Learning Numbers. Pretend Shop

Aug 10, 2012

Encouraging number recognition and counting skills through "real-life" experiences assist children in making the connections between the abstract symbols and figures and how/why they are used.

This gives children real meaning which in turn leads to real understanding.

The more experiences your child has with numbers and counting, the better, and this fun activity should engage and entice them, be it at home or in the classroom.

Ages: 2-6+ (Maddie is 3)

The Setup
 Materials: Pretend money (we used plastic lids), post-it notes, marker and things to "sell" (eg toys)

On your post it notes, write one number per sheet, leaving them still on the pad.
Use the numbers that you want to focus on with your child. 

For this activity I wanted to consolidate smaller numbers so we just used the numbers 1-5. I also drew the amount of dots to represent each number to make it easy to count and correspond with the pretend money.

I then set up a small "shop" area like this

I explained to my daughter that she was the "Shop Keeper" and that she needed to find stock for her shop and put the "price tags" (numbered post-it notes) on.

The post-it notes make it so easy for kids to peel off and stick on. If you have none though you could always use little squares of paper and add some extra fine-motor practice with sticky tape

The Play! (the learning)
You could talk about how larger or more special items might cost more. They would need a bigger number.
Smaller or less special items might cost less. They would need a smaller number.

You can buy our dog for the bargain price of $2!

 Once her shop was full of stock and it was all priced. It was time to open shop to the public
(just setting up the stock and pricing it all kept her busy for ages!)

The shop keeper needs to tell the customer how much something is. 
I decided to snap up this wombat. It was a bargain!

Using one-to-one correspondence.
Counting the "money"

Swap and let your child be the customer and have them choose some products for sale.
They need to count how much money they need all together. 
Counting out the "money" next to each price tag.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by only focusing on 1or 2 numbers at a time. Avoid using real money and the money symbols so as to ease any confusion and just focus on the the number recognition and counting out that many "dollars"

- Extend this activity by using larger whole numbers, real money, money symbols etc. Your child can add money together to find out how much in total and can subtract to figure out how much change someone needs if they hand over too much money. 

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "more," "less," "expensive," "cheap," etc This will help with their language development.

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're doing, eg. "Why is this huge item only $2? It is a bargain!" "Why did you choose to sell that?" "How much does the dog cost?"

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests. eg. If they are breezing through numbers 1-10, move onto doubles etc.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. Love the bottle caps for money! Easy to count with your post it note price tags. Nice ideas.

  2. Love the bottle caps for money! Easy to count with your post it note price tags. Nice ideas.

  3. What a fun idea for the little ones. I love that you put dots on each price tag to give another visual as to how much each item cost. :)

  4. I love that even the dog was part of the fun! I recently did this with my girls this summer as a way to introduce money to (soon to be) my 1st grader and they beg me to play so often. Plus - it gave new life to old toys! It's so great to sneak in learning through play - makes it so memorable. I really like how you added the dots for each number for your little girl - a great visual for her at her age. Way to go Deb - you always have such fun at your house with the kiddos.

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  6. Your dog looks so much like our little dog I took a double take! Your little one looked like she was having a blast as the shopkeeper, I love adding learning into pretend play! It makes it so much more meaningful!

  7. Oh ! that's so great !!!

    I'll propose that activity to my child, thanks so much for sharing it !!!

  8. This is great. I think my 3yr would love this and I am trying to help him with numbers, counting, and letters. This is great for the numbers and counting. Hope to do this with him when lil brother is sleeping one day. Thanks for sharing-FSPDT

  9. Love that you can buy your dog for $2!! What a great way to teach currency concepts. Pinned this to the Weekly Kids' co-op board. Thanks for linking up.

  10. Love this one as well. I really need to give your ideas a go - I think my boys will love them.
    Ronnie xo

  11. This is so cool, ill be doing an extended version for my boy. He loves playing shop but I've never thought of using "price tags"

  12. Is really good. Fantastic blog for read, I hope all reader will enjoy…keep up the share.

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