Our outdoor cafe and dramatic play in preschool

When the children arrived at preschool, they found this large outdoor cafe all set up and ready for play…

The backdrop that you see in the photo is a very large cardboard box panel that I painted so it would look like a wall with windows and a curtain…

Additional props for play included a basket of fruit and a basket of dishes…

I also set out aprons for those who wanted to dress the part of a food server and notepads for taking orders…

So much learning takes place through dramatic play. We are writing, communicating, cooperating, and for the most part sharing. We are using our imaginations and practicing daily life skills…

By |2011-09-05T18:00:57+00:00September 5th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. ayn colsh September 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    You just gave an idea! I always take materials outside—why not a theme box for outside? Say, an outside cafe box! It will go perfect with out community helpers theme. Yay, Deborah, you inspire me, AGAIN! :))

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Haha – you don’t need inspired Ayn – you have so many wonderful ideas already:)

  2. Analisa September 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    LOVE moving the dramatic play center outside!! Sometimes, I like adding restaurant themed props to our dramatic play…I just ask places like McDonalds, Chick Fil A, Market Street, etc for cups, food boxes, lids, straws, etc. I’ve also asked places like Chile’s and Olive Garden for extra/old menus…they are so durable and the kids love to “read” them and “order” food. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Oh – those are all such good ideas! I did this kind of at the spur of the moment. I will start collecting more items for when we set it out next time!! The children will love these ideas!

  3. Shannon September 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    I love those chairs and tables….where did you find them?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      I found the square table and all the chairs at Lowes this summer. I had the round table already and painted – it was falling apart so I gave it a make-over with outdoor spray paint:)

  4. kristin @preschool daze September 6, 2011 at 7:28 am - Reply

    those chairs!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 6, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

      They are cute aren’t they! My hubby found them!

  5. Amber September 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Lovely! I’ve been really pondering over what we can do outside with regards to dramatic play lately myself. My space is limited in our home and they really can’t “get into it” like I’d prefer so I thought…well, let’s take it outside. What a grand idea this is. I’ll be sure to save it. Where did you find your little chairs?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      I found them at Lowes over the summer!

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