What child at one point or another has not wanted to be a veterinarian when they grow up? They would get to play with 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 learning opportunities 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, some students could portray the pet owners, one student could be the vet, and another could take on the role of the receptionist. After the vet performs the play procedure, the pet owner then 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, the practice beginning money concepts.
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. Through play in a pet vet center, there are many math learning opportunities for students.
Vet Animal 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 stethoscope, syringe, and thermometer. They may have heard some of these words when visiting their pediatrician, but the center will help them to transfer words they already know to new situations. Overall, having a veterinarian dramatic play center helps students learn and use new vocabulary words specific to the medical field.
There are also many learning opportunities for animal science within a pet vet dramatic play center. Many kindergarten teachers already focus on teaching what animals need in order to survive like water, food, and shelter. This can take that study a step further by showing that sometimes animals also need extra care when they are injured or sick.
Students can also observe differences in animals through this center. When giving the different types of animals a check-up, they can make comparisons between birds, reptiles (snakes and lizards), pet fish, and even pet mammals (dogs and cats). The X-ray pictures that I included 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 differently on the outside.
Other Learning Opportunities
Not only can students learn more about animals, learn new medical vocabulary, and even practice important kindergarten math concepts like counting and money, but they can also learn much more! They can learn how to work together through taking on different roles, work on their writing skills by making lists and receipts, and even learn how to sort and group like things as they clean up the center. Even better, they won’t even feel like they are learning because they will have so much fun pretending to be in a real veterinary office!