Imaginative play is my favorite mainly because it’s what I would do if I was 3, but seriously who doesn’t love to play pretend?
Young children learn by imagining and doing. Have you ever watched your child pick up a stone and pretend it is a zooming car, or hop a Lego across the table as if it were a person or a bunny? Your child is using an object to represent something else while giving it action and motion. But this pretend play is not as simple as it may seem. The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas.
- Social and Emotional Skills
- Language Skills
- Thinking Skills
With pretend play, it is really important to continue to give children new experiences and setups for them to role play and experience. In early childhood classrooms, these new setups are usually done in the dramatic play center. And at home, parents can suggest the ideas/scenarios and provide a few unique props to stimulate children’s dramatic play.
There’s one thing we know about kids, it’s their love to play store. Seriously, they can entertain themselves for hours upon hours buying and selling goods.
You can start your pretend play market by choosing a name for your market and together make a sign to post in this dramatic play area. We decided to go for RAYES ORGANIC MARKET and I printed the sign to display at the stall.
With older kids, you can also use newspaper ads to cut pictures of food products and have the children glue these pictures to squares of construction paper. You can even put a price on each product if you wish. Attach these signs at each type product on the shelves.
I had known for a while that I wanted to make the pretend play market so a few weeks ago, I bought Ikea Skyltas Children’s market stand.
Shelves in the play area which used to display our activity trays were also used to make the pretend play market. Using cloths found in our art supply boxes to cover the shelves, they made the perfect market accessory to store the fruits and vegetables.
The pretend play market was a breeze to put together, and was ready to open for business in a couple of hours. What took the longest was stocking up the newly created organic market. Initially, I didn’t really want any cheap plastic stuff in there and i thought of making some fruits and veggies out of felt but due to busy schedule, i ended up using plastic veggies and fruits. I am still working on the felt veggies and fruits and this is still a work in progress.
I added our old collection of Hape Toys in our market:-
Hape Toys Garden Vegetables which includes a toddler-safe knife, a carrot, an onion, a bell pepper, and a tomato and a corn.
Hape Toys Healthy Basics which includes Eggs, milk, cheese, juices, jam and yogurt.
Hape Toys use sustainable woods certified non-toxic and water-based paints. So I don’t have to worry about him putting “cheese and carrot ” into his mouth.
On a table, place a toy cash register or even an old adding machine or calculator will do. You can also help your child make a till using cardboard and some paper money. Preschool children cannot truly absorb the concept of money exchange, but the pretend play is the important learning skill. Speaking of money, you can use play money or make your own from cut index cards or construction paper. Coins can be made from cardboard circles covered in aluminum foil.
I bought Hape Toys checkout register with abacus, bar-code scanner, card chip and pin block, cash and credit card.I really like this checkout register!! My little farmer/shopkeeper could count money , use the abacus for counting and basic math, put coins in the correct slots, and open the top of the cash register. A wooden credit card and card swipe is a nod to how parents really pay these days. !!!
Introduce the concept of weight to your child by placing a weighing scale in your market. I got one from my kitchen!
Make sure you have a shopping cart too!! Child-size grocery cart is an excellent toy to use or a wicker basket with handles could be used as an alternative.
Now that the market is ready, give them a shopping list and get ready to Shop !!!
Here are some more images of my pretend play supermarket:-
Support your Local Farmers !!
Daddy – farmer/shopkeeper
Selling organic eggs, juices, milk and yogurt.
Our Organic Market
More tips for your pretend play market :-
- You can even go one step further and create your own brand of shop food.
- Once your shop is ready your child can decide who is to be shopkeeper and who will go shopping. You can swap the roles around and make it fun by pretending to be different characters in the shop.
- You can brush up on language skills by pointing out a few signs in your market.
- Make match games for the children to play.
What other “pretend play” toys do your kids have? I unfortunately don’t have any doll houses, doll beds, cute tiny ironing boards or washing machines, I’m the only girl here remember.