Pretend Grocery Store

Children love to act out things they see adults doing on a regular basis, like grocery shopping. This is a great way to develop food literacy—a positive experience around food that doesn’t involve eating. It can also teach them about counting and money.

how to play pretend grocery store:

Collect clean food containers with no sharp edges (e.g. no open cans), such as:

  • Egg cartons
  • Milk jugs
  • Cereal boxes
  • Cracker boxes
  • Yogurt containers

Other optional items:

  • Grocery baskets or carts
  • Plastic or cloth food (e.g. fruits and vegetables)
  • Clear containers of grains and/or beans

Place these around on a table or shelves for the children to explore and put in their baskets or bags.

If you have a toy cash register, make play money from paper or cardboard and have one child or the teacher be the cashier. Put large price tags on the food in easy denominations for the children to tally up.

Other ideas to extend the game or challenge older children:

  • Make a grocery list with words or pictures of foods.
  • Discuss food choices—where do eggs or milk come from?
  • Take the children to an actual grocery store for a field trip—many offer nutrition tours with Registered Dietitians.