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Child's Play Home | Preschool Themes | Prop Box Ideas

Prop Box Ideas

A Prop Box should only be limited by your imagination!  It should be filled with all kinds of wonderful materials for dramatic play.  The following list includes many things that you can purchase at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and discount stores.  When aware of the need some businesses will donate items - a hotel might donate their old keys, a fabric store may donate old fabric remnants.  Try to use adult sized props when you seem to prefer the "real" thing.  Props can be stored in a number of ways - some readily available at all times - others stored away and brought out at special times. 

When setting up your different prop themes add pictures from magazines, books, tapes/cd's, anything you can find in the house that relates to the chosen theme to add to the imagination of the children. 

Also See:
Costume Ideas for Dramatic Play, Hallowe'en or anything in between!

Astronaut:  helmet, costume, moon rocks, space ship (painted boxes), flag, space blanket (silver emergency blanket works nicely),  pictures of astronauts, constellation posters, dried food packets (granola), oxygen tanks (2 litre plastic pop bottles with aquarium air hoses, taped together; add loops of string so it fits over a child's shoulders); moon boots, helmet
Baby:  small (doll size) blankets , baby dolls, baby bottles (plastic), rattles, pacifiers, teethers, diapers, empty baby powder container, baby doll clothes, burp cloths               

Barber Shop/Beauty Salon:  cape (to drape shoulders), combs, a towel, hair clips, fake scissors (make out of heavy cardboard and attach two pieces with a fastener), a mirror, empty shampoo, conditioner & hairspray bottles, curlers, barrettes, ponytail fasteners (make sure they are the coated kind), dolls with hair, broom & dustpan, chair, plastic tub for washing hair, old blowdryer with cord cut off, old curling iron with cord cut off, cash register, money, telephone, appointment book, pencils, old hairstyle books or pics from magazines pasted into book, 

Beach:  blanket, sunglasses, thongs, radio, swim suits, beach ball, towels, ice chest, pictures of the beach, summer tapes (like the Beach Boys),  buckets, pails, sand tools/scoops, sand moulds, beach chairs,  umbrella, empty suntan lotion bottles, books about the beach, coloured sand for sand art, pictures of people at the beach, a sun for decoration, tapes with ocean sounds, sarongs/cover-ups for bathing suits., beach bags,  swim fins, face mask, snorkel tubes, beach hats and visors, sea shells, plastic fish, wading pool (outdoor), 

Camping:  sleeping bags, pillows, camp stove(cardboard box), wood, hiking maps, back packs, flashlights or lanterns, tent and cooking utensils, canteen, picnic lunch, binoculars, plastic picnic set, small cooler 

Carpentry/Painters/Construction Workers: hard hats, plastic tools, toolbox & tools, measuring tape,  lunch boxes, blue prints, empty paint cans, pipe fittings, golf tees for nails, styrofoam to hammer golf tees into and pictures of people building, paint caps, paint sticks, rollers, rolling pans, paint samples, aprons, brushes, step stool 

Castle/Prince/Princess:  cone shaped princess hats, crowns, silver and gold shoes, robes (red capes with white fur), princess dresses, cardboard castle, round cardboard tubes and squares for building the castle, 

Dance:  scarves and streamers, tutus(make your own with colorful tulle - fold in half and sew a 1 inch pocket along fold - insert elastic and gather; tie elastic at side to form a circle), ballet slippers, vests with colorful and noise making bobbles attached, slip-on cloth slippers with bells attached.

Farm:  overalls, pail, straw, animal brush, empty feed bag, stuffed animals, plastic animal sets, paint a large cardboard box red for a barn, 

Firestation:  hats, yellow raincoats, red shirts, black boots, oxygen tanks (made out of 2 liter pop bottles), oxygen masks (goggles), short pieces of hose, 

Fishing:  fishing poles (with bobber & magnet for a hook), plastic worms, plastic fish (with magnets), bucket, fishing net, old clothes, sun hat, gumboots/galoshes, sunglasses, lunch box, lake maps, fish pictures.

Garden:  Large tub (sand/water table), dirt, gardening gloves, seeds or bulbs, gardening tools,  paper, markers and craft sticks to make little "signs" to tell what you planted, watering can, plastic pots, artificial plants & flowers, 

Grocery Store:   shopping bags, cart, money, cash register, sign, coupons, telephone, baskets, and pictures of foods, receipt tapes (save from grocery stores), empty food boxes (cut a piece of florist foam to fit snugly inside boxes - it will help hold its shape)

Hawaiian Isle:  hawaiian dresses (moomoos), leis (make them from wads of colored tissue paper on a string), grass skirts (made out of green crepe paper - a one time use prop!), tapes/CDs of Hawaiian music, silk/plastic flowers, (see Beach Theme)

To make a moomoo:  With brightly flower print material  cut out two pieces (30"x20") for each moomoo.  Sew up the (30") side seams to within 12 inches from the top.  Separate the material and fold over the salvage edges of the ((12 inches) side seams and sew each piece to finish the edges of the last 12 inches.  Hem the top and bottom edges.  (it should now resemble a large tube)  Lay the dress down with side seams to outside and tie the ends to form knots at each shoulder leaving room for little arms to go through. 

Hospital:  white lab coats, nurses cap, stethoscope, medical bag, tongue depressors, shower caps (for surgeon caps), bandages, gauze, medicine bottles, toy medical kit

Ice Cream Truck:  Paint a large box (with a lid that can be opened like a freezer door) white and attach to the inside of a child size wheelbarrow.  Attach a bell to the handle - to create the sound of the ice cream truck.  As a project for the kids have them make "popsicles & fudgsicles" out of heavy cardboard and paint and attach to a popsicle stick!  Make cones out of heavy paper or use the dispenser type cone shaped paper cups.  For "scoops" of ice cream purchase colorful large pompoms.  Other items to include:  ice cream scoop, money, white jacket, hat/visor, coin changer/fannypack, 

Magician: hat, gloves, cape, magic wand, tablecloth, flowers, scarves, cards, stuffed animals, cardboard boxes, tv tray or table

Movie Theater:  Chairs for theatre, tables for refreshments and to sell tickets, television set, cash register, money, cups for drinks, flashlight for usher, popcorn boxes, tickets, aprons for snack attendants, jacket for ushers, movie theatre sign 

Office Worker/Secretary:  writing pads, pencils, phone, phonebook, typewriter & paper, keyboard, phone message pads, file folders with printed material inside(junkmail), envelopes, stamps, stamp pads, desk (or small table) with deskpad, chairs, neckties, suitjackets, stamp/stickers, stapler (minus the staples), old briefcase, large plastic coated paperclips,

Picnic:  blanket, picnic basket, dishes, food, plastic ants and pictures of people picnicing.

Pizza Maker:   different sized pizza boxes (small, med, and large) from a pizza restaurant and the  cardboard circles they put pizzas "to go" on. Cut and glue a  piece of beige felt to each cardboard circles (pizza crust).  Cut red felt circles 1/2 inch smaller than the cardboard circles(sauce).  Cut some circles into slices.  Cut up some white yarn for mozzarella cheese, tan  felt mushrooms, reddish brown felt rounds  for sausage, red felt oriunds dotted with black marker for pepperoni,  green felt in the shape of sliced green peppers, black felt rounds for olives.  Other items: menus, cash register, money, phone, pens and pads, aprons, cooks hats, plastic pizza wheel, napkins, plates, (See Restaurant)

Police Station:  Police officer hats and badges, black belts, walkie talkies, telephone, 
phonebook, pads of paper and pencils (for ticket books), table and chairs (front desk), small clipboards for issuing tickets, 911 signs, stamp pads, posters or pictures of police officers (make sure to include female officers), two large empty boxes (decorate one to resemble a jail the other squad car), safety stickers, safety brochures from your local police station, 

Post Office: mail boxes (shoe boxes), mail bags, postman's hat, envelopes, cancelled stamps, rubber stamp and ink pads, pencil and paper, money, telephone, scale, junk mail, small boxes wrapped for mailing, mailing sign, pictures of post office activities.

Repair Shop:  Clipboard, telephone book, pieces of coated wire, measuring tape, rulers, 
pencils, scrap wood, tools: vice grip, wrench, screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, oil can, plastic goggles, plastic hard hats, penlights, aprons, broken appliances with cords cut off, nuts and bolts, gloves, telephone, toolbox, workbench or table, posters or pictures of mechanics at work 

Restaurant:  hats, aprons, cups, straws, napkins, menus, order pads and pencils, (dishes from house area), serving tray, plastic food, cash register, money (See Pizza Maker)

School:  chalkboard, chalk and erasers, report cards, write and wipe calendar, hand bell,
whistle, clock, stickers, teacher's desk or table, notebooks, paper, pencils, crayons, stapler (minus the staples), text books, self-inking stamps, desks 

Transportation(airport/train/bus):  small chairs, hats , tickets, a hole punch, rubber stamps, ink pads, table, old suitcases (small), and pictures of airplanes, buses, and trains, conductor's hat and vest,  dress up clothes for traveller's, train whistle, 

Travel:  maps, travel books and pictures, car keys, tickets, money, suitcase, clothes, grooming items, pajamas and sunglasses, travel brochures from local travel agent

Veterinarian:  Stuffed animals, cardboard boxes for cages, medical bag, animal dishes, leashes, bandages, empty bag of cat and dog food, telephone book, appointment book, lab coats, rubber gloves, stethescope, tongue depressors, old electric razor(with blades and cord removed),  blankets,  small animal carrier,  small tub for bathing the animals, baby bottles, medicine bottles, shampoo bottles...etc.. 

Wedding Party:  full length mirror, table, veils, wedding dress (or old communion dress), fake flowers, fake boutinieres, garter belt, rings, bracelets/necklaces, men's blazers, high heeled shoes, white dress shirts, ties, fancy dresses, paper bells to hang. Hang a "Just Married" sign on the back of the little red coupe! 

Western:  straw hats, ropes, boots, denim vests, bandanas, cowboy shirts, chaps, saddle, stick horses, campfire and pictures of cowboys on the range.

Do you have a prop box idea to share?
Send us your prop box ideas!

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