For part of our forest theme preschool unit, I put together these adorable felt masks to add to our dramatic play center. Usually, when we think dramatic play we think of dress up clothes for princesses and superheroes, but these simple animal masks were just as big of a hit for my preschoolers.
On my Pinterest board Forest Theme, I have pinned these super cute, incredibly adorable child-sized woodland masks by the seller Mahalo. This seller has a fabulous collection of pretend play masks, superhero capes, and baby costumes. For my forest theme preschool unit, however, I sewed my own set of four felt masks, pictured above. I made up my own pattern as I went along, but let me be clear, I got all my inspiration from Mahalo, not from my own creative self. I just printed out a child-sized mask from the internet as my template and embellished it. That being said, I wanted to share my readers the fun my kiddies have had with these felt forest animals masks.
Our Favorite Picture Books about Forests and Animals
]We get the most use out of these masks during preschool. They are a popular pretend play option during choice centers time. I keep them in a little basket with Safari Ltd Wild Safari North American Wildlife TOOB and our S&S Worldwide Forest Animals (Set of 12) set of small, plastic animal figurines. What I appreciate about these masks is that they store so nicely!
What I appreciate about these masks is that they store so nicely! Sometimes dramatic play costumes can take up a huge amount of space, and well, being an in-home preschool space is a valuable commodity. These forest animal felt masks are a great compromise. They provide hours or pretend play fun without taking up multiple drawers and hangers.
For more information about the benefits of pretend play, see my post The Benefits of Dramatic Play In Early Childhood Education.
My students love to put on these masks and appropriately act out the part of the animal. The fox will pounce on a mouse, and the raccoon will try to be extra tricky. The owl will often look down wisely from a chair and the swoop in for a mouse, while the skunk will make the rounds and giggle while everyone says, “Ooh, stinky skunk.” (The skunk is by far the most popular mask).
Frequently, the students will put on the masks and play pretend with the forest animal figurines from the basket, as William and Corinne are doing here. While I try not to set too many parameters for pretend and dramatic play, I do request that the students use the masks as they are intended. For example, not as superheroes. (That is what the superhero masks and wrist cuffs are for).
For ideas of how to add more dramatic play to your home or preschool, see my post 70 Ideas For Pretend Play.
Some of our Favorite Dramatic Play Costumes and Props
I know that may be controversial, as some educators believe that children should have the ultimate say in how they use provided materials, including dramatic play costumes. And I have written before about how I appreciate the ingenuity of my students. However, by encouraging the children to use these masks like the animals they are intended to be, the children will use what they are learning from our forest preschool theme to add to the content of their play. For example, the owl will hunt at night, while the fox will sneak away to a den made of blankets and pillows.
These masks are that they are such a valuable addition to our dress-up clothes. They do not take up very much space. These masks make it easy for my children and preschool students to get into character without having to provide them with a tremendous amount of props, which is always a challenge for a home-based preschool.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction