Pretend Play – Let’s Shop!

If you are the parent or caregiver of a toddler or preschooler, you may be very familiar with one phrase: LET’S PLAY! 

Despite the immense benefits of play, sometimes it can be downright draining to come up with new ideas to keep your little one happy. That is where imaginative play comes in.  

Pretend play is hugely beneficial to development. By acting out everyday scenarios, your child gets lessons in vocabulary, social skills, and problem solving. 

In an effort to inspire pretend play, we have come up with a simple game for you and your child.  

How to Play Shop

  • Encourage child to play shop with you. Together select items in your home to be the merchandise for your shop. Your shop can be specific (such as a hat shop, toy store, grocery store) or it can have various departments. 
  • Once your items are selected, display them in various different parts of the room. In this case, you can encourage your child to sort items that are alike. For example, if you are playing grocery store, group together dairy items, sweets, etc.  
  • Time to price your items! You can either print the price labels we have provided below or simply pretend stickers are price labels. (suggestion: this soccer sticker means the item is $5!) 
  • Ask your child if they would prefer to be the shopkeeper or the shopper. You may take turns while playing.  
  • Open your shop! You may use the printable sign provided below or create a sign yourselves using crayons and construction paper. 
  • Ask questions! 
  • “How much is this item?” 
  • “Do you have any milk?” 
  • “Can I have a bag?” 
  • “What hat looks best?” 
  • “Can I help you find anything?” 
  • “Oops! I dropped the oranges. Can you help me clean them up?” 
  • “Can you help me to restock the shelves?” 
  • When you’ve completed your shopping, it’s time to pay. Use the free printable money included below or use play money or precut pieces of green paper. 
  • When finished, reserve all your items used to play the game so that you can explore pretend play again. 

We hope this activity helped your child learn, explore, and discover! Check back for more pretend play ideas and free printables from Lindenhurst Memorial Library! 


These can be printed on regular paper or sturdy cardstock. To ensure future use, you may also choose to laminate these printables. In an effort to save paper, you do not need to use printables to play this game. Any stickers, signs, etc. will do, as long as you use your imagination!