Dramatic Play- Construction Site

Dramatic Play - Construction Site


A boy standing beside a structure built of different sized rectangles and trianges.
KcngbxMcq_1.pngA boy standing beside a structure built of different sized rectangles and triangles.

A boy standing beside a structure built of different sized rectangles and trianges.

Clip art credit: www.clipartbest.com  - still verifying this is for open use

The dramatic play center provides opportunities for students to collaborate, engage in learning, and build language skills through conversations.  Children have the opportunity to role play real-life experiences by taking on many roles in imaginative play. Utilization of the space as a construction site allows the children the opportunity to take on the roles of an architect, builder, and other general contractor professions.  Children will gain an understanding of the importance of each contractor's role during the building process as well as experiment with different building materials.  Children will understand what tools are required to build and create various structures. This includes turn taking with peers, and providing positive support and encouragement to others. 


  • gross motor skills while moving around in the area building structures
  • special awareness of others and the environment 
  • fine motor skills when manipulating tools and small building items
  • math skills will be developed through the measurement of building materials 
  • writing opportunities to write the name of tools, and building professions
  • expression of artistic ability through drawing and creating 3D building structures 
  • print exposure to different builder professions, architectural styles, and building signs
  • reading opportunities with exposure to a variety of architectural styles, and contractor professions 
  • expression of feelings and emotions
  • creativity, imagination, abstract thinking
  • oral communication, vocabulary 
  • cooperation, sharing, taking turns

Suggested Materials

  • provide empty cardboard boxes of various sizes and shapes
  • building blocks of various sizes made of different materials wood, foam, plastic, etc.  
  • plastic construction cones
  • posters of different architectural homes, constructions signs, and images of builders
  • toy and plastic building tools, such as saws, hammers, screwdrivers, etc.
  • collect golf tees and have students use them as nails to be hammered into the cardboard boxes
  • construction gloves and aprons
  • plastic PVC pipes of different sizes, shapes, and angles
  • small step for students to practice stepping up and down
  • writing utensils
  • sample exercise routine to follow
  • paper, clipboards, notepads
  • reading materials - sports related books in center, including nonfiction and fiction

Questioning Examples

These guiding questions can be used to assist the teacher, instructional assistant, or parent volunteers in supporting children's development and learning during play.

  • What structure did you create and what materials did you use?
  • How could you change your structure into something new?
  • Why did you use these materials? What would happen if you changed the materials?
  • Which contractor did you pretend to be and why?
  • How will people use your structure or building?


This center can be set up with the following areas included: a open area to store cardboard boxes, and other large building materials. Students can spread out and stack boxes or create a wide structure as long as there is an open area. Baskets, containers, or bins should be provided to store plastic tools, golf tees, pipes, gloves, cones, etc. A basket/tote with books about architectural styles and shapes, contractor professions, and construction materials should also be in the center for students to explore. In addition, writing prompt papers for students to have the opportunity to write and draw as an architect(see attached prompt). Also, encourage children to try different roles. Limited furniture should be in the area for this center because students will need area to move freely and interact safely.

This center should allow for enough space for at least three students to play with the furniture and props.  The dramatic play center should be located in an area of the room that enables students to communicate without disrupting other children's work and play.

Photo Examples

Literature Connections

Many literature connections exist for this topic and can be read to students before introduction of the center or during learning of the theme of construction. These books can also be placed in the center for independent exploration by the children. The following are a few suggestions:

"Building A House" by Byron Barton

"Amazing Buildings" by Kate Hayden

"When I Build With Blocks" by Niki Alling

"Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building" by Christy Hale

"Look at that Building!: A First Book of Structures" by Scot Ritchie

"Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site" by Sheri Duskey Rinker

"How a House is Built" by Gail Gibbons

"Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction" by James Dean

Downloadable Resources

This is a center sign to be used at the construction site

Download: construction_site_sign_final_ZZXNe4A.docx

This is a writing prompt paper for students to use in the center.

Download: architect_blueprint_writing_2.docx

Clip art credit:  www.clipartbest.com

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