5 Days of Organizing Kids Toys into Centers: Dramatic Play

Yesterday we started the series with talking about 5 Ways to Organize the Toy Monster by being super Selective! Hopefully in the next 3 days I can give you an idea of what kinds of centers will be beneficial for your littles as well as the kinds of toys that will grow with them.

Right before posting this I realized I may have jumped the gun on going right into which "center" we have. Some of you may know what I mean with certain vocabulary or just need some pictures for inspiration in your own home. What ever the case may be. HERE is the link to a post about the importance of center play as well as the difference between long-term and special/short-term centers AND it contain a master list of suggested centers for both preschool/kindergarten and primary ages.

Today's Centers we'll be going through can all be grouped under "Dramatic Play" although there are lots of types of centers in the is category.

Fun ideas to include in your Dramatic Play Center-->

  • diversity of gender play. Rooms of the house other than the kitchen; male and female clothing; pictures of both males and females; and pictures and books that show a diversity of family compositions.
  • cultural diversity. Food, cooking utensils, work tools, and items that reflect holiday celebrations from different cultures. Purchased or homemade dolls representing major ethnic groups, gender balance, and with different kinds of disabilities. Always begin with the diversity represented in your family and expand from the there to other groups in the community.
  • tools and equipment for people with special needs. Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, hearing aids, ramps, heavy glasses, books written in Braille, crutches, walking canes, magnifiers, and a respirator with mask.


We'll start with everyone's favorite and most recognizable center {seen in almost every daycare/preschool}:

Kitchen or Home Center

Currently we have a large kitchen set with tons of food play {lots of variety}. Kitchen's are often the center of our real homes so it would only make sease that kids would love to pretend in their own size kitchen. This is probably the most played in center at our house although I have lots of friends who say their children never used their kitchen "set" so don't feel obligated to find a set for your home. Many of the skills we build in this center can be done in other ways. My girls most recent favorites are {the obvious} "cook dinner for the family" , "restaurant" {both drive thru & fancy dine-in}, "grocery store".


We also have a 'dress up' corner, baby shelf, and lots of baby accessories throughout the playroom. This provides the opportunity for learning rolls for later in life: Parenting, cooking, home maintenance, cleaning, and endless number of other career options that can rotate in and out of this long-term center.

Little People Center

We currently have a set of Dollar Tree baskets we use to sort our Little People into people & animals. We also have 2 Little People vehicles {sized for Little People}. This center is similar to the dramatic play center but has smaller 'dolls' to play with. We often add empty boxes to this play as furniture, buildings, etc.

Vehicle Center

We currently have this center divided into trucks/trains and cars/buses just because we have so many. Our favorite thing to do with our vehicles is create a "town" with painters tape {least amount of residue} on the floor. This can be a fun way to combine centers {i.e. vehicles, blocks, and little people}.

You can easily organize these centers on individual shelves or in baskets on a shelf or even under a coffee table. I can't stress enough, having assigned places for toys will help parents keep an eye on the growth of the toy monster as well as help children learn to clean up their own belongings. Since each center has benefits to your child gaining specific centers, I attempt to balance the amounts of toys we have for each so one center isn't overtaking an others.

I am sure I've met so much out. PLEASE leave comments with any questions on how we do "Centers" or suggestions for other on who you do "Centers" at your home!


This is day 2 in this series. Monday was: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting.

See you the rest of the week for:

Wednesday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Manipulitives
Thursday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Reading
and the finale on Friday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Sanitizing

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August.  Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

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Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

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  1. Love seeing all those ‘centers’. I especially like the way you used a tension-rod to hang the dress up clothes. Right now ours are stuffed in plastic storage bins and wicker baskets and kept under the pool table. Not very attractive but functional.
    We have several drawers in cabinets for toy storage. One is designated “The Cool Drawer” – which is home to ‘cool’ they use when playing Spy-Guy or Pirate or Treasure-Hunter and the like. You know, headphones and goggles and walkie-talkies and cast-off remotes and cell phones.
    Having everything accessible sure does help the imagination get to work.

    • Why thank you! I’m sure I stole the tension rod idea from Pinterest or something ;o) It really is attractive & functional! Although, I’m still having a hard time teaching my 2 & 4-year-old how to rehang things. We have a {not pictured} bench/basket thing full of the little dress-up accessories. I think I may need to rename mine the “cool drawer” though. That’s AWEsome!!!
      I can’t wait til my little boy is a bit bigger and we have more boy dress-up stuff. He already LOVES hats and…even necklaces and headbands. hehehe
      I would totally agree, “Having everything accessible sure DOES help the imagination get to work!”
      Thanks for stopping by!

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