101 Ideas for Dramatic Play

As this unprecedented school year draws to a close, I created this resource to keep my class inspired to have fun playing over the Summer. I hope you can find some inspiration for your dramatic play adventures.

  • 1 . Bakery – you could make salt dough cakes and cookies, use playdough or make a mud bakery outside.  Accessories could include aprons, baking trays, mixing bowls, order forms, boxes to pack the goods in.
  • 2. Restaurant – Choose any kind of restaurant to reflect your culture or introduce new ideas. My kids favorite thing to do when playing restaurants was to be a food critic.  They would have a clipboard and rate each part of the meal.
  • 3. Home – the simplest of all dramatic play as they take on the roles of the things they see in your home.
The home corner is organised so everything has its place. The plates and cups are stored in colour groups and the pans in size order. The environment is organised, inviting and promotes interaction
  • 4. Laundry – you could make a washer from a box, add laundry baskets, wash clothes by hand and hang them out to dry. Also include sorting and pairing.
  • 5. Clothes shop – the children could choose which kinds if clothes they want to sell. Make tags for the clothes, the children could read how much they cost.
  • 6. Building site – indoors with blocks or outdoors with sand and mad, you could add vehicles if you have wheelbarrows, cars, carts or wagons
  • 7. Vet – with soft animals and a doctors set.
  • 8. Hospital – you could add bandages (crepe paper rolls also work), add a receptionist to book appointments over the phone.
  • 9. Hair salon – create fancy styles on dolls or make a cardboard head with paper hair that you can cut.
  • 10. Post office – collect envelopes, stamps, boxes for wrapping, cards – practice writing letters, post them in a mailbox, weigh parcels, which is heaviest, send the mailman to deliver the letters.
  • 11. Market stall – choose any kind of market stall, fruit, vegetables, crafts.
  • 12. Flower shop – provide fake flowers, ribbon , pots to put flowers in – someone can take orders while another delivers.
Delivery for you


  • 13. Workshop – this could be a workshop of your choice, wood with small tools or appliance with small appliances to take apart
  • 14. Café/coffee shop – similar to the restaurant but with a stronger focus on drinks.


  • 15. Book shop – the children could also make books for the shop.
  • 16. Camping – build a tent with sheets, make a pretend campfire and pretend to roast marshmallows on a stick.
  • 17. Train – use a cardboard box or chairs to make the carriages.
  • 18. Airplane – as with the train, add a flight attendant to serve.
  • 19. School bus – as with the train.
  • 20. Vacation – pack your suitcase, get your tickets and head off on a vacation of your choice.
  • 21. Pirate ship – you could build a ship with a box or just pretend.  Make a treasure map and search for buried treasure.       
  • 22. Castle – this could be a castle for kings and queens or for knights defending themselves from attack.
  • 23. Explorer ship – Explore the ocean waves with a telescope, compass and map – what will you find?
  • 24. Garden centre – buy seeds and plants, what will you grow?
  • 25. Eye doctor – make a chart to get your eyes tested.  Try on different kind of glasses. You could make some of your own.
  • 26. Looking after baby – babies need lots of looking after – diaper change, feeding, putting to bed, dressing them, cuddling them and singing them songs.
  • 27. School – what will you have in your school? What kind of work will you do? Maybe you could have a pe class, recess, lunch and circle time.
  • 28. Time machine – this was my all time favorite at nursery. During millennium year we build a time machine in our wooden hollow cube. Each day we travelled to a different decade – our adventures included a Victorian schoolroom, a 70’s disco and a street party for the Queen’s coronation.
  • 29. Space ship – take a journey to space – what will it look like in space? What will you need for your journey?
  • 30. Pizza takeaway – make toppings for the pizza from felt or paper, you could even make your own pizzas – don’t forget to deliver.
  • 31. Movie theatre – grab some popcorn and watch your favourite movie but first make some tickets and have someone show you to your seat.
  • 32. Theatre – what kind of theatre is your choice, make tickets and a program, make posters . Do you want to be on the stage or watch? Dress up in your favorite costume – you could even paint your face.
  • 33. Puppet show – just like the theatre bit this time with puppets. If your too shy to make up a story, put some music on and have the puppets sing along.

  • 34. Airport – what do you do at the airport? You need to check your luggage, hand your tickets and passport, go through security and maybe shop before you board the plane.
  • 35. Ice cream shop – make ice cream with playdough and cardboard cones.
  • 36. Shoe shop – can you pair the shoes? Put them in boxes to sell.
  • 37. Traffic patrol – use chalk to make a road, include stop signs and zebra crossings. Someone can guide the traffic or give the cars a ticket if they park in the wrong place.
  • 38. Fire fighters – use water guns and pretend to put out fires.
  • 39.. Tea party/birthday party – indoors or outdoors – what will you have at your party?
  • 40. Street party – similar to a birthday party but with more people. Decorate with bunting, play games, eat treats and dance together.
  • 41. Barbecue – make a grill with a box – pretend to cook and share what you have made.
  • 412 Grocery store – collect empty boxes and containers and build a shop. Don’t forget your list.
  • 43. Witches and wizard potions – you can make a real potion outside or pretend and make up spells around the cauldron.


  • 44. Acting out a familiar story – choose a favorite fairy tale or book and re-enact the story.
  • 45. Den building – indoors or outdoors
  • 46. Train station – buy your tickets, stop for a snack and check the timetable – perhaps you could make the announcements.
  • 47. Dentist – check your family’s teeth or use a puppet with an opening mouth.
  • 48. Car wash – Use a hose or build a car wash.
  • 49. Gas station – make a pump form a cardboard box or use a hose to refill – don’t forget to pay!
  • 50. Beauty salon – you could beautify dolls or practice painting nails, painting faces or even painting body tattoos.
  • 51. Picnic -grab a blanket and a tea set and have a picnic with your toys.
  • 512 Tourist information – collect some brochures or make some of your own.
  • 53. Pet shop – use stuffed animals – what do you need to buy for them?
  • 54. Farm – play outside, ride a tractor, collect eggs in a basket, milk a cow or ride a horse.
  • 55. Olympics – which are your favorite events – compete with friends and family.
staging an Olympic medal ceremony


  • 56. Winter Olympics – you don’t need snow and ice – check the link for ideas.
ski jumping


  • 57. Life guard – watch out for your toys swimming in the lake – did you have to save anyone?
  • 58. Music shop/band – grab your instruments and make a music shop or use them to make a band. Will you have a marching band, an orchestra or a rock band? You could also make your own instruments with materials around the house.
  • 59. Detectives/spies – can you solve a mystery, use a magnifier and look for clues, maybe someone could make you clues or a code to crack.
  • 60.. Weddings – dress up for a wedding – what does a wedding in your culture look like? What will you need to celebrate?
  • 61. Cultural events – choose your own cultural event.
  • 62. Parade/carnival – decorate your bike or other wheeled toys to create a carnival or dress in a fancy costume.
  • 63. Doctor surgery – You’ll need a patient a doctor and a receptionist to take the appointments.
  • 64. Superheroes – play at being your favorite super hero.  Do they have something special you could make?
  • 65. House painting and decorating – grab a bucket of water and pretend to decorate the walls of your house.
outdoor play
I’m Painting the wall
  • 66. Seamstress/tailor – you could learn to make some simple stitches or pretend to make some clothes. Don’t forget to measure your customer.
  • 67. Car mechanic – fix your toy cars with tools, you could use old tires and change a wheel.
  • 68. Office – print out a computer keyboard and put it on your desk, answer the phone, make notes and sort through your papers.
  • 69. Library – similar to the bookshop but this time you check out books instead of paying.
  • 70. Photography Studio – use a real camera or toy one
  • 71. Car park  – mark out parking spaces, do you need a barrier, have a parking attendant collect money and hand out tickets.
  • 72. Recycling centre – sort recycled materials into bins and containers – you could use some of the materials to make things.
  • 73. Pet grooming salon – wash, brush and comb your toy animals.
  • 74. Beach – put on your goggles and water wings and go for a swim, lay or towel and sit in the sun – don’t forget sunscreen.
  • 75. Realter/estate agent – show people around your house, fill out paperwork and answer the phone.
  • 76. Costume shop –  choose your favourite costumes, help customers find the pieces they need – you could make costumes too.
  • 77. Ball or disco – dress up and go to Cinderellas ball or dance at a disco , all you need is some music.
  • 78. Shoe repair shop – use a small hammer and fix your shoes. You could play the elves and the shoemaker.
  • 79. House move – use a wagon and load up like a removal truck – you could build 2 dens and move between them.


  • 80. Gardener – grab your tools, pretend to cut grass, plant flowers,water and prune.


  • 81. Hotel – check in at the desk, show people to their room and provide room service.
  • 82. Museum – what kind of things could be in your museum? Do you need signs?
  • 83. . Zoo – you could be a zoo animal or use your soft toys. Do you want to be a visitor or a zookeeper.
  • 84. . Toy shop – set up a shop with your favorite toys.  Make price tags. What will you use for money?
  • 85. . Circus – try your best gymnastics, be a clown and make everyone laugh or lead the ring.
  • 86.. Wimbledon – if you are a tennis fan, make a net and hit the ball over, you can be a spectator and eat strawberries and cream.
  • 87. Fishing boat – make a boat and a fishing rod and see what you can catch
  • 88. Face and body painting – use face paints and try out different designs.
  • 89. The 3 bears cottage – you will need a big, small and medium bowl for the porridge.  Will you be goldilocks or a bear?
  • 90. House cleaning – a spray bottle with water, a cloth, small broom or duster and you can clean the house.
  • 91. Fish and chip shop – make cardboard fish and paper chips and serve then wrapped in paper.  Don’t forget to offer salt and vinegar.
  • 92. jack’s beanstalk and giant’s castle – if you are the giant make everything around you small (small bricks to build a town, toy cars etc) if you are Jack pretend everything you have is huge – a ball could be a pea, bucket a cup etc.
  • 93. Lemonade stand – pour a jug of water, make a sign and take money. How much will your lemonade cost?
  • 94. Art gallery – Make some beautiful art and hang it for all to admire, make signs to explain your art.
  • 95. Driving school – make a cardboard box car and pretend you are learning to drive.
loose parts
Making cars from cardboard boxes
  • 95. Explorers – you need a compass, a map, a backpack and go on an expedition.
  • 96. Orchard – You could make a paper tree and add ballons or paper balls for apples. How many will you pick? Maybe you could make something with real apples.
  • 97. Pumpkin patch – make paper pumpkins or make some from paper mache.  Orange balloons would work too.
  • 98. Ice rink –  pretend to go skating on the ice, keep your balance.
  • 99. Act out your favorite movie or tv program – use any of your choice.
  • 100. Fashion show – make your own clothes from sheets of material or recycled materials.
  • 101..Ask the children – they always come up with ideas we couldn’t even imagine.

Additional ideas and images can be found on my Pinterest Dramatic Play Board.

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