The author is a student at the University of Georgia who loves movies, books, and kids.
Hello, Happy Hospital Dramatic Play!
The goal of this activity is to give children the opportunity to learn about hospital tools and procedures as well as express any fears or misconceptions about the hospital.
- Children will use their creativity to act out the roles of doctors, nurses, and patients.
- Children will demonstrate their knowledge of the hospital by acting out medical procedures.
- Children will show their gross and fine motor skills by manipulating the tools provided.
Rationale for the Activity
This dramatic play activity provides an opportunity for children to creatively express themselves (DAP, p.175) and a time to interact with one another to improve social development (DAP, p.127). Young children need extended time to interact with one another to become socially competent.
- Georgia PreK Content Standard CD3a: Participates in dramatic play to express feelings, dramatize stories, reenact real-life roles and experiences.
- Georgia PreK Content Standard HPD3a: Participates in activities related to health and personal care routine.
- Ace bandages
- Syringes without needles
- Latex gloves
- Small flashlights
- Tongue depressors
- Reflex hammer
- Blood pressure cuff
- Surgical masks, scrubs, lab coats
- Clipboards, paper, and pens
- Stuffed animals or dolls with arms and legs
- Mats, pillows, blankets
Introducing the Area
Read the book Curious George Goes to the Hospital during large group and talk about what the hospital is like.
Invite a doctor to visit the class and talk to the children during large group. Have them wear scrubs and bring some equipment (i.e., stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, etc.) and pictures of a hospital. They can explain the purpose of each tool and what doctors in a hospital do. Suggested phrases:
- Doctors are people who help you feel better when you are sick.
- They wear clothes like I am wearing, and put on gloves and a mask to protect you from germs.
- They use many tools like these to find out how to help you.
- The doctor may use this stethoscope to listen to your heart like this.
- In a hospital, you may stay in a bed like this one.
- Have you ever been to the hospital?
- What was it like? Were you scared?
The teacher or the doctor can demonstrate how to give a shot, wrap and bandage, and listen to the heart of a stuffed animal.
Detailed Procedure and Questions to Ask Children
1. Set up the dramatic play area to look like a hospital with a waiting room and hospital rooms.
2. Encourage children to play various roles in the hospital like the patients, doctors, and nurses.
- What role do you want to play?
3. Encourage children to gently use the equipment on each other or on the stuffed animals.
- These animals can be your patients, or your friends can play the patients.
- Be gentle when you wrap their arm.
4. Play the role of a nurse or patient in order to participate with the children while still allowing them to direct their own play.
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- How can I help you, doctor? What can I do to help the patient?
5. Ask children about their own experiences in the hospital and encourage them to act them out.
- Have you ever been to the hospital before?
- What happened there?
- Did your parents stay with you?
- What did the doctors and nurses do? Were they nice?
- What did you like about the hospital?
6. Help children use the bandages, syringes, etc. on their “patients.”
- Doctor, can I show you how the syringe works? You put it on the patient’s arm like this and push this button down. Now you can do it!
- Be aware of any misconceptions that children might reveal in their dramatic play. For example, you may have to explain that both men and women can be doctors and nurses or that shots are not usually given in the eyes.
- You may have to help some children join the playgroup or negotiate a disagreement. Carefully observe the play and assist when needed.
This activity plan was created by K. McMichael, CHFD 5130 student, University of Georgia.
This activity plan was inspired by Bales, D. W., Coleman, M., & Wallinga, C. (2004). Teaching Basic Health and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroom. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Department of Child and Family Development.
sofia franco on March 19, 2017:
I really love this lesson plan! thank you for sharing!
McKenna Meyers on October 28, 2015:
Awesome! Children learn so much from dramatic play -- vocabulary, role-playing, imagination, sharing, and cooperation. The preschools are doing it right! Now parents need to stand up and fight for developmentally appropriate practices like this in kindergarten. Too many parents are being told that there's something wrong with their children when, in reality, there's something wrong with the educational system that expects too much too soon. Great job!
kmcmichael (author) from Athens, Georgia on February 06, 2011:
I'm so glad you agree! I'm glad that what I am learning in college is applicable in a real early childhood setting.
KristenGrace from Philadelphia, PA on February 05, 2011:
I work in an early childhood setting, and I agree 100% with the ideas you have included in your description of a Dramatic Play plan for a hospital. Wonderful work - Thanks for sharing!