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Playing Store

Kids love playing store because it is something that is from their life. They get to role play and try out different parts. They can be the customer. They can be the clerk. They can be the person to stock the shelves and put prices on the items.

In addition to role playing, they get to pretend using money. Not only does it help them to learn money skills such as counting back change, but they get some math skills combined in there too. All for just playing!

Of course you can buy a lot of the things to play store, but it certainly is more fun and safer for the environment to create you own. It is also less expensive.


It does take some preparation to get a homemade store going. Save boxes, jars, and cans without sharp edges after you are done using them for meals. Instead of putting them in the recycle bin, put them in a large box to use with your store. The kids could also use their toys as items to buy.

Another thing you will need for playing store is pretend money. You can make own paper money and coins. Cut paper into strips for the currency. Use actual coins to trace the size onto paper. Let the kids decorate the currency and paper coins. You will need a small box to keep the money in. A check book box would be about the right size. You could also use real money if you want.

Get a larger box to use for cash register. Let the kids help decorate it also. Make sure to make the keys with the numbers on them so they can pretend to hit them later.

You might want to find other boxes to use for shelves in your store. If you find different size ones that fit inside one another, you will be able to store it away easier when you are done playing. Another way would be to just set the things on furniture you already have.

A basket or smaller box can be the cart.

Small pieces of paper are needed to make the price tags. Use crayon, marker, or pencil to mark the price. Tape the prices on the items.

Setting up the store

  • Arrange your large boxes for your shelves or choose where to put the items on furniture you already have.

  • Set up your cash register on a chair. Put the play money in the cash register.

  • Stock the shelves with the boxes, jars, and containers you have been saving.

  • Use the basket or smaller box as the cart.


Now the fun begins. You can pretend to purchase items. You can be the clerk and run the items through the cash register and collect the money. You can be the person to stock the shelves.

If there are several children playing store, have them rotate the jobs. Help them with the money.

Count back change

Counting back money means saying the amount for the purchase, then giving them the money one at a time as you count it up to make what they gave you.

So if they spent 25 cents and gave you 5 dollar bill, you would say:

  • 25 cents

  • Give them 25 cents as you say 50 cents.

  • Give them another 25 cents as you say 75 cents.

  • Give them another 25 cents as you say 1 dollar.

  • Give them 1 dollar and as you say 2 dollars.

  • Give them 1 dollar and as you say 3 dollars.

  • Give them 1 dollar and as you say 4 dollars.

  • Give them 1 dollar and as you say 5 dollars.

Have fun playing store!

Maybe you have your own variation. Share it with us, and I will post it so everyone can benefit from it.


"You're Never Too Old to Play"

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