concepts:
Pretend Play
Imagination & Creativity
Role Play
Being Active
Imitating people, things and animals
Developing a sense of humor
Confidence in self

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Happy Adventures :)

Sensory Material Surprise - Baby Play in a Box

Baby Play is so much fun, when baby first starts playing it becomes apparent just how much they're learning through play. My minds going crazy with play ideas.
This little baby activity introduces  sensory learning by providing textures and different feeling materials that are visually appealing, while cognitively developing a babies understanding of objects and object permanence.

Babies learn through their senses so a great way to introduce a baby to play is through different textured materials. First, gather a bunch of material swatches trying to get different feeling materials, look for different materials, different textures, things that you just want to touch that are visually appealing as well. You can then "hide" them folded or rolled up into a box; I have used an ice-cream container with a hole in the lid and a stocking over it so that Miss Cherub can see through into the hole and stretch it to fit her hands in. You could easily use an empty tissue box.

Once all the materials are in the box leave a little corner poking out so they can see there is something to grab out. With no assistance Miss Cherub pulled the materials out one by one, she looked at them, flapped them around felt them and then tried to put them over her head and rub her cheeks on them, then they got thrown to the side as she put her hand in to see if there was more.

As she continued I put the materials in and out of the box so she could see them go in, or see a small end hanging out. This encouraged her to keep seeking out the materials whether she could see them or not.
Between the ages of 4-8 months babies develop what is known as the secondary circular reactions stage of object permanence; this begins by exploring objects, reaching and grasping objects and understanding that it is a real thing that can be handled, they learn distance and that objects right in front of them can in fact be touched, they learn that the object moves and start to reach for objects that were in a position or can partially be seen, then they learn the permanence of an object (that the object exists inside the box, whether they can see or hear it or not).

A great example of this is the game peek-a-boo and a great way to encourage this skill is activities like this.
I had some cool materials; fluffy pieces, leather, pvc, felt, shiny materials, sequined material, bright stripped materials, a New scourer dish cloth, lace, knitted wool daisies, a clean glass cloth, a small piece of outdoor course carpet, a small square of outdoor fake grass and her ribbon tickle toy.  Use your imagination & go on a texture hunt; If you have an older child get them to seek out funky materials & textures to fit in the container. 

Learning Concepts:
Learning by Touch
Exploring textures
Visual discrimination
Object permanence
Pulling, Pushing, Passing materials
Seeking out hiding materials

Ideas to extend:
Make a DIY Ribbon Tickle toy
Use a really large box with scarfs and other large materials
Tie or stitch materials together so they just keep coming out in one trail
Finish by making them into a texture book to keep

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Happy Adventures 


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