36 • 30 JULY 2007
Simple shop supplies
Pretend cash register
4. Fun shop games
5. Featured subscriber blog
The mere thought of taking the kids with me on a shopping trip used to
fill me with dread. But, as the kids have got older, I've found that a
trip to the supermarket can be kind of fun. And when you don't have to
spend every moment doling out bribes, there are actually a lot of
valuable things that kids can learn from the high seat in the trolley.
For starters, shopping with your kids provides a great opportunity to teach them
about making healthy food choices. It's also a great way to teach them
about the effect that food packaging has on the environment and about
about fresh versus processed foods.
Take them with you to the greengrocers and use the regularity of your
shopping trips to teach them about seasonality and locality –
not to mention all the different types of fruit and vegetables.
Another great idea for shopping trips is to give children their own bag
and list (a visual list for pre-readers) and set them their own mission
for the shopping trip. I sometimes set Ella the task of collecting all
the ingredients we need to bake an apple cake – her favourite.
Just quickly, I'd like to share some fun shopping related links from my
favourite blogs and websites:
• an excellent (and free) crochet shopping bag pattern
• another great string bag – this
one for the knitters
• PETA's cruelty-free pocket shopping guide
• and for the frugal-at-heart, download the free thrifty wallet buddy – a
small card that lists questions you should ask yourself before making a
My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm for the last
issue. Thanks especially to Tami, Solana, Jasper and Nat for sending in
great photos of their 'machine' crafts for the gallery!
Happy crafting and see you next time!
|2. Simple shop
We had great fun finding things from around the house and using them to
make supplies for our shop. At four, Ella is keen to participate fully
in this process and came up with some great ideas. If you, or you
little ones, come up with your own ideas, please take pictures and send
them in. We'd all love to see them!
Oranges and apples
Scrunch up some coloured crepe or tissue paper and fasten with a rubber
band if they don't hold together. Then pop them into a net bag.
1. Stuff the legs of some pantyhose with scrunched up newspaper to make
1. Serve up some packing peanuts in a paper coffee filter, using a
plastic scoop from your laundry power.
1. Fold some pieces of paper into thirds and cut off strips to make
2. Package them in an old box and seal with cling wrap.
1. Roll up some thin dish sponges and pop on a rubber band to keep them
1. Insert a stick into some coloured plasticene to make a lollipop.
1. Squeeze a couple of drops of food colouring into a bottle of water.
(Seal the lid using sticky tape if you're at all worried about the
contents ending up on the carpet.)
Pretend cash register
No play shop would be complete without a pretend cash register. There
are a multitude of different ways you could make one – here's what we
• cardboard boxes
• foil tray
• paper and pencils
1. We painted the boxes and stuck them together, putting a foil tray on
the top to act as a scale.
2. We made a cash drawer by cutting the top from a box, adding a handle
and folding up some cardboard to make trays.
3. We drew pictures of the foods that we were going to sell at the
shop. Then we coloured them in and stuck them on the register.
4. And here it is – the finished shop, cash register and
Do you dread the thought of playing pretend? It doesn't have to be a
painful or boring experience. Here are some simple ideas to get you
started in the pretend shop.
What's on the counter?
Select a number of items from the shop and place them on the counter or
on a tray. Have your little one take a close look. Then cover the
counter with a large cloth and carefully remove one item. Remove the
cloth and have your little one remember what item was taken away.
Let's write/draw a list
Write a list of items for your child to collect from the shop and
deliver to you – if they can't read yet, use simple pictures. Have them
bring you the items they collected and check them off against the list.
Then, for a bit more fun, reverse roles and have your little one put
the list together.
Practicing colours and counting
Use shop play as an opportunity to practice counting and other
concepts. Instead of asking your little shopkeeper for some apples
– ask for three things beginning with the letter a. Or, request two
of everything in the shop. Or, ask for suggestions from the shopkeeper for
things to eat
on a picnic. Or request advice on what food your pet camel should eat!
The trick to playing
pretend with kids is to do things that give them an opportunity to look
There's more to being a shopkeeper than serving customers. Make an
open/closed sign so that your little one can close up and do some work
behind the scenes. Encourage them to sweep the shop floors,
stack the shelves neatly, dust and rearrange things!
Here's a photo of my little shopkeeper in action:
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