We are the Play Learning Lab, run by Dr. Angela Pyle at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto.

© 2020 by Play Learning Lab



Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

45 Walmer Road, Room 320
Toronto, ON M5R 2X2


Collaborative Play

Learning Goals: Literacy, Reading, Writing, Mutually-Directed Play

What did this class do?

  • The educator introduced the students to the idea of creating a restaurant in their dramatic play centre.

  • As a class, the educator and students discussed what they would find in a restaurant as well as brainstormed the features and materials needed to create their restaurant centre.

  • Next, the educator used classroom resources and found materials for the students to create menus, signs, and money.

  • With the support of the educator, the children took on various roles in the restaurant such as customers, servers, or chefs.

  • The educator integrated literacy into the restaurant by supporting children in writing menus, signs, and receipts. To facilitate their writing, the educator helped children reference classroom resources, such as a word wall to identify common words, and the alphabet to help identify letter sounds.

Suggested Resources:

  • Pretend food

  • Coins/bills

  • Plates, cutlery, bowls and other tableware

  • Play kitchen and accessories

  • Cardboard, construction paper, markers and crayons

Why is it Collaborative Play?

  • Both the educator and children shared control over the direction and outcome of creating and playing in the restaurant.

  • The educator initiated this play context with the children based off their interest in restaurants.