Land of make believe

Add to My Folder

This content has not been rated yet. (Write a review)

By Jenni Tavenerearly years teacher and writer

Let imaginations run wild with some exciting fantasy role play

Fantasy role play

Cave play

Create an imaginary cave in the role-play area to inspire the children’s play based on fantasy themes such as a dragon’s den, a pirate’s hideaway and Aladdin’s cave. Drape dark fabric across a sturdy structure, for example, a climbing frame or playhouse.

Alternatively, staple fabric to a display board and let it hang in rough folds to represent rugged rocks. Arrange a cluster of large floor cushions, cardboard boxes or tables in front of the rugged rocks and cover them in additional dark fabrics to create a safe and cosy den for a dragon.

Decorate the cave to represent ‘Aladdin’s cave’. Hang spirals of shiny paper from the ceiling, stick colourful shiny shapes on the walls and sprinkle shiny confetti over the floor. Make a simple lamp by covering a 2D lamp shape with silver foil.

Adapt the cave to create a pirate’s hideaway, for example, paint a sheet of fabric to represent a pirate’s flag, make child-drawn maps look old using teabag stains, and provide an upturned box or wooden crate for a pirate’s table. Scatter the area with pirates’ hats, headscarves and eyepatches.

Suggested resources

Cave role-play area; climbing frame or playhouse; large floor cushions; cardboard boxes or tables; dark fabric; shiny paper; shiny fabrics; toy or child-made lamp; large rectangle of black paper or fabric; thick white paint; wavy-edged paper or pages torn from an old map; wet teabags; wooden crate or box; pirates’ hats, headscarves and eyepatches.

1 A dragon’s den

Play a game of ‘musical dragons’ around the cave

Knowledge and Understanding of the World


Development matters: show interest in toys with buttons and flaps and simple mechanisms and begin to learn to operate them (16-26 months); seek to acquire basic skills in turning on and operating some ICT equipment (22-36 months).

Early learning goal: find out about and identify the uses of everyday technology and use information and communication technology and programmable toys to support their learning.

What you need

Group size: small groups.

Subscriber-only content

Scholastic Resource Bank: Early Years - subscribe today!

  • Over 2,000 early years resources, activity ideas and games
  • Perfect for anyone working or playing with children from 0 to 5 years old
  • Unlimited access – only £15 per year!