As a Step2 Ambassador, I received the items mentioned in this post at no cost.
Growing up, I loved imaginative play. My sisters and I would play school or house for HOURS. Now that my oldest children are 2 and 4 years old, they can often be found pretending to play house or “Wolfy” (where one of them is a dog and the other is the owner) too.
This Christmas they received a new cash register. They were so excited about it and have been using it to play store every few days. Then one day, Maggie asked me if they could get a grocery store. I often mention that we live in a small house – a small house that was quickly overrun by baby gear and toys when we started having children. Like any other child, my kids love new toys but we just don’t have the room to add anything new into the mix and really can’t afford to spend more money every time they want a new toy. The grocery store did sound like a great idea (anything that’s going to keep them happily occupied is always a win in my book), so I told Maggie & Jacob that we’d use our imaginations and build our own grocery store.
Well, every good grocery store has a sign, so that was the first thing we got started on. Maggie said she wanted her grocery store to be called, “Vegetable and Fruit Grocery Stand” but that was just a little too long for our cardboard sign, so she agreed to let me keep it simple with “Groceries”. Most little girls love craft projects; Maggie certainly does! She spent about an hour decorating her sign to make it just perfect.
The next step in our grocery store was to gather up all of the kitchen set items we owned and fill the toy bins on our Step2 Fun Time Room Organizer. This is where I sneak in a little bit of preschool time, totally unnoticed by the kids. The first time we played, I had them sort the foods by colors. We’ve played a few more times and we’ve also sorted them by food groups and food categories and by material (felt, plastic, metal, etc.). Don’t have a kitchen set and lots of food? You can make other types of stores too, like a toy store or pet store! In fact, usually when we have our grocery store, we have one bin of small toys too.
The front of these bins already included a reusable dry erase sticker (yes, it really comes that way from Step2!) so we added prices to each bin. Maggie is learning about basic addition and again, this was a fun way to sneak in some educational time without her even realizing.
Last of all, we needed a checkout line. Jacob received the Step2 Deluxe Canyon Road Table for Christmas and with the lid in place and the addition of their cash register, it made the perfect checkout station! I even gave the kids a few reusable shopping bags to keep with their store.
My kids have had SO much fun playing store! They take turns being the shopper and the cashier. They love loading the shopping cart full of their favorite food items then bringing it over to “check out.” Sometimes I join in and play as well (they love that, so I’ve gotta make those precious memories when I can!). The best part is that the cleanup is really quick and I didn’t have to spend any extra money (or lose more floor space).
What do you think? Would your kids like this grocery store? How do you encourage imaginative play?