World Adventures Dramatic Play Series
During our school year of World Adventures, we "travel" to different countries and experience an imaginary, playful theme, based off something special from each one.
Introducing the World Adventures concepts in an age appropriate environment and format, provides a small glimpse into the beautiful diversity of life beyond their personal world. As a teacher, you will be able to know if your class is ready for themes and concepts branching beyond their immediate world view.
Begin by introducing the concepts such as near/far, up/down, ways we travel, and children around the world. As needed with all themes, the World Adventures Dramatic Play Series is open-ended (without specific requirements) and playfully (loosely) based, without requiring geographical and historical facts. The World Adventure themes offer development of social skills, problem solving, higher order thinking, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Various themes also include embedded educational concepts such as: sequencing, one-to-one correspondence, literacy and enriched vocabulary.
Children love the idea of traveling and are very curious about other children and the world around them. I introduce imaginary travel experiences through: simplified mini lessons, simple maps and globes, and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. We discuss what children around the world do, where they live, how they dress and the types of food they eat. Each imaginative travel theme brings an open-ended, fun, exciting and unique adventure from that particular country and area of the world. Many of the themes are made from my own experiences as a world traveler.
Mount Everest Base Camp
Climbing to the highest peak in the world would be the adventure of a lifetime. Even trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp would be a remarkable achievement. During our imaginary travels around the world, my scholars take a journey to the base camp of Mount Everest, learning about one of the highest mountains in the world and what it would take to climb to the top. We also talk about the various mountains around the world. The imaginary adventure provides ample opportunity for fine and gross-motor tasks, one of which being the ability to dress and undress themselves in snow gear. Their imaginations run wild as they follow a checklist to pack their backpacks and plan their ascent to the wintery mountain top.
Each world theme includes a set of calendar cards. It's important to show class events on the calendar, for students to count up to. My scholars enjoy seeing our events for the month on our classroom linear calendar. They eagerly count up to the "travel" day in excitement and often proclaim their enthusiasm while announcing the remaining days to their peers.
Simplified Altas, Maps and Globe
One of our favorite books to introduce maps and where we are, compared to the world around us, is 'Me On The Map' by Joan Sweeney. The Melissa and Doug 'World Map Learning Mat' is a small, simple version to place in the literacy center. I like to use and place the 'First Atlas' by Miles Kelly in our literacy center as well. I use the 'World ScrunchMap' at the beginning of each theme. It's more durable than a paper map and can be easily passed around, or laid out for hands-on use. It's not one I leave out through each theme, since it's much more complex. However, I do like to give my scholars a view of the incredible amount of places around the world. I have a simple globe set out in our literacy center, that I switch out periodically with an inflatable globe, to introduce the concept of the Earth.
Passports, Stamps and Visas
Each of my scholars receives a passport, with their picture and name inside. I printed their picture and name on sticker paper, leaving a place for them to add their signature. Each World Adventures theme includes printables for passport entry visas and exit stamps. Each theme also includes a special flag/experience stamp. I print the visas and stamps on sticker paper. Date stamps are added when we "enter" the country on the first day and "exit" the country on the last day. On the last day of the theme, each scholar adds the flag/experience stamp. We discuss the experience and what they've learned.
Bunting, Mural and Flags
The mural is made from rolls of fade resistant bulletin board paper. Like all my murals, I laminate them in panels so they can be stored and reused. Any 3D hanging paper items, attached to the mural, are taped with painters tape and removed for storage. The prayer flags were purchased at World Market, but can also be found on Amazon (link below) or made from squares of colored paper.
Gross Motor Winter Dressing
One of the main tasks in the Mount Everest adventure would be the ability for students to dress and undress themselves in snow gear. I purposely provide easy pull-on snow bibs and big zipper winter coats for independence. For children who rarely get to use such protective winter clothing where we live, I've continually been pleasantly surprised by my scholars abilities with problem solving and making the task a group effort when needed.
Our imagination center has one set of cubbies, to arrange supplies for the theme. I always add a theme/activity related book to the center. Each of the themes have items that can be easily pulled from other themes and activities and used in the classroom. During our Mt. Everest adventure, I read and provide the children's book 'First To The Top' by David Hill. The Mt. Everest dramatic play pack provides climber checklists that I have printed and laminated to fit small clipboards. Laminating the lists reduces waste and allows the perfect surface for dry erase markers to be used on. I also set out a small bucket with pretend stuffed snowballs, purchased through Amazon. Creativity is really used with the snowballs, making things such as: a campfire pit, pathway, trail markers, snow creatures and seats.
Climbing Supplies Part 1
Climbing and camping gear, food and cooking supplies, are all items provided to give the imaginative experience a realistic touch. The camping equipment, including the tent, was purchased as a play set from Amazon. Since canned food is a popular approach to getting nutrients at Mt. Everest Base Camp, I added a variety of canned foods from a Melissa and Doug Grocery Cans set.
Climbing Supplies Part 2
Simple drawstring backpacks from the Dollar Tree are just large enough for packing gear needed to "climb" the tallest mountain in the world. Simple, child-sized blankets are cut from fleece. A flag to take to the top was made from a wooden dowel and felt. Oxygen assistance may sometimes be required for climbers, so clear water bottles (from Walmart), aquarium tubing and nebulizer masks were used to make packable oxygen tanks.
Climbing Supplies Part 3
Climb maps are included in the dramatic play pack. I laminate them for durability. Climbing rope is cut into 36 inch lengths and attached to carabiners. Toy cameras and workable walkie-talkies are always a hit with my scholars.
Climbing Supplies Part 4
Safety is a priority for climbers. To encourage the safety aspect of such a climb, I add old bike helmets to allow my scholars to play the part. Old winter boots are another fantastic gross-motor activity that students can participate in when putting on their snow gear. Children's mittens and gloves are also provided.
Word cards are included in the dramatic play pack, in both uppercase and upper/lowercase. I usually put a set up in our writing center, in the imagination center and also the creativity (art) center. I use additional themed center activities, including a reader, that will be available in the corresponding World Adventures Math and Literacy pack.
Unfortunately, there isn't very many children's books on the market that talk about Mt. Everest. However, there are two that we use during our theme: 'First to the Top: Sir Edmund Hillary's Amazing Everest Adventure' by David Hill and 'Mountains of the World' by Dieter Braun. On the side, there are quite a few cute children's books about Yetis that I also set out. Some of which are: 'Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti' by Make Believe Ideas Ltd., 'Unicorn and Yeti: A Good Team' by Heather Ayris Burnell, 'Unicorn and Yeti: Friends Rock' also by Heather Ayris Burnell. Older classrooms/children may enjoy: 'Summiting Everest: How a Photograph Celebrates Teamwork at the Top of the World' by Emma Carlson Berne, 'You Wouldn't Want to Climb Mount Everest! A Deadly Journey to the Top of the World' by Ian Graham.
There are five books the I leave out in our library, during the entire school year: 'What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World' by Maya Ajmera, 'People of the World' by Nancy Loewen, 'Food of the World' by Nancy Loewen, 'Homes fo the World' by Nancy Loewen, and 'Clothing of the World', also by Nancy Loewen. They have fantastic colorful photographs of the beautiful diversity of people, foods and places around the world. My advanced readers enjoy reading pages to their peers, when we travel to a new country.
Additional Activity Idea
Two fun Yeti games are set out for students to play together. 'Yeti in My Spaghetti' and 'Yeti, Set, Go' are both great for fine-motor, eye-hand coordination, sequence and strategy. With our themes lasting two weeks, one game is set out for a week at a time.
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