I am so excited to share my new Grocery Store Dramatic Play Resource. You can find it in my TPT store, as well as my Vet Clinic Dramatic Play Resource. Dramatic Play is such a wonderful way to build literacy, math, and social emotional skills into your day. I love that these materials can be used at home or school. I always try to makes my resources easy to use if you are a teacher, or a parent working on adding more intentional play to their child’s routine.
Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite additions to add to your Grocery Store Dramatic Play Unit. You can find these items in my Amazon store, or use the links below. Amazon is the easiest way for me to share links with you, but I encourage you to check thrift stores, Buy Nothing groups on Facebook, and Facebook Marketplace before purchasing them! These links are affiliate links. That means I receive a small stipend when you use my links at no cost to you. I use these stipends to continue to create valuable resources and share them with you.
Adding a grocery cart is an easy way to make your pretend play center feel “real” and engaging.
This is the cart that we got my daughter several years ago. She got it for Christmas when she was 18 months old, and I loved that it was sturdy enough to walk with. I also really love that it can be a grocery cart, or baby stroller. She regularly uses it to move things from room to room. It’s expensive, so it’s definitely an investment. But it would absolutely last several years and through multiple kids. The only thing we don’t do is take it outside. This
This one is very similar to the Olli Ella, but about half the price. It does have dividers in the stroller, so you can’t use it for big dolls and stuffed animals. But it’s still a great option, and I love that it can be multipurpose. This brand is always so well made, and we are always very happy with it. We have the Le Toy Van Market, and it’s perfect for us.
I can’t get over how cute this cart is. It looks exactly like a Target shopping cart, and I cannot get over the “double decker” look of it. The bottom basket actually comes out to be a handheld basket, so two kids could easily use it at once. It comes with 8 pieces of food that are “scannable.” I would probably disable this part, but it’s a cool option if that works for your classroom or family!
This is a great option if you want something smaller, or if you want something that comes with more items. This is a full pull cart, and we actually take ours outside alot! It comes with some plastic/cardboard food too, so it’s a great way to start/set up your grocery store pretend play area!
Anytime my daughter or her friends play grocery store, the first thing they want to do is play with the cash register. These are some of my favorites!
I purchased 2 of these cash registers for my daughter’s classroom, because we love it so much. The money is very realistic, and can be used for so many years. (I recommend laminating the bills if you can so they last longer…just be sure to cut the lamination very close, so that it fits in the register!) The credit card slot is super realistic, and exactly like what they’ll see at stores. I also think it’s so impressive it’s a working (solar powered) calculator!
I am always really impressed with the Battat brand. They’re not as high quality as wood, but I think they’re my favorite plastic toy. This cash register is great, and i love all that it offers without taking up much room. It has a little conveyer belt/scale, beeping buttons, and it comes with a scanner. My daughter LOVES to scan, and I included barcodes in my Grocery Store Resource so they could use it with the scanner.
Hape is one of my favorite wooden toy brands, but I think they’re hard to use in a classroom, because they’re hard to wash. I prefer wooden toys for home, and plastic toys for the classroom, but I know not everyone feels that way. This cash register is beautiful, and the card reader is my favorite part. We have the Le Toy Van cash register, and I just purchased the card reader, because she LOVES to help me with that when we’re shopping. The Hape register also has a scanner…it doesn’t beep, but that means they can use their imaginations and create their own sounds and functions.
My favorite pretend food for your Grocery Store Dramatic Play center is actually containers from your own pantry. They are authentic and our kids will start to recognize brands and environmental print. You can usually also find great food on Facebook Marketplace and at thrift stores. If you do decide to purchase some, here are a few of my favorite sets.
This set can be pricey, but it goes on sale a lot. We love our Learning Resources food, because they are so easy to wash and they are durable. My daughter has an outdoor playhouse and kitchen, and we keep these food outside. It has held over for over 18 months being outside. I also really appreciate that there aren’t any holes in them, like bath toys, so you don’t have to worry about them getting yucky and moldy inside. The little grocery bag is really cute, and would be a great addition as well.
This set is great for sorting, but it actually just has a ton of great pretend fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to use the buckets, and just use the produce in your play center. The buckets are great for storage, though, and would make setting up your Grocery Store really easy!
It is incredibly important that we include diverse food in our grocery store center, especially making sure that the food we display includes many price points. Canned foods are usually cheaper than fresh, and they are available at food pantries. These cans are pretty sturdy, and I like that the lids are removable. I can see younger children putting things in and out of the cans to extend their play. Cans are hard to use from our own pantry, because of the sharp metal, so I would definitely purchase some if you can.
This is a great way to add more wooden toys to your collection at a great price. I like that it includes many different types of food, so you really only need this one set, and a few fruits and vegetables.
This set is similar, but the food is cardboard. However, it comes with a great little metal grocery basket. I don’t like or recommend the Melissa and Doug grocery cart, because it’s so heavy. I’ve had several friends with destroyed walls and cabinets from the metal cart, but the handheld one is great. This set comes with a few cans, and several pantry foods.
This is a great set, and a staple in lots of classrooms and play spaces. It comes with 4-5 items for each food group, including dairy, fruits, vegetables, breads, and proteins.
I shared that we have the Le Toy Van market, and I love all of the baskets of food. They’re great for organizing your “market,” and they’re such great quality. I liked the Dairy set, but you can scroll through the other options. They also have Vegetables, Fruits, Bakery, and Meat. I’d recommend any of these sets!
One Final Note
I am excited to share all of these recommendations with you, and I hope they make it easy for you to create an engaging dramatic play area for your Grocery Store. I just wanted to quickly remind anyone who’s reading that you don’t NEED much for your children or students to learn and play. In my Grocery Store resource, I’ve included templates for you to make food out of felt and foam. Like I said above, Facebook has great Buy Nothing groups, and thrift stores are always a great way to add to your collection. You can also look around your home and see what could represent food (like cotton balls for berries and used cardboard boxes for pantry foods). Children need a loving caretaker who encourages their creativity and problem solving, and they need time for free exploration. They need a little bit of space (like your living room), and they need your connection. That’s it. ❤️