This isn’t the first time we have made a grocery store for pretend play , but it was the first time with both kids and because it was such a hit the 2nd time around I thought I may as well post about what made it so much fun.
I started by clearing out some of our toys from the playroom. In the past I have done this in a bedroom and kitchen. In a bedroom I used the low bed for main aisles/ produce section. In the kitchen I used a shelf on an island. It doesn’t matter what you use it matters if it’s in their line of sight. My son reached for the grocery items on the windowsill and my daughter went straight for the ones on the shelf ( well after the baby in the cart ). If you don’t have a shopping cart grab a basket or small bag for your shoppers to put their purchases in.
For food and grocery items just raid your pantry. Last time I used real produce but my son was old enough to tell him not to eat it while playing ( which you could encourage also depending on if you need the fruit or vegetable later for a meal), my daughter is a muncher and I knew if I put any real produce out each and every piece would have little baby girl bites out of them, so I opted for our play food.
For an added layer of learning I placed the produce/ fresh food in food groups. My son has been interested in this lately and immediately when my daughter would place an egg into the vegetable basket he’d correct her. Play like this is a natural opportunity to talk about nutrition too.
We added an old lap top and a desk for the checkout, one of our own cloth grocery bags and a simple sign on the door – then the kids!
They had a blast! Especially my daughter who went shopping multiple times yesterday.
This time I added some labels and other print like this weekly specials board for my son to read, but both children benefit from a print rich environment so even if your child is not starting to read don’t skip them.
Labels are a great way to boost print awareness and help show children how people use reading skills in everything we do not just reading stories. We were crunched for time so I threw it all together but guess what things don’t need to be perfect for the play to be fantastic! Please remember that, so often I see wonderful beautiful things on pinterest and think that as pretty as those things are for the average parent trying to manage a family and throw together some fun things for their kids those perfect pretty things might not be attainable. Perfect isn’t the goal , play is.
This post is not intended as a way to try to get sneak math into snack time. If you would like to use it for that reason, by all means go ahead. It would be a fun learning game. I am writing this to try to help make trying new foods fun for you and your child. My biological children love eating healthy foods. They usually request a healthy snack, even when I am offering a convenient (for me) junk food alternative. But fostering children has exposed me to problems I had not experienced before. How to get a child to eat healthy foods? Heck, how to get a child to try anything new?! Here is a fun game we came up with. Grab something that is not transparent or translucent. I like to use clean emptied yogurt containers. Cut up pieces of familiar food and new food into sizes that will fit under the containers. In this instance I used one familiar food that he liked along with two foods he refused to try before. Be sure to place two of each kind on the tray or plate. Cover the food with the containers. Now play the good ‘ole match game. When your child gets a match they get to eat the reward! It really feels like a reward for your child. While this is not guaranteed to work for every food, it sure is fun. You can watch your child get excited about matching. It is fun to see them study the tray and try to match it up. Their minds are focused on the game and not on “having” to try new or healthy foods. Are your kids picky eaters? ___________________________________________________________________________________Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
Who said science can’t be yummy? Let your kids explore their senses with this blind taste and smell test using ice cream. Ice cream gets turned into a science experiment with this simple and oh so yummy experiment. Teaching about the five senses has always been one of my favorite themes and I guarantee your kids will love this science lesson too. I have also done this with plain yogurt and natural food flavoring if ice cream isn’t an option. You can use a blindfold if your child will tolerate it, my son doesn’t like them and a simple ” If you peak the activity is over.” was enough to keep his eyes glued shut during the experiment.
- Gather your materials. You will need multiple flavors of ice cream, a sheet of paper, markers, peel off labels, cups to conceal the ice cream containers and one or more spoons. These tiny single serve Hagen-Daz were perfect for this and the left overs weren’t too plentiful.
- Number your cups.
- Make a basic graph, you could make it on the computer and print it out but there is no need for perfection, just fun and learning.
- Write the flavor on the chart and cover with labels. Your child will peel these off after all the tests and predictions are recorded.
- Place the ice cream in the cups with the correct number. Can you tell I had a little pre taste test taste of some ? Can you blame me?
- Invite your child to begin the test. Explain why you want them to have their eyes closed, not just because you want to keep it a secret from them, but because when you aren’t using one sense the others work harder.
- Smell the first and make a prediction. My son inherited my accurate sniffer, he was like ” That is mango , I know it!”
- Repeat. I was fascinated by his ability to recognize smell and taste as well as his honest aversion to peanut butter. Seriously who doesn’t love peanut butter? My kid.
- Fill your graph in as you go.
- After all the tests – peel and reveal! He loved this part almost as much as tasting them. He was shocked that #2 was caramel not vanilla!
- Choose your favorite to have as an after experiment snack! Chocolate won out at our house.
Great 5 Senses Book!
Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell: Learning About Your Five Sensesby Pamela Hill Nettleton is a really great find. The book doesn’t separate the senses, instead the author explains all the ways the senses work in specific situations. My son was intrigued by the ideas of smores and kept telling me “I want to smell and taste some smores Mommy, please!” I liked how it explained the connection between the areas of our bodies we associated with the senses ( mouth, eyes, nose, skin and ears) and the brain. The author succeeds in making it accessible for young kids but not boring for older ones. Good Find!!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without eating something green and we know how easy that can be with little kids. One way to encourage healthy eating is to play with food, make up recipes and taste test! So we made these super easy green popscicles that are all natural , no food coloring and we even had fun playing test kitchen trying a few times to make the color green.
Ingredients: We opened the fridge and looked for blue and yellow ingredients. We settled on blueberries and lemonade. You and I both know that it won’t blend to green but as long as the waste isn’t too much let your kids experiment. As soon as my son poured in the lemonade he could see that this was not the mix we needed. It was super tasty though and I blended it and drank it!
Taste test – he loved it! It tasted like watery lemon to me, if you are going for tasty – add a ripe banana and like mentioned above use vanilla or lemon yogurt. These green treats we made a few years ago were great.
The point of this activity was the process of trial and error, color mixing and having fun with healthy food!
We do 90% of our art projects in the kitchen and sometimes we like to use kitchen tools for art even using food as a supply from time to time. Here are some of our favorite kitchen art projects.
Cookie Cutter Printing