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Old 06-17-2011, 12:30 PM
JenK26 JenK26 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 59
Preschool Teacher
Travel/ Going on Vacation theme

Hi fellow preschool teachers,
Next week's theme is going on vacation. I am struggling to come up with some centers. Does anyone have some suggestions? I"d appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:09 PM
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WaProvider WaProvider is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,789
Early Childhood Teacher
I am wondering how to revamp the dramatic play area. These children, while middle class, have had no experience with planes, trains, travel agency and anything. They know a bus drives you through the city, and takes you to the library....but that is it!

I would imagine there would need to be some car painting in your theme, and cars in playdough. Eating snack either out of a lunch box or out of a paper bag outside....on a picnic.....
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:39 PM
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SamIAm SamIAm is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 211
Why don't you set up dramatic play with a beachy/ Hawaiian theme. You could put out lays (i have no idea how to spell that) and set up beach chairs, towels and umbrellas. The dollar store has a ton of stuff. Put sand in the sensory bin with castle making stuff, and place shells in the science area. You could also play Hawaiian music. It might be fun to paint beach murals to hang up in the dramatic play area. You could even make a fake surfboard for the children to stand on in front of their mural, and take a picture like they're surfing.

You could go another way and use this as an opportunity to study other countries. You could put out a big map with some places marked out like France, Italy, Australia, Africa etc. and change your centers around to represent different countries, cities, cultures etc. For example: You could work on fractions with fake pizzas for Italy, or you could set up dramatic play like a castle for England. You could make little pouches for them to carry babies in like marsupials of Australia. These are just ideas off the top of my head. I'm sure you can come up with better stuff once you wrap your head around it. Just make sure you keep it on their level.

I Hope that helps!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:27 PM
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Blue Blue is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,683
Just by adding props to each area can turn your center into a vacation theme.
Magazines and books about vacation spots
A restaurant
add some park and/or attraction items to the play yard
suitcases packed with clothes
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:23 AM
scmom scmom is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,225
Preschool/Adult School Teacher
Show them maps and have them draw maps. If you show them Google Earth they can get an idea of what a map is - looking at their neighborhood from above. Do a map of the school and have little prizes when you follow the map to explore it.

Make neighborhoods or streets, roads, etc. from blocks and building from boxes or whatever.

Ask them what are ways to get places. They can draw and dictate how and then explore ways they hadn't thought of.

Ask them to journal where they have been and share it.

Make a pretend hotel in the dramatic play area.

Turn it into a social science study of different areas.

I saw a neat cityscape kids had made by painting boxes to be light highrises. The teacher had cut holes for the windows and then they put strings of lights in the boxes so it looked like a city had night.

Pack a suitcase - practice folding, deciding what should be in it, a memory game of what was in it, counting what was in it???

Make pretend suitcases out of folded paper with a handle and have them cut out pictures of clothes from magazines to go inside.

Eat food from different countries.

Make cars out of boxes and have them pretend to drive places.

Hey, I have never done this before but the possibilities are endless.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:20 AM
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WaProvider WaProvider is offline
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Early Childhood Teacher
What would you put in the drama area?

A great thing we came up with was to find an OLD ATLAS at a thrift store and add it to the ok to cut box. The pages have found their way into many projects like pirate maps and dream destinations.
The kids were very afraid to cut it at first though.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:44 AM
scmom scmom is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,225
Preschool/Adult School Teacher
What about old cameras or pretend cameras?

Hiking boots and sticks?



Plane/train tickets?

Ice chest and camping stuff?

Dorky tourist clothes?

Ohh....scrapbooks, postcards, souvenirs, foreign money

I need to do a better job changing out my dramatic play stuff - I must admit this is a weakness. I feel I have too many balls in the air sometimes and this is one that regularly falls.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:01 AM
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WaProvider WaProvider is offline
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Early Childhood Teacher
I hear you scmom....I have an all boy class often. Too often. I have gotten pretty slick at a changing that center out, but it isn't because I like the idea....it is because otherwise it goes un used. Or worse just turns into dump and fill zone. Dump and fill is great...if you are 1 or 2 but after that age it really isn't a good use of a whole center (In my opinion) so I change it to keep it fresh and engaging.

But this one did stump me.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:56 PM
teacher12345 teacher12345 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 536
For the dramatic play area you can paint a large refridgerator box as a bus, car, airplane, train, etc. and you can put chairs in it for the kids to sit on.

Vacation props:
airplane/bus/train tickets
backpacks/small lugagge
plastic pretend cameras
clothes for the kids to put in their suitcases
for cars you could make a little gas tank out of a box and some refridgorator tubing, using something at the end for a nozzle, or buy the small little plastic gas tank toy)

At the writing center:

You can have postcards, where the students can draw about their journey and "write" about it.

car painting (roll hot wheel cars through paint)
tire crayon rubbings (peeled crayons, paper and cut a small piece of tire for the students to use to rub, which creates a crayon rubbing of a tire.)
coloring with crayon wheels (melted crayons in muffin tins makes wheel shape).
Trains wheels (spool) painting: have students make stamps using paint and the end of sewing spools, (they look like train wheels).
Transportation Creation: give the student materials, such as small boxes, cardboard pieces, popsicle sticks, pom-poms, glue, scissors, scraps of paper, yarn, beads, pipe cleaners, q-tips, cut up toilet paper rolls etc. to let them create an open-ended transportation vehicle of their choice.

Manipulative activities:
train pattern cards (unifix cubes) children continue unifix train pattern that is on card

train sorting (cover shoeboxes in construction paper of different colors, those are the train cars, have small toys for each color, students sort objects by color into correct train car.)

transportation puzzles

put colored cars into right colored parking spot (make parking lot and have spaces labeled with a colored square of construction paper inside it and students put car of corresponding color in that spot.)

making maps

mechanic: hammering golf tees, drilling with drill and design toy, etc.)

texture table:
sand/gravel and trucks

water and boats

wet sand and buckets and shovels for sand castles

Block area:

laminated paper runways for airport
transportation theme rug
legos/with wheels
wooden buildings/wooden blocks/transportation vehicles

ramp/things that roll
sink and float
transportation noises (what makes that noise?)

cheerio, bananna, etc. wheels
banana boats
school bus snacks
traffic light snack
to-go-travel trail mix

reading corner:
different nonfiction and fiction transportation and travel themed books

transportation books, songs, fingerplays, and poems

Large motor:
ride-on cars
stop and go signs
red light, yellow light, green light
human train, chugga-chugga-choo-choo
flying airplane arms
different movement songs related to transportation
scooter boards
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:17 AM
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WaProvider WaProvider is offline
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Early Childhood Teacher
Hey, turns out that the kids have only "cabin camped" and are in love with the idea of tent camping. So, we are tent camping in dramatic play.

Yesterday, they made marshmellow (cotton balls) on sticks (skewers). They also made a fishing game themselves creating the fish, I covered in contact paper, and then added the clip and created the pole out of skewers that had the tips removed.

I think today they wanted to make stars for the ceiling.
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theme, travel or, vacation

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