Melissa and Doug provided me with some of the products mentioned in this post in order to facilitate it.
The hot new toy in our house lately is the Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store. From the three-year-old up to the almost nine-year-old, they are all enjoying playing with it. And really, what’s not to love about a pretend grocery store with a working conveyor belt, scanner that really beeps, and a credit card machine that appears to work?! My little secret though is that this Fresh Mart Grocery store has been a great asset to our homeschooling. Today, I wanted to tell you how we’re using it to teach a number of skills to our elementary aged kids!
Learning How to Take Turns
When I first assembled the Fresh Mart Grocery Store, all of the kids were SO eager to play with it. The problem was, only one person could be the “check out person” and only one person could push the shopping cart. I expected a fight but honestly, the kids have done so well from the very beginning with taking turns. I also purchased a grocery basket so that means 2 children can shop, one can pretend to be the cashier, and they decided that the other person would be the stocker. Although the three-year-old has some time protested needing to relinquish his favorite role as the “check out man” overall, they have done very well at taking turns and learning that you must share when playing with others.
Learning About Food Groups
Having the Fresh Mart Grocery Store has been a great way to talk to my children about the different food groups and the importance of eating a varied diet. My kids, like many kids, can be picky eaters some times, but having the grocery store was a great way to easily incorporate more discussions in our home about eating fruits, vegetables, protein, and other healthy foods.
Learning How To Use a Calculator
Those first two skills are ones that were skills my younger kiddos needed to know, but the Fresh Mart Grocery Store has also been a huge asset in my elementary-aged childrens’ homeschooling. This grocery store has a working calculator! I spent some time and created these reusable price tags for the grocery store items. I used small velcro pieces so the children can change the prices whenever they’d like. Then, when the older children pretend to be the cashier, they practice really adding up the cost of the items “purchased.”
Creating these price tags for your child’s grocery store is super easy. You’ll need:
Simply print (click here to open a full-size PDF for downloading and printing), laminate, cut each tag out, then place Velcro dots on the grocery store items and price tags.
My kids have had so much fun changing out the prices and adding up each other’s orders!
Learning to Count Money
Another great thing about using the printable price tags is that they are helping my children learn to count money. This is one of those life skills that is SO important for kids to learn. Sometimes school can be boring or tedious, but learning about counting money with the Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store has made it fun! My kids haven’t even realized we are doing it for school. That’s a huge win for me! I’m always searching for ways to make school more exciting for my children.
Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store
I’ve had a lot of questions about what we think of the Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store, so I thought I’d also share a quick review with you.
I set this entire thing up by myself. It took me about 2 hours total from start to finish. The directions were so easy to follow. You will need a screwdriver and 2 AA batteries. I used our power drill.
Overall Review of the Fresh Mart
In person, the Melissa and Doug grocery store is just as adorable as the photos online show. It is very sturdy and appears well-made. The children have been playing with it pretty steadily for about a month now and it still looks brand new and we haven’t had anything break.
Some toys my children will play with for 30 minutes and then never again. That hasn’t been the case with the Fresh Mart. Sure, they don’t play with it every single day, but they have played with it quite a bit.
The only drawback to the Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart grocery store is that the only accessory that comes with the set is a red credit card. You will need to purchase additional pieces to go with it, unless you already own a kitchen set and have pieces from that that you can use.
Accessories for the Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart
You will want accessories for sure and Melissa and Doug delivers with some adorable add-ons! For our Fresh Mart, we added these accessories:
- Melissa and Doug Shopping Cart
- Melissa & Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store Companion Collection
- Melissa and Doug Grocery Basket with Food
Of course, you can always add your own accessories from things you already have around the house. We did that as well. One day we even set it up as a toy store instead of a grocery store. It is fun no matter what kind of store your little one desires to have!
There are additional accessories that we will likely purchase and add to our set over time. Although the cardboard box pieces that come with the sets mentioned above are made of fairly sturdy cardboard, after a month of play, the wear is starting to show on those. For future sets, I will definitely go with Melissa and Doug’s wooden sets, like the Melissa & Doug Fridge Food Wooden Play Food.