The Benefits of Playing Shop
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.
Children are developing constantly and they are continually learning new things about how their bodies work and about the world around them.
Playing shop can be a great way to help develop both the fine and gross motor skills that children need. Stacking their shelves requires good gross motor skills and balance, while counting out the money from a toy till needs good fine motor skills that will later be needed when they learn to hold a pencil and start writing. Add a shopping trolley to your shop for even more physical fun! You can even take a toy trolley to your local supermarket to make it easier to shop there.
Social and Emotional Development
Play is a vital part of a child's social and emotional development and not just when they are playing with other children and learning to share, take turns and build relationships.
Even when children are playing alone they are taking on different roles, developing empathy and an understanding of how other people might think or feel in different situations. Not to mention the fact that realising they can be anything and anyone they like is a huge confidence boost and great for building self-esteem.
Play really is work for children and they get so much more from it than just having fun. Cognitive development is all about building connections and pathways in the brain. Whether it’s the use of symbols that affect our ability to start reading and writing, the ability to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions, or developing our visual and spatial awareness.
So often when children play pretend you will see them picking up an object and using it as something else entirely. It’s a simple act but the mental process behind it is massive, they come up with an idea, run into a problem and have to think creatively and analytically using logic and reason to come up with a solution. These are skills they will use their entire lives long after the problem is ooh I don’t have a toy phone, hold on this hairbrush will work perfectly.
Developing Language and Communication
Playing shop is also great for developing language and communication skills. Not only do children get to use words and phrases that they might not otherwise use in their daily lives but as they get older you can introduce reading and writing as they make signs, menus and price lists for their stores.
Pretend play is also a great way for children to practise their social communication, having made up conversations, often with themselves.
Introducing the Concept of Money
Finally, playing shop offers a great opportunity to introduce the concept of mathematics and money to play.
Even very young children will see you handing over money or your card when you go to the shops and begin to understand that there is a system of exchange happening. Playing shop is a great way to teach them more about how money works and get them using maths without even thinking about it while they play.
Next Up: Creative Ways to Teach Kids About Money