Encourage pretend play with a love of learning and teaching. Children learn through play. But, in playing school, children put what they have learned into practice—teaching what they know to siblings, friends, or imaginary students. Playing school is also a wonderful way for young children to work out first-day-of-school jitters or to help younger siblings not feel left out from the school experience their older brothers and sisters may be excitedly anticipating. Even home schoolers will enjoy the self-learning that occurs during the exchange of teaching, reviewing, and learning that happens between pretend teacher and students—even in play.
School play is pretend play my sisters and I often engaged in. Sometimes, our attentive students of dolls and stuffed animals were collected and arranged in their places in front of our chalkboard and our instructive little lessons. Those lessons were often enriched by our hand-drawn practice sheets and activities.
We were pretending. We were teaching. We were playing. We were learning.
tools of the trade: play-school supplies
Children are adept at making their own teaching materials for pretend play school. Ours assembled their play classrooms with items—like our wood alphabet flip chart and blue-hued easel chalkboard—we discovered at yard sales. Their classroom chairs were pulled in from our kitchen. Here are some other learning materials we have on hand for our at-home classroom play.
small chalkboard We have found many lovely vintage varieties at yard sales—enough that we seem to have begun a collection. Chalkboards are easy secondhand finds. But, you can also easily make your own chalkboard with chalkboard paint painted on a wall or a small board. You will find a simple tutorial to make a chalkboard at A Beautiful Mess.
globe Easily find old globes at yard sales. Ours were out-of-date, but fine for exploring the continents and oceans. You can also make your old globe into a simple, Montessori continent globe, like the ones Living Montessori shares.
magnetic board Make your own magnetic board with a tutorial from Teach Preschool. Children can use their magnetic board with magnetic alphabet tiles.
handwriting paper We found a free dotted-lined handwriting paper printable from Donna Young Printables and Resources.
flashcards Find free alphabet flashcards, number flashcards, animal flashcards, and more free learning flashcards printables from Mr. Printables.
dolls or stuffed animals Children can use their own toys to pretend into students if there are no willing siblings or friends.
books Children can conduct reading story time with their most beloved books.
And, any learning toys they already have or make themselves!
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more playful play-school fun
above back to school bingo from Second Story Window • owl backpack and Lunch bag from skip hop zoo • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten • The Berenstain Bears Go to School ©heather cahoon • wordplayhouse®
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