This is a fun dramatic play set-up you can do at home with very little expense, and it will last you up to a month! Set up a vet’s office in your child’s room and give them the opportunity to feel what it would be like to be a veterinary doctor.

Best Ages for This Activity

Three to five.

How to Prepare

Choose a space in your child’s room or in the playroom where you can set up a dramatic play area and leave it for a few days or weeks. This time let’s set it up as a vet’s office or hospital.

What You Will Need
This is really up to you. Dramatic Play is an activity where your child gets to use their imagination, so you don’t really need to buy all of the items I am suggesting below. Use them as ideas, and then make your own with your child, or use what you already have around the house.

Here are some things we use at our CEFA Early Learning schools when we set up a vet’s office for children to play:

  • A lab coat or scrubs and accessories (you an improvise with clothes you have at home).
  • A stethoscope or this one (included in the sets above) and medical instruments, like this or this. I will use this set for other dramatic play activities I post in the future
  • Crates for your vet’s office (you can get a set like this or this you can look around the house for similar items, like your own pet’s crate. If not, you can make one out of a cardboard box)
  • Animals (the patients) – not real ones just soft toys your child already has. If you can, get animals that are generally household pets (like cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, etc.). Here are some:
    • Dogs

    • Cats

    • Rabbits

    • Lizards and snakes

  • A clipboard and note paper for your child to do the intake of the patients. Here is a free printable intake form that I designed for you to use.
  • A small table where they can examine the animals
  • Treats to give the animals after their visit, to make them feel more comfortable
  • A scale to weigh the animals
  • A sign or logo your child can design for their veterinary’s office
  • An old phone and computer for them to “admit” the patients
  • A chair or bench for their waiting room
  • A cozy place for the animals if they need to wait
  • X-rays of animals for your child to examine. I have included a few here that you can print for free. Be mindful of what your child is ready to see – some might look a little scary.
  • You can also use a tracing pad, which is used for so many activities!

What to Do

  • Talk to your child about pets they know (maybe you have a pet, or perhaps a friend or a neighbour does). Talk about what veterinarians do, how they learn to take care of the animals, what happens when animals go to the vet, or to an animal hospital, and see what your child is interested in. Relate the dramatic play to the real life experiences your child has with pets. Even if you don’t have a pet at home, every child has had experiences with pets, even just seeing their neighbours walk their dogs.
  • Together, set up a vet’s office. Ask your child what they think they will need.
  • Let them play! They can also invite siblings and friends to bring their pets to the vet’s office. Your child will be happy to play on their own as well.

Learning Opportunities

This activity is great for your child’s imagination, as they pretend play (part of our dramatic play curriculum at our CEFA Early Learning schools). It also offers great hands-on learning opportunities. For example, what do rabbits eat? What about cats and dogs? How do you handle a pet as a veterinary doctor? They learn a lot about what makes a pet, versus what animals need to live in the wild. All this teaches your child about nature and develops their social and emotional skills. They also learn to contribute, because they are learning how to help sick animals. It is a great activity to play with a sibling or friend (which builds social skills) or by themselves (which helps with focus, imagination and attention span) all of which are good.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Your child can read about pets and about vets (I have recommended some books below). This will improve your child’s reading and literacy skills.
  • You can set up a miniature world after you take down the vet’s office, so your child can continue to play. Here are some examples (but you can make it yourself).
  • Take the time to connect with your child, ask them questions like the ones below. This opportunity to chat, share ideas, plan together, share stories, laugh and feel pure joy will help you bond with your child and form an even deeper connection. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • What are some of your favourite pets? Why? What do you like about them?
    • What would you do if you had a fish (or turtle, or cat, or dog, or snake) for a pet? How would you play with your pet? What would you name it?
    • Tell them about your favourite pets if you had some, or tell them which pet you would have
  • Look at photos of animal skeletons together.
  • Match the x-rays I have included above for free with the animals (for example, by the x-ray of a cat you can put a toy cat like the one in this set).
  • Watch videos about pets

Books Your Child Might Like

About Vets


About Pets

Toys Your Child Might Like