Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Purchase groceries at your store, become a server or cook at your restaurant!
Pretend play gives an opportunity for young children to learn though play, while they are playing grocery store or the restaurant game, they are also learning about people, jobs and places in their community. They can additionally learn about health, literacy and maths concepts in a developmentally appropriate way.
Let's pretend!! This kit was designed to assist your child to feel like they are working at a grocery store as a cashier or shopping for food for their home or restaurant. Then they can pretend they are working in their restaurant as either a cook or waiter... so much fun!
What we need:
Printables (food, money) - email and we can email them for you to print
Real Snack and Recycled food packaging
How to play:
First, explore all the material together; cut and colour each of the printable food sheets. Ask your child what they think each food item will sound or feel like when its chewed -- will it be crunchy, soundless, squishy? Similarly, ask your child to describe its appearance or smell. Is it sweet, sour, bitter or salty? Is a fruit, a vegetable or something that has been processed? It’s a great way to encourage children to try new food! Once you are finished with what is in the kit, perhaps explore your recycling bin for more options to play with (for example: bottles, cereal and pasta boxes, cans and other food containers that you may have added to your recycle bin at home. Next try to create new items with the playdough, the acts of squishing, rolling, flattening, help your child develop muscles used in their hands for the gross and fine motor movements that will be useful in the future. (for example, holding a pencil or using scissors).
Now, cut the money bills and coins, begin with introducing the basic idea of what we need money for, then, move to identify the different Canadian currencies, counting as you go. You can also use the food as an introduction to math as well. Ask your child to count the fruits, (the red ones or their favourites ones). Take advantage of snack time and do some counting!
Everything is now ready and you can set up your various areas. Things you will need to decide: Where will the food be stored? How much does each food item cost? Where is the cashier? Where are we going to eat? What will be a healthy snack?
The game is played by taking turns being the shopper, cashier, and the servers or cooks! You can start the conversation with something like “mmm I'm hungry, can I have a cookie, please? And then say thanks, when the cookie is delivered. Don’t forget to pay for your cookies, by using the money to practice counting and giving change! Or you can say I have one dollar, what can I buy?
When it is your child’s turn, you can ask them what they want and remind them to use the two special words (please and thank you). Your child will have fun buying and paying for everything on the table.
Please and Thank You are the basics of good manners, but it takes consistency and modelling good behaviour to make them second nature to children. Don’t hesitate to introduce new manners in your game, hello and goodbye never fail.