Many young children have wanted to be veterinarians when they grow up at one point or another. They would get to play with lots of animals all day, help others, and even get to wear a super cool white lab coat. That is why I loved creating a Pet Vet Animal Hospital Dramatic Play Center in my classroom! Not only do students love it, but it also provides them with many meaningful learning experiences that feel like play.
Math In Vet Dramatic Play
There are several math concepts that you can address through a pet vet dramatic play center. For example, your students can play interactive games where some students portray the pet owners, one student plays the vet, and another takes on the receptionist role. After the vet performs the play procedure, the pet owner pays the receptionist for the services provided. As students look at the cost of services, they practice number recognition. When they “pay” for the services, they practice beginning money concepts. In addition, they get a sense of responsibility that comes with money.
Students have even more math learning opportunities within a vet center when taking inventory of the medical supplies. The students who take inventory can count cotton balls, Band-Aids, and cotton swabs, and record each number on an inventory recording sheet. Each medical supply acts as a counting collection to help students master one-to-one correspondence and writing numbers.
Veterinary Hospital Vocabulary
Another way students can learn through a pet vet dramatic play center is by hearing and using new vocabulary words. For my center, I like to designate areas for grooming, an operating room, and even a recovery room. Those words are probably not ones that kindergarteners typically use. However, within a pet vet center, they will quickly learn and use the words correctly.
They can also learn the meanings of other vocabulary associated with doctors like stethoscopes, syringes, and thermometers. They may have heard some of these words when visiting their pediatrician, but the center helps them transfer words they already know to new situations. The best part about teaching vocabulary to my students is it helps strengthen their literacy skills and makes learning fun!
There are also many fun learning opportunities for animal science within a pet vet dramatic play center. Many kindergarten teachers already teach what animals need to survive, like water, food, and shelter. You can take these concepts a step further by showing that animals also need extra care when injured or sick. In addition, you can teach about the different habitats animals live in, the difference between farm animals and domestic animals, and endangered animals!
Students can also observe differences in animals through this center. When giving the different types of animals a check-up, they can compare a variety of animals like birds, reptiles (snakes and lizards), pet fish, and even pet mammals (dogs and cats). The X-ray pictures in my Pet Vet Animal Hospital Dramatic Play Center can help with these comparisons. Students can see that animals are very different on the inside, just as they look different on the outside.
Other Learning Opportunities
Not only can students learn more about animals, learn new medical vocabulary, and practice important kindergarten math concepts like counting and money, but they can also learn much more! For example, they can learn how to work together through taking on different roles, work on their writing skills by making lists and receipts, and learn how to sort and group things as they clean up the center. Even better, they won’t feel like they are learning because they will have so much fun pretending to be in an actual veterinary office!