All Things Small – Bug Dramatic Play

Overhead shot of a child decorating a bug-themed craft project on a bright green table.

Ready, set, play! We're on our way to the All Things Small Ball!

In the form of dramatic play, drama is often the key to opening up your child’s ability to imagine, empathize, and self-regulate.

If you have a kiddo with a flair for the dramatic or who is fascinated by bugs and other tiny things, read on for more about the benefits of dramatic play and a fun, structured dramatic play activity everyone can enjoy.

Items recommended (but not required) for the “All Things Small Ball” activity

  • Bottle of shrinking potion
  • 2 Puppets, one for introducing the activity and one puppet for giving instructions (one puppet is also fine!)
  • Table children can crawl under
  • Bell to ring for transitions (a pot or pan to bang on can also be used here!)
  • Names and descriptions for each animal the children will meet
  • Music and Speaker for Freeze Dance
  • Mat or an item to designate a gateway
  • Freeze Dance Song
  • Wand, scarf, magical object to dancing with at the ball

Magic Bug Jars Art Activity
Below, available for download, are our hand-drawn illustrations for your kiddo to color their Magic Bug Jar, including bugs

Without further ado, we introduce our dramatic play adventure:

“THE ALL THINGS SMALL BALL!”

Magic Bug Jar
AGES

2.5 - 6

SET UP & COLORING

20 minutes

PLAY TIME

25 - 35 minutes

Dramatic Play Activity

rabbit hole 1

Invitation to All Things Small Ball

This adventure will begin with a bottle of shrinking potion (see our supplies list to see how to make this!)

rabbit hole 2

Activate shrinking potion

Do this by shaking the magic onto the child. To complete the activation and shrink themselves down, the children must jump 10 times, twirl 3 times, and clap twice!

rabbit hole 3

A puppet welcomes them to an obstacle course​

Kids get to take turns:
• Jumping to giant flower and smelling it
• Tiptoeing to a huge raindrop puddle and jumping over it
• Crawling under an enormous shoe (a table)
• Spin-steps to meet another puppet who has the next set of instructions ring a bell when they complete the obstacle course!

For each obstacle listed above, children can use their imagination to visualize the flower, puddle, or shoe, or you can get creative and find objects around your house to use for these!

rabbit hole 4

Ride their favorite little creature​

Now each child will pretend to ride to the ball on a beautiful small creature. Think caterpillars, mice, fairies, dragonflies, and ladybugs! Each child may choose their own creature, or you can choose one small creature they think the entire group would enjoy.

rabbit hole 5

Introduce the creatures

After your children’s creature of choice is made, dramatically introduce the imaginary creatures and pretend to lead by the reins over to the group. Each creature gets a name, a brief description of how they look, and what they like to eat.

Ex: Ah! This caterpillar is named Sparklehorse. As you can see (and hear!), she moves gracefully on all one hundred feet and wears purple tap shoes. She is golden and very fuzzy with rosy cheeks. Her favorite food is chocolate-covered pizza — do you have some to feed her?”

rabbit hole 6

Feed their creatures

The children watch the display as an audience, as the you bring over all the imaginary creatures until every child has one by the reins, and they feed their special creature.

After your children’s creature of choice is made, dramatically introduce the imaginary creatures and pretend to lead by the reins over to the group. Each creature gets a name, a brief description of how they look, and what they like to eat.

Ex: Ah! This caterpillar is named Sparklehorse. As you can see (and hear!), she moves gracefully on all one hundred feet and wears purple tap shoes. She is golden and very fuzzy with rosy cheeks. Her favorite food is chocolate-covered pizza — do you have some to feed her?”

rabbit hole 7

Ride to All Things Small Ball

Finally, you will say, “It’s time to head to the All Things Small Ball!” Play music as everyone pretends to ride their animal to the ball. A good tip here is to have the children in a circle going in the same direction.

You can stop for obstacles along the way. Such as, “Watch out—it’s a giant puppy!” or “Be careful—it’s a child’s foot!” Ride through the Wildflower Forest, and then arrive at the ball!

rabbit hole 8

Enter ballroom

Finally, you will say, “It’s time to head to the All Things Small Ball!” Play music as everyone pretends to ride their animal to the ball. A good tip here is to have the children in a circle going in the same direction.

You can stop for obstacles along the way. Such as, “Watch out—it’s a giant puppy!” or “Be careful—it’s a child’s foot!” Ride through the Wildflower Forest, and then arrive at the ball!

rabbit hole 9

DANCE PARTY!!!

Finally, you will say, “It’s time to head to the All Things Small Ball!” Play music as everyone pretends to ride their animal to the ball. A good tip here is to have the children in a circle going in the same direction.

You can stop for obstacles along the way. Such as, “Watch out—it’s a giant puppy!” or “Be careful—it’s a child’s foot!” Ride through the Wildflower Forest, and then arrive at the ball!

Kids stepping into their imaginations

What is Dramatic Play?

Dramatic play is when children assign roles to toys or other objects and then act out different scenarios. It allows children to imagine situations outside of their normal lives. They can pretend to be someone different, feel different feelings, and imagine all kinds of situations for themselves!

There are two types of dramatic play, called structured and unstructured. Unstructured dramatic play is when children can assign their own roles and create their own situations.

Our All Things Small activity is an example of structured play, where children are pre-assigned roles and are provided with a scenario they have to navigate through and make their own decisions!

Both types of dramatic play are fun and exciting for children! They provide an enriching activity for their development!

Dramatic Play

Benefits of Dramatic Play

Dramatic play allows children’s imagination to expand and helps to build skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Here are some ways dramatic play is beneficial for children:

  • Conflict-resolution – Dramatic play encourages children to consider a problem and come up with solutions on their own. Usually, during unstructured dramatic play, children will resolve their conflicts naturally because they can consider alternative perspectives.
  • Allows you to support your kids and encourage their ideas – From a parent’s perspective, you can learn a lot about what makes your child happy, sad, excited, or frustrated by watching how they move through dramatic play.

Now that we know why dramatic play is beneficial to helping your kids step into their imaginations and creativity enjoy our structured dramatic play activity called “All Things Small: Bug Dramatic Play!”

dramatic play

Dramatic play additional activities

story time

Kids love listening to imaginative and creative stories. Here are a few stories that we read in the studio to transition between activities:

Closing circle

Below are a few of The Rabbit Hole original songs to learn and sing-along with your kids while the All Things Small Ball comes to an end: 

Thank you for exploring all things small with us through dramatic play! 

We hope that this structured activity helps your child feel free to imagine, create, and experiment with new ideas through play.

Check out our other blog entries for more activities and information about the developmental benefits of and uses for dramatic play!

Theater Activity Kits

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Mary Eriette Atanante

Teacher and Characters

  • Favorite Character:  Sabirel
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Camelot

Mary has been a teacher at The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater for the last four years. You can find her teaching a class, creating activity books, dressing up and performing for kids or jamming at a birthday party! 

A recent graduate from San Francisco State University studying Theater and Communications,  Mary  loves to help children unlock their imaginations and motivate them to create the wonderful ideas in their mind!

Chelsey Mony

Teacher

  • Favorite Character:  Alice 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Wonderland

Chelsey is an actress, dancer, improviser and has an exuberant passion for musical theater. Her love of theater began when she was a little girl.

When she is not helping those in need, she found joy in performing in a community theater group in Las Vegas- having starred in multiple shows for the past 5 years.

Chelsey  moved to the Bay Area in 2019, and  joined the Rabbit Hole team. Her love of theater and wonder will be an excellent asset to the team as she encourages children to find their own unique love of theater and wonder.

Creating a safe space for children to exercise their imagination and creativity is her mission in this work.

Melania 'Mel' Rivas

Head of Product Development

  • Favorite Character:  Sailor Moon 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Neverland

Mel is an eclectic, curious and creative individual who has learned and experimented with many different arts & crafts forms since she was a little kid.

Fascinated by the healing power of art and its ability to express our inner worlds, she has pursued and completed studies in art, early childhood education and psychology.

Mel has taught bilingual exploratory art to children during the last 5 years and now she makes use of her passion for creativity and children’s education to bring The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater ideas to life for kids all over the world to enjoy!

Strider Patton

Project management

  • Favorite Character:  Wizard Merlin
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Invisibility
  • Favorite storybook land: Middle Earth

Strider Patton is founder and director, Brooke’s, husband and partner in The Rabbit Hole. A third generation self taught artist, Strider grew up appreciating and making art.

He is a professional contemporary visual artist himself, specializing in sculpture, murals and studio art. When he is not in his studio or on an installation, he is working with The Rabbit Hole Crew. Building sets, designing products, creative planning and the occasional puppet show keep Strider involved with the company from many angles.

He has worked with youth and communities since he was young, valuing the role that creative expression plays in individuals and communities lives.

Ariella Cooley

Head Creator.Sound Designer.Teacher

  • Favorite Character: Pirate
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flower Power
  • Favorite storybook land: Narnia

Ariella Cooley has been teaching and creating at The Rabbit Hole since 2017. As a lead teacher, she uses theater games, song, dance, masks, puppetry, and crafts to tell stories with the kiddos in her class.

As sound designer, she pulls from her classroom experience to make the Rabbit Hole Queendom come to life aurally. Crafting whimsical underscores, creating kooky sound effects, and finding expressive character voices make her tasks endlessly enjoyable!

Ariella earned her B.A in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz, focusing primarily on acting and directing. Her work as a vocalist and songwriter inspired her expansion to audio production and theatrical sound design.

At Rabbit Hole, she is able to tap into all of these artistic loves and fold them into her work with children.

Meryl Theo Press

Head Creator.Illustrator.Teacher

    • Favorite Character: A drowsy cat with a cupcake farm  
    • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying 
    • Favorite storybook land: Narnia not under the white witch’s rule

    Meryl Theo Press has an affinity for play. She brings humor, music, visual art, and empathy to her work at Rabbit Hole. With these tools she enjoys creating magical worlds for kids to inhabit, in order to stimulate their imaginations, encourage self-expression, and nourish joy.

    In the classroom, her focus is on “seeing” the child. In her illustrations, Meryl appreciates detail and seeks a thread of storytelling. In summoning voices for Rabbit Hole’s audio plays, she digs deep and scoops out the absurd characters within. She uses her longtime love of singing to bring musical elements to Rabbit Hole classes and productions.

    Meryl studied printmaking and painting at California College of the Arts and has performed with various bands in San Francisco, the United States, and Europe. She has been a part of Rabbit Hole since 2016. Meryl’s 9 year old daughter Vida is her most treasured and valuable collaborator.

Brooke Patton

Owner.Founder.Director 

  • Favorite Character: Glinda  
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Ice Magic 
  • Favorite storybook land: The Shire 

Brooke Patton spent that last decade in the classroom developing an imaginary play method designed to nurture creative confidence in early childhood education. She founded The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater in 2012.

Having spent the first 8 years in the classroom she’ created heartfelt experiences for kids both in and out of the classroom. She’s developed lesson plans, theatrical kits, creative classes and productions all designed to nurture children’s creative development.

She comes from a strong foundation in theatrical arts and graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City where she studied Musical Theater. Brooke also holds a strong passion for human development linking the connection play servers for children’s creative development.

Her method is rooted in celebrating the creative process and honoring ideas that come from the child. Allowing kids to discover the depths to their creative potential and grow up with a sense of worthiness around their ideas.

She is a mother to an incredible little girl and loves her family with her whole heart.