There are such a wide variety of shops that children can be taken to. Shopping is often something that families shy away from, as it can be expensive to take children to do the weekly shop, with their pester power. However, taking children to visit shops provides them with so many meaningful opportunities for writing, map reading or making, money recognition, route planning and reviewing, and number recognition to name but a few. The variety will allow deep and meaningful discussions if well supported. Most areas have some sort of commerce happening in them that you can take the children along to.
It can support them to have more meaningful understanding of role-play areas you have set up. Being able to re-enact what you know is important for young children as it help them to make sense of their world. Before setting up a role-play area, it will be important to think about how much do my children know about this? If children are rarely taken to shops etc how will they know about the differing roles that staff do in the shops or the types of shops there are? One setting on the project wanted children to experience this built environment as they felt children often experience this in conjunction with negativity as they are often told not to touch things, to be quick, and that shopping is done to the adults’ agenda. To try and counteract this and to make the most of the learning opportunities, small groups were going to be taken into town where adults would support the children to observe the differing types of shop, the variety of roles adults fill, to choose books for themselves from the library, and to be responsible for their safe keeping.
Visiting a variety of food shops, for example, can give the children opportunities to discuss the different types of food available, the layout, the different roles and departments. Some of the larger supermarkets let the children go behind the scenes to find out about deliveries etc.