Two girls playing pretend shop

Send your kids to work in their own shop!

Playing shop can spark hours of imaginative play while teaching social skills, language, literacy, numeracy and problem-solving.

August 27, 2020
Two girls playing pretend shop

Young children will love filling a basket and taking money, while older children can practise maths and writing skills as they decide prices, write signs, work out change. They also develop an understanding of ‘real’ money, rather than just swiping a card to pay.

First of all, decide where your shop is going to be and what you will use; a bookcase, a coffee table or empty cardboard boxes will make great shelves.

Next, decide what your store is going to sell. You could use packets and jars you have in your pantry for a grocery store or use toys you already have for a toy store (or anything around the house that the kids want to ‘sell’). Let them decide and just add a few suggestions if they get stuck.

You can use pretend money (such as play coins, monopoly money - or make your own bank notes). You could also save real coins to use.

Once everything is set up, you can declare the shop open for customers!

Children often enjoy setting up their shop as much as they do playing the game; closing up the shop at the end of the game and putting everything away is also a valuable life skill to learn.

More pretend play ideas

  • An upturned laundry basket makes a great pirate ship
  • Provide used envelopes, some boxes and a set of scales for a pretend post office
  • A supply of dress-ups are great for imaginative play. Builder, doctor, fireman, pirate, fairy etc
  • If you have a sand-pit, provide old pots and pans for a mud kitchen
  • Play at being a teacher - teddies and toy animals can be the pupils

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