Play pretend is a fantastic way for little ones to explore their imagination, develop social skills and build confidence. Furthermore, playing shop gives kids the opportunity to put their arithmetic skills to the test and practise handling money.
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Encourage the kids to immerse themselves in the role play. Rather than simply buying and selling items, get them to act out their roles as customer and shopkeeper!
Various household items to be “sold” in the shop
Coins, tokens or counters
Pen or pencil
About the activity
Collect different items for the shop – this can be anything at all, from toys, books and DVDs to clothes, tinned food and fruit. Then get the youngsters to create price tags using sticky labels. How much would they like to “sell” each item for? Younger kids can use counters, tokens or even marbles instead of money (they just need something that they can exchange for “goods”).
Next, decide who will play the role of the shop keeper/s and who will be the customer/s. If playing with money, distribute the coins so that the customer/s can buy different items and the shopkeeper/s can give change.
The customer/s must decide what items they’d like to buy, taking into account how much money they have to spend. The shop keeper/s must then add up the total price (in their head, using a pen and paper or with a calculator), take the money and calculate the change.
The kids should take it in turns to play the different roles. Encourage them to choose different items to buy and sell so that they get lots of practise adding and subtracting numbers!