Transform your dramatic play center into a grocery store that includes fun and playful opportunities for your little learners to develop important literacy, math, and writing skills.
The grocery store dramatic play center is always a big draw for preschoolers because most have experienced grocery shopping firsthand with their families.
You can quickly and easily give your basic housekeeping or pretend play center a makeover by adding some empty boxes and a few simple props like a pretend cash register, play food, and reusable grocery bags. Your kids will love playing and learning in their very own grocery store!
How to Set Up a Grocery Store Dramatic Play
Grocery Store Dramatic Play: What You Get
The 112 page Dramatic Play Grocery Store Kit includes the following printables:
- 23 Signs (color + b/w)
- Labels (color)
- 1 Banner (color + b/w)
- 32 Picture Cards (color + b/w)
- Role Playing Name Tags (color)
- 2 Shopping Lists (b/w)
- Non-Fiction Book (color + b/w)
Printable Shopping List
Never miss an opportunity to motivate your preschoolers to write for a purpose. All shoppers need a good list! You can provide your kids with blank paper, or print out several copies of the list from the grocery store kit and place it in your pretend play area, along with clipboards and pencils for meaningful writing opportunities. You can laminate your shopping lists or place them in page protectors and use dry erase markers for a more durable option.
Can I help you find something? These printable name tags will help your little learners identify and choose which roles they would like to play in this pretend play theme. Some might enjoy stocking the shelves, while others will enjoy shopping for groceries or working the cash register in the check-out lane.
Printable Picture Word Cards
You can print these picture cards on cardstock, laminate, and place in a pocket chart to create a print-rich environment for your little learners. Use the picture cards to spark conversations and develop vocabulary and oral language skills in your pretend play grocery store. To provide your students with the best learning environment possible, the cards should be cut out and displayed in a way that allows the children to take the cards and use them for labeling or writing purposes. You can accomplish this goal with a pocket chart, magnet tape, or Velcro depending on the surface they are displayed on.
Printable Non-Fiction Book
Let’s go to the grocery store! Use this printable non-fiction book to introduce the grocery store dramatic play center to your students. Full and half-page versions of the book are included, choose the one that best meets your needs and those of your students.
Grocery Store Signs
Clean up on aisle 5! Isn’t that the truth? Seriously though, every good grocery store needs lots of signs to let shoppers know where to find what they need. Here is just one of several aisle signs included in the printable grocery store kit. Some of the cans pictured here are from the Melissa and Doug Canned Play Food Set.
Play Food: Healthy Choices
Choose the types of food you stock in your pretend play grocery store carefully to help encourage healthy eating. Play food like fruits and veggies are perfect for stocking the shelves in the grocery store!
Printable Sale Signs
Don’t forget to have sales at your grocery store! There are two sale signs included in the dramatic play grocery store kit. Each one will help your students understand that print has meaning and motivate them to “read” for a purpose.
Cash Register: Ready to Check Out?
Did you find everything you need today? The wood cash register was purchased from IKEA, it was very inexpensive, about $5. Some of the pretend play food pictured here is from the Melissa and Doug Play Canned Food Set.
Fine Motor Practice
Preschool teachers are always looking for ways to embed fine motor practice into daily activities. You can put real coupons in your pretend play grocery store, or use the printable coupons included in the grocery store kit. You can print these coupons on colored paper so they’ll stand out. Invite your students to cut out the coupons and they’ll be begging to use scissors!
Grocery Store Bunting Banner
The colorful banner and signs will provide meaningful literacy experiences for your students in the dramatic play center as well as let everybody know where to find the best deals in town!
Stock the Grocery Store Shelves
Don’t worry, you don’t need to break the bank when it comes to stocking the shelves of your pretend play grocery store! In addition to play food, you can use recycled food boxes, cans, and bags. Simply raid your recycling bin and clean the items before using them in your play area. You can also ask friends, colleagues, and the families of your students to send in their recyclables to help out.
Here are some ideas of recycled items you might ask for:
- Boxes of pasta such as mac and cheese or spaghetti noodles
- Empty ice cream cartons
- Boxes of frozen food such as waffles or pizza
- Empty cans without sharp edges (I use this)
- Boxes of crackers or other snack food
Pictured above I used small boxes of cereal, animal crackers, and other foods by stuffing them with newspaper and taping them shut to stock the dry goods aisle.
Of course, if you have children with food allergies you’ll need to choose your recycled items accordingly.
Books for Your Dramatic Play Grocery Store Center
In addition to writing opportunities, you’ll also want to promote literacy in your dramatic play grocery store center with some books. You can find a list of my favorite books to keep in the dramatic play center here.
I hope your little learners love this imaginative play scenario as much as mine!
112 pages of printable props to help you easily transform your dramatic play center into a Grocery Store. Includes literacy, math, and writing opportunities that align with current learning standards.
More Dramatic Play Themes from Pre-K Pages
Dramatic Play Grocery Store Resources