Pretend play is a must but spending too much on costumes and props is not. We love finding costumes at big box stores on clearance after Halloween but we also love making our own. Most of these DIY costumes and props are still around my house and are among the most treasured play things. These are all fantastic ways to support your child’s pretend play even if pretending doesn’t come naturally to you.
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.