Pretend Play’s Reality Show: Six “Multiplex” Scenarios for Your Growing Child

Pretend Play's Reality Show

Have you noticed your child (ren)’s Pretend Plays are morphing into more complex activities?

Does s/he:

  • want to use “real” objects instead of “make-believe” ones?
  • try to include as many people as possible?
  • create more than a few “roles/jobs” for the settings?
  • have specific rules for each part?
  • spend a lot of time organizing the outlay of the setting?
  • tag & label everything?
  • come close to writing out a “script” for each participant?
  • produce a detailed list of “The Plan”?

Sounds like “all work and no play”?????

His/her growing vocabulary with the multiple, diverse experiences of a classroom are influencing the way s/he approaches many activities now.

You can help facilitate these lively entertainments so the action may begin.

The Brainstorming Process

Either on the white board, chalkboard or large piece of paper, draw this graphic:

Brainstorm Board for Pretend Play Scenario

Write the Scenario Title in the top Orange rectangle. Then, list all the Roles/Jobs. Under each of them, have your child list the descriptors & special needs of each one. In the Materials/Props section, list the General things needed, such as tables , bins, crates, labels, tags, etc. Check off each thing as it becomes available/acquired. Celebrate the achievement with “Opening Day!”

Gathering the Stuff

Take your child(ren)with you as the selection of stuff begins. Here are a few suggestions of places that won’t break the household bank:

  • yard & rummage sales
  • Goodwill & resale shops
  • discount & $ stores
  • your household
  • your recycling bin
  • your crafting table
  • neighbor swaps
  • several internet sites, such as kidizen, fractuslearning, ecolife

And a word about storing the stuff…. stack-able bins with lids & slide the signage & labels in front of the collector containers.

SOOOO,  just in case you & yours might need a few “Scenario” ideas & tips…….read on because I’ve created a few organization tables for the 6 Multiplex Pretend Plays I hope will help. The Titles & “Roles/Jobs” are only suggestions as part of the descriptions. And, there are plenty of “holes”, but, hopefully, these will get you & yours started….

Scenario One: Learning Center

This Pretend Play can definitely be a real-deal as a “fun” and meaningful place to study, get homework assignments completed, research & discover, think about creations & inventions, and quietly collect information & plan. Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Materials& Tools Managerhelps teachers gather & organize materials & tools; makes sure they are in working condition; offers suggestions for additional supplies; helps teachers put away suppliesbins for organizing supplies, materials & tools : small dry eraser boards, magazines, books, comics; pencils, writing & drawing papers, books, crayons, glues, scissors, boards, markers, manipulativesinventory sheets; suggestion notes; order formsmaterials & tools bins; general supplies
Great Readerassists with reading/decoding words, comprehension strategies & phonics skills; sight word practice; helps with vocabulary words; reads aloud to model fluency; asks story element questionsleveled books; graphic organizers for comprehension & vocabulary; dictionaries, spellers; variety of games for reading skills; magnetic lettersmaterials & tool needs; "student" performance notes; graphic organizers; comprehension & vocabulary sheetssight words, vocabulary, phonics, comprehension
Wonderful Writerprovides ideas & strategies for writing a variety of forms; helps with editing; shares suggestions for improvementgraphic organizers; journals; handwriting paper; blank books, index cards, lists & greeting cards; spelling books; grammar charts; vocabulary cards; formula charts for different types of writing; prompts; grammar & structure gamesgraphic organizers; materials & tools order sheetsblank books, journals, spelling & vocabulary aids
Math Magicianhelps with understanding word problems & solutions; checks computation accuracy; works on understanding the processes of mathmanipulatives; info charts for computation & word problem solving skills; a variety of math games; graph paper; magnetic numbersmaterials & tools order formsspecific game skills; manipulatives; journals;
History Experthelps with understanding time lines, community helpers; government; biographies, important event; brainstorms & helps with projectsinfo charts; games; reference cards & books; lots of historical photos; crafting materials for making cultural artifacts; games; hats/clothingorder forms, graphic organizersgames; craft materials; photos, books,
Superb Scientisthelps with understanding concepts through discovery & experiments"lab" types tools & materials; info charts; safety goggles; gloves; lab coat; journals; books to help with inquiry & infoscientific method forms; supply requestsbooks; journals; safety equipment; experiment supplies
Health Advisortalks about concerns, such as sicknesses, injuries, nutrition, exercise, sleep, everyday worriesnutrition, exercise & body charts; bandages & band-aids; soap & water; healthy snacks; thoughts & feelings journals;pillow & soft animals; puppets; games; drawing toolssupply needs; "patient" info (in/out); info sheets for nutrition, exercise; "feel better"snacks; medicines; talk & feel-it-out supplies; games; info sheets

Scenario Two: Farm Tour

This is a great way to get outdoor, unstructured play mixed in to your child’s organized Pretend Play while teaching & learning about a BUNCH of life lessons. This scenario can be divided & rotated into a variety of creative, meaningful center activities. It can, also, transition into the next scenario: Fresh Goods Market. Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Animal Caretakerchecks & keeps animals healthy; feeds & cleans them; makes sure barn, stalls & pens are clean; gathers eggs; milks cows, goats and/or sheep; shears goats and/or sheep; makes sure pastures are readyfeed, cleaners for animals & stalls, medicines; hay; water troughs; shearers; bags for wool/fur; bucketssupply needs; animal health forms; daily animal outputfeed; cleaners; medicines
Groundskeepergets earth ready for planting crops; keeps pasture growing; helps crop manager; sets & repairs fences planting tools & machinery; hardware, tools & materials for building & repair work; truck for haulingsupply needs; receipt formsbuilding & repair tools; forms; hardware
Crop Managerplants seeds; weeds, waters & fertilizes; watches the health & growth of the crops seeds, fertilizers & water lines; "gardening" & crop toolssupply needs; receipt formsseeds; fertilizer; forms, tools
Harvestergathers ready crops; prepares crops for selling & artisan-makingtruck for hauling, boxes & bags; harvesting toolssupply needs; daily harvest records; delivery formfruit & veggies; herbs & flowers; tools; forms
Artisanmakes items from produce, herbs & dairy to sell at marketjars, boxes, baskets, paper, cloth for sachets, bags for herbal teas, potpourri, & bath; molds for candles & soaps, flower & herb buckets, supply needs; customer requests; supply inventory lists; product inventory list; sales recordsproducts; supply organizers
Market Managermerchandises produce, herbs, flowers & artisan goods to sell; manages roadside or farm's marketdisplay cases; scales, bags, baskets, carts; tables; cash registersales tickets; inventory lists; supply needsproduce & prices; herbs & flowers w/ prices; artisan goods

Scenario Three: Fresh Goods Market

This is a great way to introduce the Farm To Table concept. You can, also, divide & rotate several of these sections, like Good Earth Goods could be just a florist & produce manager, or A Baker with a Deli, or Flour & Flowers.  A little cafe or bistro could be part of one of these scenarios, too. Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Floral Designercreates flower bouquets in containers or wraps in paper; writes sales ticket; arranges flowers deliveries in buckets & on shelves; orders flowers & plants to sellbuckets, vases, baskets, decorative containers, paper, ribbon, scissors, apron, name tagsales tickets, order forms, inventory sheets, supply listsflowers, plants, containers, tools, forms
Produce Managerreceives & puts away clean produce; daily check of produce for quality; helps customers; set out samples; makes gift baskets;creates & puts out signs with prices produce bins;plastic baskets, paper bags; scales; shreds for produce placement; apron, name tagsales tickets, inventory sheets, order forms, supply listsfruits, veggies, bags, containers, forms
Bakery Bossmakes, arranges & sells baked goods; keeps an inventory of ingredients & items; dates all items; makes gift baskets with produce & baked items; creates signs with prices ingredients, tools, dishes & pans needed for baking; bags, boxes, paper; display plates; apron, name tagspecial order forms, inventory lists, supply lists, sales ticketsingredients; baking pans & tools, dishes; cookbooks & recipes; forms; packaging item
Delivery Drivermakes stops & delivers ordered items; checks to make sure orders match the delivery tickets; helps settle items in the correct placetruck, boxes, supplies; name tag, wagoninventory sheets, delivery tickets. order formsfruit. veggies, flowers, plants,packaging items, bakery ingredients, paper goods
Store Supervisorchecks in delivery orders; receives & sends new orders for store departments; helps each dept in customer service & sales; makes sure all areas are clean & organized; opens & closes market; works on advertisingtelephone, catalogues, keys, cleaning supplies; name tagdepartment checks; supply listsforms; lists, supplies
Cashieradds all customer sales tickets together per purchase; keeps daily record of sales per department; takes money from customers; can help with customer service; apron, name tagregister, cash box, large bags, calculatorinventory sheets, sales records; receipt tape from registerforms.register, calculator & money, bags

Scenario Four: Nature’s Treasures Museum & Exhibits

Another fun way to get your child (ren) outdoors for hours of exploration & discovery is part of this scenario.  Nature is full of treasures to be shared in a display. Special exhibits can be organized with a tour guide. Let the archaeology digs begin! Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Doctor Dig: archaeologistexplores, digs & discovers ancient, historical relics & artifacts;identifies & labels the finds; brings them to the museum curatorbrushes , digging tools, containers, backpack; water, snacks, flashlight, magnifying glass, paper, pens, name & position taginventory list of finds; supply lists; specific items cards with name, date of item, where & when discovereddigging tools, forms, find identifiers,
Doctor Bio: plant life expertexplores, discovers & identifies leaves, flowers, grasses, seeds, bark; labels & prepares them for the museum; organizes an exhibit; works with other experts for diorama displaysreference book, containers, brushes, water, magnifying glass, paper, name & position tag, clear/plastic slides, sanitary gloves, collector aproninventory list of finds; supply lists; specific items cards with name, date of item, where & when discoveredclassifying tools, organizing tools, working, forms
Doctor Geo: rock specialistexplores, discovers & identifies rocks, stones, pebbles, fossils, dirt & sand; labels & prepares them for the museum; organizes an exhibit; works with other experts for diorama displaysreference book, containers, brushes, water, magnifying glass,sanitary gloves, collector apron, name & position taginventory list of finds; supply lists; specific items cards with name, date of item, where & when discoveredclassifying tools, organizing tools, working, forms
Doctor Zoa: animal expertexplores, discovers & identifies bones, mammals, insects, reptiles, fish, shells, fossils; labels & prepares them for the museum; organizes an exhibit; works with other experts for diorama displaysreference book, photos,drawings, sculptures, magnifying glass, paper & clay figures, stuffed animals, containers, brushes, water,sanitary gloves, collector apron, name & position taginventory list of finds; supply lists; specific items cards with name, date of item, where & when discoveredclassifying tools, organizing tools, working, forms
Doctor Data: museum curatormanages museum collections & exhibits; makes sure security is scheduled; promotes museum & exhibits; keeps museum clean & organizedname & position tag, advertising connections, suitinventory list of objects, schedule of exhibits, contact list, membership forms, fundraising invitationspaperwork to do, paperwork done
Doctor Info: tour guideschedules museum & exhibit tours; has all the information needed to give to tour groups name & position tag, info guides, dressy clothes, microphonemuseum & exhibits maps;museum & exhibits info guides maps, info guides

Scenario Five: Visual Arts Studio & Gallery

Including the Arts in your child(ren)’s Pretend Play world is one of the important activities you can do. The interactions are quite memorable and contribute greatly to all areas of his/her(their) growth & development. Depending on personality, one or several of the Visual Arts expressions will be beneficial to your child(ren). Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Sculptorcreates shapes using a variety of materials; titles the pieces for presentationclay, paper mache, sand & glue, wax, wires, carving tools, paper, work shirtcards for titling work, supply list needstools, sculpture materials, paperwork/cards
Photographercaptures & prints images using a camera; titles the pieces for presentationcamera, printer OR magazines to cut out pictures & mount on cardstockcards for titling work, supply list needsimages, cardstock, tools, forms
Paintercreates pictures on papers, wood & canvas using paints & watercolors; titles the pieces for presentationpaper, boards, easels, clothes, paints,palette, brushes, watercolors, work shirt cards for titling work, supply list needspicture boards/papers, tools, paints & brushes
Illustratorcreates drawings on paper using inks, charcoal, paints, crayons, etc; titles the pieces for presentationpapers, inks, markers, crayons, pencils, charcoal, work shirtcards for titling work, supply list needspapers, drawing tools, forms
Printercreates images using ink & carved stamps;titles the pieces for presentationstamps, ink pads, paints,sponges, blocks, buttons, cardboard, paper, work shirtcards for titling work, supply list needsstamps, ink/paint, papers, tools, forms
Mixed Media Creatorcreates collages & mobiles using a variety of materials; titles the pieces for presentationpapers; wire, string, stickers, magazines, glue, scissors, glitz, recyclablescards for titling work, supply list needspapers, stickums, tools, recyclables, forms
Gallery Curatororganizes shows of the artist(s)'s works; acts as a guide during the showsclothesline, tables, boxes, contact listinvitations, inventory listpaperwork
Critic / Columnistwrites reviews of the artist's works & shows for newspapers & magazinespaper, pencils, photosarticle submissionswriting tools

Scenario Six: Performing Arts Studio & Stage

This is one scenario you MUST encourage! As children, my siblings & I constructed a stage with a microphone using tinker toys. We provided ourselves, parents & anyone else who would be an audience with hours of pure entertainment. The price of admission: priceless! Here’s a table of ideas & suggestions:

Danceruses body movements to express feelings and/or interpret musicmusic, costumes, shoes/slippers, makeupsupply list needsmusic, clothing, makeup
Singeruses voice to express & interpret musicmusic sounds & words, costumes, microphone, makeupsupply list needsmusic, clothing, makeup
Comedianuses body & voice to share humor about anythingscript, props, microphonesupply list needsscripts, props
Actoruses body & voice to portray & interpret characters in a scenescript, props,sets, costumes,makeupsupply list needsscripts, props, clothing, makeup
Musicianuses instruments to interpret & create musicmusic, instruments, microphones, costumes, makeupsupply list needsmusic, instruments, clothing, makeup
Circus Artistuses body movements & props to share & interpret feelings & strengthmusic, costumes, shoes/slippers, props, set, makeupsupply list needsmusic, clothing, props, makeup
Magicianuses body & props to create an illusion of magicprops, set, costumes, makeupsupply list needsprops, clothing, makeup
Stage Managerorganizes & prepares for performances on stage for an audience; creates & provides posters, office signs, programs, ticketspapers, pencils, photos, markers, tickets, money, cash box, microphone, lighting, props for stage setting; full-length mirror, helpers & water backstageprograms, office signs, supply inventorypapers, props, lights & microphones

AND, of course, invitations must be extended. Click on the link below to download & print a template for each of the 6 Scenarios templates:

PretendPlayRealityShows Invites

Hope you & yours are able to grow with & enjoy some of these more complex Pretend Play Reality Shows. I’d love to hear from you. Send comments & pics!

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