Kids love to play shops and it's a fantastic, fun way to help develop their communication, social, cognitive and mathematical skills. You don't need to spend money to set up a play shop at your place, all you need is your recyclables. This can be changed to either make it easier or more advanced depending on your child's age and ability. Here are some ideas on how to do it. It won't take very long to set up.
Time: 15 minutes to set up
Age: any age
Any recycled food boxes like cereal boxes, biscuit boxes, yoghurt containers etc
Lids and caps from empty drinks
Paper and cardboard cut offs
Textas or pencils
Old calculator, computer keyboard or second hand cash register ( I got my cash register for 50 cents at a fete)
An old phone
Old store loyalty cards you no longer need
Collect empty food boxes instead of putting them in your recycling bin.
Keep them in shape and tape them or glue them shut.
Collect various types, sizes and colours. These will be used as items for sale in the shop.
Display the boxes in a room along the floor or along some shelves.
Flatten one large cardboard recycled food box.
Place real coins onto this and trace around them. *Write the amount on them and cut them out.
You could also collect bottle lids to use as coins. (beware of sizes as you don't want a chocking hazard).
Do the same to create some cash notes or perhaps use some old paper. Then cut these out also.
Use some old library, train or loyalty cards to make pretend credit cards.
Alternately make them yourself with another flattened empty food box .
Simply trace your credit cards and cut these out ready to use.
Set up a table with a cash register, calculator or old computer keyboard and a phone.
If you don't have a cash register use one of the boxes you have collected to keep the money in.
Choose a name for your shop. Use recycled items to make signs for your shop. For example the shop name, prices, special offers, opening hours, open and shut sign etc.
Decorate these with textas and pencils.
Use your Eco bags from your real shopping for customers to put their groceries into this is much safer than plastic bags.
Give each person some money whilst also having some for the shop keeper.
Take it in turns to be the shop keeper and the customer.
Pretend to ring the shop's phone and see what your children say when they answer ( very funny).
Extra idea: to make the boxes last longer you could cover them in clear book contact.
Now you have a pretend shop for your kids to have a ball in. It's great imaginary play with so many opportunities. Invite some friends over to play in your shop. Perhaps turn it into a cafe or other food place instead by adding some tables and chairs. What about adding a chalkboard to your shop scene? They will have so much fun and will learn so many important life concepts without even realising it.
Create play money using coloured wax crayons remove the paper first place coin under thin card use the flat part of the crayon do a variety of coins and cut out when rubbings are complete looks very effective and realistic .lots of fun too.Lee Hirsh