Using a Toy Shopping Cart For Educational Play
Children are naturally learning as they play. We don’t have to do anything. But a toy shopping trolley has such great potential for helping children learn that you might want to add some additional educational aspects especially as children get older.
It might seem crazy that children would want to play at the things we enjoy doing the least. Supermarket shopping and cleaning are definitely chores for most people and even cooking can become a chore when you have to do it every day. Yet children love toys that let them pretend to be adults.
Benefits of Role Play
Role play itself has lots of developmental benefits and learning opportunities.
Pushing a shopping trolley around the room is great for developing a child’s gross motor functions as well as spatial awareness and boosts balance and communication. Filling the shopping cart will use fine motor skills. And interacting together, with you or other children develops language, communication and social skills.
Acting out different situations can also help children learn how to manage their emotions. They can act out both positive and negative situations. Which can be highly amusing when they act out you getting stressed out at the shops. And experiment with different ways of reacting and dealing with situations in a safe and fun way.
They also develop their understanding of the world, imitating body language, facial expressions and tone of voice and using words and phrases that they wouldn’t necessarily use in everyday conversations.
Enhancing the Learning Experiences
While children are naturally learning as they play there are also lots of things you can do to enhance this.
Giving a children a shopping list, either when they are playing at home or when you go to a real supermarket is a great way to encourage literacy skills, and will help build vocabulary even before they are able to read.
Simple maths and counting skills will be used to select the correct number of items and see how many items they have in total. Once children get a bit older shopping games are a great way to teach children about money and improve their addition and subtraction skills.
You can put price labels on toy food and get children to add up how much they need to pay the cashier. This is also a great way to learn about the different coins we use as the fact it takes five twenty-pence pieces and fifty two-pence pieces to make the same amount as one pound coin can be a confusing concept for little ones.
As they get older you can get them to create their own shopping lists for a real trip to the supermarket and give them a budget to spend. Perhaps they could have to buy all the ingredients to make their favourite meal or cake or you could give them a certain amount to buy things for their packed lunches.
Next Up: The Best Kids Shopping Trolley