KinderGals: Teaching Math and Reading in Dramatic Play

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Teaching Math and Reading in Dramatic Play

Playing is learning! Creating a play based environment in and of itself is good practices in a kindergarten classroom. The move to more academic kindergarten programs pushed some teachers to remove anything that resembled play from their classrooms.  But, some kept their heads down, flew under the radar, and kept these play based activities alive and well.  The good news, the pendulum is beginning to swing back and many teachers are moving towards more play based learning! We recently set up an apple orchard in our dramatic play area.  Here are some EASY ways to show evidence of reading and math standards all in the name of play!
Toss and Count Fall Flowers

  • To play this fun activity, I create two dice--one with numerals and one with a different color of flower on each side. (I used only 3 colors, so each flower is on two sides of the dice.) 
  • I collect some fall flowers from the dollar tree. I used a pair of wire cutters to cut the flowers off of the bunch. 
  • Invite the kids to throw the dice into the basket. Providing a basket is a great teach hack! No chasing dice all over the room!


  • Now, the children look at the dice to see the numeral and the flower color on which the dice landed. 
  • Then, they count out the correct number of flowers and create a flower arrangement. 
  • The kids continue to take turns rolling the dice and adding flowers to their arrangements.


  • When it is clean up time, math is evident again! The kids sort the flowers by their color and return them to the correct bins.

Apple Orchard Sorting
More sorting is happening in the apple orchard.

  • The kids sort the apples onto the correct trees, one color on each tree. 
  • When the kids go apple picking, they place the apples into their baskets. 
  • Before paying for the apples, they must be sorted into the correct color bin since different colors of apples have different prices!


  • Now the kids fill out their forms.  
  • They color the apples on the recording page red, yellow, and green. 
  • Then, they count the apples and record it on the recording page.


  • Sometimes kids might fill out an apple "order" by completing the form before picking apples.
  • After filling out the form, they take the form to the orchard, and pick the number of apples indicated.

Toss and Count Apples

  • Toss and Count Apples is played using the same rules as the Toss and Count Flowers activity. 
  • To play, the kids toss the two dice into the basket.  One dice has numerals and the other dice has the colors of apples.


  • Once the kids roll the dice, they go to the orchard and pick the correct number and the correct color of apples and place them in their basket.  
  • Invite the kids to count the apples. Compare to their friends.
  • Once the game is over, the kids have to sort and replace the apples---more math!

Non-Fiction Text
Books don't just belong in the book center.  Think about providing non-fiction books about apples, flowers, and other fall items. Encourage children to read while they are waiting to "check out" at the pay station.
Provide other forms of nonfiction text in the center by posting signage. Here we labeled the Apple Orchard area of the dramatic play center. We also posted a sign with the price for the different colors of apples.
Consider adding a cash register and pennies.  Children check out and pay for their purchases in the apple orchard.
Lastly, we added a basket of office supplies, writing paper, and price tags. These items will encourage children to use writing during their play.
Are you ready? I picked up most of the physical items in this area at the Dollar Tree. The reproducible items can be found in this unit:
Want to read about how to set up the area? This blog post shares all of our organization tips!
And this blog post shares how we added an apple orchard bakery to the dramatic play area.

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Justme said...
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