Children love to play pretend and while they have the most incredible imaginations many of their games involve mimicking the things they see in everyday life. Whether it’s being a vet, a chef, a mechanic or a shop keeper kids love to pretend to be just like the adults they see around them, or of course, the superhero’s they see on TV.
When children play pretend they are not just having fun but they are practising their decision-making and social skills, experimenting with how to behave and making sense of the world around them.
Providing toys and props that spark the imagination and facilitate imaginative play is one of the best things you can do for your child and a wooden play shop can be used in so many ways that it makes a fantastic gift.
We all remember being children and playing make-believe, whether we were serving tea to our dolls or pretending to be power rangers it doesn’t really matter. And no doubt we all had our favourite toys we would use as props in our games, a tea set, a a children’s till, a blackboard, or a wooden sword.
Pretend play is a vital part of childhood as it gives children so many opportunities for learning and self-expression that give them the skills they need to excel in so many areas of life.
Playing shop is a great role play game that you can easily set up for your children to encourage them to explore the world of imaginary play. A shop is a familiar concept for most children and the perfect place for them to take on different roles.
The benefits of playing shop are numerous, including:
- Physical Development.
- Social and Emotional Development.
- Cognitive Development.
- Developing Language and Communication.
- Introducing the Concept of Money.
Language and Writing Skills
Engaging in imaginative play gives children the opportunity to practise words and phrases they have heard but might not otherwise have reason to use. It can be amazing listening to the things children come out with when they play, and the wonderful impressions they will do of you or the local shop keeper.
Playing shop is also a great way to develop vocabulary, they can learn the names of fruits, vegetables, condiments and any other items they have for sale. And your shop doesn’t just have to be a grocery store, it could be a hardware store, a cafe, a toy shop or anything else. Older children will also start to read words and can practice their writing skills by making signs and menus.
Playing pretend also helps children discover the power of language, the affect the words we say have on others, and the importance of choosing the correct words if we want to make ourselves understood.
The brain needs exercise to grow and develop and there is no better way for children to do this than through play.
Playing shop allows them to develop narrative thought as they act out a story. They will also need to solve problems along the way, for example, what to use if they don’t have a shopping basket. This development of cognitive flexibility allows children to be more creative, a vital skill they will need throughout their lives.
Shop play is perfect for developing social skills and a wooden play shop is the ideal toy for a play date. Playing together requires negotiation, cooperation and understanding as children assign roles and combine their desires for how the game should be played.
If they both want to be the shop keeper they will need to learn to take turns, and in order to have fun together they will have to share.
Pretending to be someone else helps children understand that different a person and be thinking and feeling different things. They develop empathy for others literally by pretending to be them and experimenting with emotions in a safe way.
Numbers, counting and the concept of money
Playing shops is one of the best games for including numbers, counting and the concept of money.
Even the youngest children will love punching numbers into a till or calculator, and as they get older these numbers start to mean something. Kids can have fun pricing items, adding up, and giving change, all vital skills they will need.
Learning about the concept of money, that we have to exchange money for goods and that your money will run out if you buy too much is also a valuable life lesson that can be taught through play.