Sunday, March 25, 2012


A couple weeks back I introduced Q to the idea of playing "Store" with her little kitchen. We use a stepstool for the sign, and made two different signs--one that says Mommy's Store and one that says Quinn's Store. Oh yeah, and a little triangular-folded paper that says "open" and "closed!"

We play very simply. The clerk wears an apron (we have a basket of little aprons to choose from). The clerk makes the sign say "open" by turning it. She also gives the customer what they want, and she writes their receipt. Right now Q always wants me to be the clerk and she wants to be the customer.
When it's receipt time, I have her tell me everything that she bought and I help her figure out the first letter of each item, which is what I write on the receipt. So if she bought 4 cupcakes I write:
It's WONDERFUL emergent reading and writing practice!
The clerk also has to tell how much the prices are and take the coins from the customer. Right now the coins (green plastic ones I have had around for ever....from my first grade teaching days...and all kids of every age LOVE those things!!) are worth a dollar and all prices are even dollar amounts. I am going to get out some play money I have soon and start introducing the different coins, though! She is doing great counting out the dollar amounts I request for each item right now.

The customer makes requests for items, pays, and then goes home for the "night" when the clerk turns the sign to "closed." Often, if the store has run out of something, the clerk loudly announces that she hopes the delivery truck brings whatever items are needed (names them specifically) and leaves some money under the sign. While the clerk is sleeping the items are delivered and the money disappears. This way the store has enough items to keep selling and the customer has enough money to keep spending!

We have been putting lots of empty food containers (granola bar box, washed yogurt tub, empty cashew can, empty chalula sauce jar, etc.) into the store for selling.

Playing store is such a rich learning experience that includes math, social studies, practical life, language, literacy skills, dramatic play and most of all, it's REALLY FUN!

I had to get the ball rolling by introducing the concept of store and modeling how to "play" and even the "rules" of playing store. But Q definitely caught on quickly and loves every minute of our store playing! I love how simple this activity is to set up but how much she is learning in such a child-cenetered, developmentally-appropriate, simple way!

This activity could be adapted for toddlers by setting out just a few items on a shelf....strips of paper could be dollars....older kids could write shopping lists and receipts and sale signs....So many possibilities!
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