Ice cream shop Dramatic play
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Ice Cream Shop Dramatic Play

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Welcome to our blog post on ice cream shop dramatic play!

Dramatic play is an essential part of childhood development. It provides children with opportunities to explore their imaginations, enhance their social skills, and engage in creative role-playing.

In this post, we’ll delve into the exciting world of setting up a simple ice cream shop as a dramatic play activity.

We’ll guide you through the process of creating an inviting ice cream shop setup. This includes offering tips on role-playing and interactions and exploring the learning opportunities embedded within this playful scenario. Whether you’re a parent looking to engage your child in imaginative play at home or an educator seeking to enrich your classroom environment, this blog post will provide you with practical ideas and inspiration.

So, let’s scoop up some fun and dive into the world of ice cream shop dramatic play, where creativity and learning go hand in hand!

Ice cream shop Dramatic play pin

Ice Cream Shop Dramatic Play

Imagine the delight on children’s faces as they step into their very own ice cream parlor, complete with scoops, tempting toppings, and friendly customer interactions. Through this immersive play experience, children can take on various roles such as cashiers, servers, or enthusiastic customers, fostering their language development, problem-solving abilities, and cooperative play skills.

When I suggested making an ice cream shop to Mr 2, I had his attention straight away and there was no question whether it was going to happen. He was ready to play right away. We had made an ice cream shop before and it had been a huge success.

I will show you two ways to make your ice cream shop a thriving business… err… toddler activity.

Pom Pom Ice Cream Shop

What you need to make a pom pom ice cream shop dramatic play activity

How to make your pom pom ice cream shop dramatic play activity

To set up this variation of our ice cream shop play, we used Pom poms to represent the ice cream and we also added a cardboard shop front to our store.

Creating the ice cream shop storefront

Miss 8 took over designing the shop front.

We had a large cardboard box that we opened zip to make a flat piece of cardboard.

I cut a window in the top third of the box, leaving cut out still attached to the box across the bottom to create a little door that could be opened and closed. Miss 8 taped a handle to the flap so it could be easily maneuvered.

I turned in approximately 15cm of the left and right side of the box to act as a support so it could free-stand as our dramatic play shop front. These were secured in place with a bit of tape.

We then made a couple of cuts approximately 5cm deep on the top edge of the shop front. This was to slip an open/closed sign to the top of the shop front per Miss 8’s design.

Once the shop front was assembled, Miss 8 decorated her storefront with paint sticks.

I love using our paint sticks – especially for indoor painting projects. The colour payoff is incredible, they are super creamy and glide on easily, and clean-up is a breeze. The paint sticks also dry super quickly. Once the shop front decorating was completed, by the time we set up the Whatsie, the front was dry and ready for play.

Creating the Whatsie store

We used the bases, trapezium and armrest pieces of our Whatsie play couch and arch add-on to create our store.

This is just one way of using our modular play couch – the possibilities are truly endless. From play couch to obstacle course, to cubby to ice cream shop. Imagination holds the limits to a Whatsie’s capabilities.

We positioned one connected base piece positioned vertically at a 90° angle to create a side and rear wall of the ice cream shop.

The second base piece was positioned with one side across the top forming the roof and the other forming the other side of the shop.

The arch add-on was used as the pedestal for the table, with the armrests across the top to make a tabletop.

The trapezium backrests served as two chairs on either side of the Whatsie table.

The cardboard shop front was positioned across the front of the Whatsie shop.

Whatsie Play Couch Review pin

Ice Cream Shop Imaginative Play

All three children, Mr 2, Miss 5, and Miss 8, loved this imaginative play setup.

I added the pom poms and tiles while the two older ones were at school, so Mr 2 had free range on the play.

He loved picking up the pom poms and posting them into the magnetic tile bowls and cones.

He experimented with different size pom poms, sorted by colours, and loved the social interactions that came organically with the play.

When the girls got home from school, they jumped right into character.

I love sitting back and watching how they interact when they take on the roles of others. It’s so interesting to discover what they view as attributes of certain roles and then mimic these in their own way.

Role play is such a magical way of understanding your child’s perception of events or situations.

Scrunched Paper Ice Cream Shop

Whatsie ice cream shop

What you need to make a scrunched paper ice cream shop dramatic play activity

Scrunched paper ice cream shop

How to make your scrunched paper ice cream shop dramatic play activity

Building the shop

The first step is to create your Whatsie shop. We used the new and updated design Whatsie to create our shop. Again like the pom pom ice cream shop build, we used the two bases to create the walls and roof of our ice cream shop.

Then, one half trapezium backrest piece was used across the front of the shop to create the counter. I love the flat tops of these pieces for play exactly like this!

Preparing the cones

We made cones in two ways: paper plate cones and magnetic tile cones.

This is proof that kids don’t judge your artistic abilities. The paper plate cones certainly did not turn out as they were pictured in my head however Mr 2 initially favoured these over the brightly coloured magnetic tile cones.

To make the paper plate cones, simply use scissors to cut the plate in half. Twist the flat edge over itself to create the cone shape and secure it in place with a strip of tape. Then use the marker to create some waffle cone markings. In hindsight, I should have done this step first. That being said, Mr 2 loved them all the same.

To create the magnetic tile cones, use three of the longer isosceles triangles to create a cone shape by placing the longer lengths together, tips touching. We then made cone holders in matching colours using the Connetix squares with a Learn & Grow ball run square on the top to support the cone.

Assembling the ice cream shop servery

This is where the real fun begins!

Scrunch up the paper into balls to create your scoops of ice cream. I tore the pieces of paper into two, so to get two scoops from one page. As we scrunched up the paper scoops of ice cream we spoke about what flavour the colour would represent.

  • Red: Raspberry
  • Pink: Strawberry
  • Green: Mint
  • Yellow: Banana
  • Orange: Mango
  • Brown: Chocolate (Mr 2 was not accepting of my suggestion of coffee flavour in spite of my efforts to convince him)
  • Blue: Blueberry

Once all the ice cream scoops were assembled, they were put into a plastic container. Mr 2 was thrilled to see the ice cream scoop from the ‘Mummy’s kitchen’ ready for play.

Magnetic tile ice cream cone

Ice Cream Shop Imaginative Play

Using one of Mum’s kitchen tools was the highlight of this activity for Mr 2. He proudly scooped the paper balls into the cones with care and precision. Once he developed the knack, I was being served cones with multiple scoops, one after the other. It’s safe to say, there was plenty of ice cream passing the pass that day.

He loved me asking what the flavours were that he selected, then loved equally correcting me when I tried to guess some. Toddler life much anyone?

He got right into character even taking a moment to run into his bedroom to get his knit gloves to keep his hands warm while handling the ‘cold’ ice cream.

Five days later these paper ice cream balls are still in play. They have been repurposed in play as boulders with Mr 2’s construction trucks, then they have also been used as rubbish in this rubbish truck play. As I type, they are currently on his flisat table in his toy kitchen after being used as pretend food.

This is the beauty of open-ended play with open-ended ‘loose parts‘ and inspiring imaginative play.

What is dramatic play?

Dramatic play, also known as pretend play or imaginative play, is a form of play where children engage in role-playing and create imaginary scenarios.

It involves using their imagination to take on different roles, act out scenes, and interact with others in a make-believe world.

This type of play allows children to explore and make sense of the world around them, as well as develop various cognitive, social, emotional, and language skills.

During dramatic play, children often use props, costumes, and other objects to enhance their play experience and make it more realistic.

They might create pretend scenarios such as playing house, pretending to be doctors, firefighters, or chefs, or acting out everyday situations like going to the grocery store or taking care of a baby doll.

Through these imaginary situations, children can imitate and make sense of the actions and behaviors they observe in real life, experiment with different roles and relationships, and develop important skills.

scooping and transferring ice cream shop dramatic play

What are the benefits of dramatic play?

Dramatic play offers numerous benefits for children’s development.

It fosters creativity and imagination, as children invent their own stories, dialogue, and problem-solving solutions.

It also helps them develop social skills like cooperation, sharing, and taking turns, as they engage in pretend play with others.

Additionally, dramatic play provides opportunities for language development, as children communicate, negotiate, and express themselves through dialogue and storytelling.

Whether it takes place at home, in early childhood settings, or in organized play spaces, dramatic play is an integral part of a child’s development. It allows them to explore, experiment, and make sense of the world around them in a fun and engaging way.

ice cream shop imaginative play

Learning opportunities while playing exploring ice cream shop dramatic play

Ice cream shop dramatic play not only sparks children’s imagination and social skills but also presents valuable educational opportunities. Here are some ways to incorporate learning into the ice cream shop scenario:

Math Skills:

  1. Counting and Sorting: Encourage children to count the number of scoops, cones, or toppings. They can also sort the toppings by colour, shape, or type.
  2. Money and Currency: Introduce basic concepts of money by using play money during transactions. Children can practice counting money, making change, and understanding the value of different coins.
  3. Measurement: Introduce measurement concepts by discussing the size of scoops or the amount of toppings. Encourage children to compare and discuss measurements, such as “Which scoop is bigger?” or “How many toppings fit on a cone?”

Literacy Development:

  1. Menu Creation: Provide materials for children to create menus for their ice cream shop. This activity promotes writing and reading skills as they label and describe flavors, toppings, and prices.
  2. Order Taking: Encourage children to take orders from customers. This helps them practice listening skills, following instructions, and writing or drawing the orders accurately.
  3. Storytelling: Encourage children to create stories around their ice cream shop. They can invent narratives, share them with others, and even write or draw their stories.

Science and Sensory Exploration:

  1. Freezing and Melting: Discuss the science behind freezing and melting as children observe ice cream changing its state. Talk about the ingredients used in ice cream and the role of temperature.
  2. Sensory Play: Engage children in sensory exploration by providing opportunities to touch, smell, and taste different flavors and textures of ice cream and toppings. Discuss the sensory experiences and encourage descriptive language.

Social and Emotional Skills:

  1. Role-Playing: Role-playing in an ice cream shop setting promotes empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving. Encourage children to take turns playing different roles and discuss how they can support and assist one another.
  2. Communication: Encourage children to engage in dialogue with customers, take their orders, and practice active listening. This enhances their communication skills, turn-taking, and the ability to express themselves effectively.

By incorporating these educational aspects into ice cream shop dramatic play, children can engage in meaningful learning experiences while having a blast. It’s a delightful way to blend playfulness and educational opportunities seamlessly.

Ice Cream Shop Dramatic Play Toys

June Moon Felt Ice cream
Tender Leaf Wooden Ice Cream Scoops & Smiles
Tender Leaf Push Along Ice Cream Cart
Moover Mini Car Set Ice Cream
Wooden Ice Cream Stacker
Learning Resources Number Pops

Scenarios to inspire dramatic play

Here are some examples of dialogue and scenarios to encourage imaginative play in an ice cream shop:

Dialogue between a Customer and a Server:

Customer: “Hello! I’d like two scoops of chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone, please.”

Server: “Sure thing! Would you like any toppings on your ice cream?”

Customer: “Yes, please. Can I have some sprinkles and whipped cream on top?”

Server: “Absolutely! Here’s your delicious chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and whipped cream. Enjoy!”

Scenario: Ice Cream Shop Specials

Create a scenario where the ice cream shop has daily specials. Encourage children to come up with unique flavours and toppings combinations for each special.

Cashier: “Welcome to our ice cream shop! Today’s special is ‘Tropical Delight.’ It’s a combination of coconut ice cream, pineapple chunks, and a drizzle of mango sauce. Would you like to try it?”

Customer: “That sounds amazing! I’ll definitely have a scoop of ‘Tropical Delight’.”

Dialogue between Customers

Customer 1: “Hmm, I can’t decide which flavour to choose. What’s your favorite?”

Customer 2: “I love the strawberry flavour! It’s so refreshing and sweet. You should try it.”

Customer 1: “Okay, I’ll go with the strawberry then. Thanks for the recommendation!”

Scenario: Ice Cream Shop Challenges

Introduce challenges to add excitement and problem-solving opportunities to the play.

For example, challenge the servers to create a new flavour using specific ingredients or ask the customers to guess the secret ingredient in a special flavor.

Server: “Attention, servers! We have a challenge today. You need to create a new flavour using bananas and chocolate chips. Get creative!”

Customer: “I love challenges! I’ll try the mystery flavour and guess the secret ingredient. Can’t wait!”

These dialogue examples and scenarios can spark children’s imaginations, encourage communication and decision-making, and add a layer of excitement to the ice cream shop dramatic play experience.

Feel free to adapt and modify them to suit the age and interests of your children participating in the play.

Paper plate ice cream cone

Ice Cream Shop Imaginative Play

Ice cream shop dramatic play offers a delightful and educational experience for children.

By setting up an ice cream shop and engaging in imaginative play, children can develop a range of skills while having a blast. From fostering creativity and imagination to promoting social interactions and language development, this play scenario provides numerous benefits for children’s overall development.

Through the incorporation of math skills, children can practice counting, and sorting, and even learn about money and measurement.

Literacy development is nurtured as children create menus, take orders, and engage in storytelling.

Science concepts and sensory exploration come to life as they observe the freezing and melting of ice cream and explore different flavors and textures.

Ice cream shop dramatic play cultivates essential social and emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and effective communication.

scrunched paper ice cream

By encouraging dialogue and creating engaging scenarios, children can fully immerse themselves in the ice cream shop play.

Whether they are taking on the role of a customer, server, or cashier, they develop problem-solving abilities, and decision-making skills, and learn to work collaboratively with others.

The joy of play is amplified when combined with these valuable learning opportunities.

So, go ahead and create your own ice cream shop dramatic play experience!

Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or educator, this imaginative play activity will not only captivate children’s attention but also provide them with a rich and meaningful learning experience.

Let their imaginations run wild as they scoop up creativity, communication, and collaboration in their very own ice cream shop.

Remember, the magic of dramatic play lies in its ability to make learning fun, engaging, and memorable.

So, let’s indulge in the world of ice cream shop dramatic play, where children can explore, learn, and savor every moment of their playtime adventure!

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