Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: DRAMATIC PLAY


  • newsprint painting paper
  • paint
  • paintbrushes
  • masking tape

Objective: Children will use imagination and language skills as they engage in fanciful play.

To Prepare: Prepare painting area with watercolors or tempera paints diluted with water.

Warm-Up: Share a story with children in which something magical happens. Talk about what happens in the story. Then invite children to share their ideas about objects they wish were magical, magical events they can imagine, and what they might wish for or what they would like to happen if they had a magic pebble, wand, pair of boots, or other item.


1 Invite children to decorate a large sheet of newsprint with anv colors and designs they would like. Demonstrate how - after they've had a chance to paint the paper, and everything is dry you'll roll up their work to create a magic wand.

2 After everyone has had a chance to paint, and the paintings have dried, help each child roll up the paper into a thin tube. Tape the tube all along the edge to secure it. Then, if children desire, cut a fringe at one end to create a magic bauble.

3 Ask children to sit in a circle, holding their magic wands un so no one gets bumped. Invent a few chants and singsongs to say as everyone waves the wands. What are some pretend things they can make happen? Suggest ideas, such as everyone in the group turns into cute, cuddly kittens or it begins to snow inside the room! After each wave of the wands, encourage those who would like to act out the pretend magic happenings.

4 Take time to talk about "wand safety"; then, invite children to incorporate their wands into their own story ideas in the dramatic-play area.

Remember: Help children incorporate wand waving into dramatization by asking open-ended questions and offering suggestions about the pretend consequences they are inventing: "If we all became kittens, how would we act? What noises would we make?"

Tip: Remind children to be gentle when using wands to tap objects or other children.


  • Invite children to make up magical stories using puppets to act them out.
  • Try using a magic wand yourself, and present pretend situations that children can try responding to by acting them out.

This activity originally appeared in the January, 1999 issue of Early Childhood Today.