At the beginning of circle time, hand a wallet containing play money to each child. Some wallets can contain a single dollar or coin whereas others can contain several dollars of play money. Use the wallets to spark a conversation with your group. Ask them which store they would like to visit and what they would like to purchase. Have them look inside their wallet to see if they have enough money to purchase the item that they want.
Conversation in a bag
For circle time, fill a reusable grocery bag with items that can be purchased in various types of stores. With the children in your group, name the items one by one and identify the type of store where each item can be bought. Ask children if they go to the grocery store with their mother or father. Have each child name his or her favorite store.
I am talking about stores…with a puppet
Use a puppet to encourage children to speak about various subjects related to the theme. The puppet may help those who are shy to participate. It can also represent a useful tool for those who struggle with language. One thing is certain, the puppet will make circle time interesting for all!
A treasure hunt to discover the theme
(Open educa-decorate-Stores) Print and laminate. Set the pictures on items throughout your daycare. Invite children to search for them. Together, name the illustrated items. Encourage children to try to identify the theme.
Throughout the week, encourage children to pretend they are store managers. Each day, during your morning circle time, name a manager in chief. Determine certain privileges for each manager (examples: no nap, no need to participate in toy cleanup, etc.).
Suggested circle time questions:
- Have you ever visited a store?
- Who do you normally go to the store with?
- What is your favorite store? Why?
- Do you know what a department store is?
- What can we find at the store?
- Are items in stores free? Who pays when you go to the store?
(Open thematic poster-Stores) Print, laminate, and decorate the walls of your daycare with all kinds of posters.
(Open educa-decorate-Stores) Print, cut out, and laminate. Use the illustrations to decorate the walls of your daycare and set the mood for the theme.
(Open educa-theme-Stores) Print and laminate the elements representing the theme. Use them to present the theme to your group while decorating your daycare.
(Open stickers-Stores) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and cut them out. Use them to create a collection of original stickers for the children in your group.
(Open number lines-Stores) Print, laminate, and cut out the dollar bills and coins. Hang a few indoor clotheslines. Have children hang dollars and coins of the same color on the clotheslines in numerical order.
Hang objects representing different types of stores from your daycare ceiling to surprise children when they arrive and lead them to think about the theme. Set up a customer service counter. Stand behind it to welcome parents and children in the morning.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with your group. Use them to decorate your daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game-Stores) Print, laminate, and store the pictures in a Ziploc bag or in your thematic bin.
(Open picture game-Stores) Print the pictures twice and use them for a memory game.
ACTIVITY SHEETS AND WRITING ACTIVITIES
Writing activity-S like Store
(Open writing activities-S like Store) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open activity sheets-Stores) Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions.
Use the flashcards to spark a conversation with your group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open giant word flashcards-Stores) (Open word flashcards-Stores) Print. cash register, money, bag, basket, barcode, customer, store flyer, scale, receipt, coins, optical reader, display
(Open bargain hunting) Print the items. Children will have to search for the best price for each one. Set several store flyers on the table. Name the items on the list with your group. Encourage children to find the appropriate store flyer for each item and then flip through the pages to try to find it. Once children have all found an item, compare prices. Who found the item at the best price? In which type of store is each item sold (a grocery store, a department store, a hardware store, a pet store, a jewelry store, etc.)? Together, determine the best option, cut out the corresponding item and glue it on the corresponding card.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
I am learning to fold a sweater
(Open tools-Learning to fold a sweater) Print several copies. Invite children to decorate their tool and color it. Next, laminate the tools and cut them out. Show children how they can lay a sweater flat upside down on a table (or the floor) and set their tool face down near the collar, with the flap sticking out of the top of the sweater. Next, show them how they can fold each side of the sweater over their tool and then fold the sleeves before folding the bottom part of the sweater over their tool, flattening it out after each step. To complete the exercise, they can turn their sweater over and pull on the flap to obtain a perfectly folded sweater, like magic. Each day, have fun setting a variety of colorful sweaters on a table and asking children to fold them. They will love practicing this new skill at daycare…and taking their tool home to use it to help their parents fold laundry.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Stores
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Stores) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
Customer punch cards
(Open customer punch cards-Stores) Print, laminate, and cut out a series of cards for each child. Represent the different types of stores using blocks and accessories. Add a certain number of figurines in each store. Children count the customers in each store and punch the corresponding number of holes in the correct card.
The riddle bag
Set a series of objects related to the theme (toys, clothing items, grocery store items, etc.) in a reusable shopping bag. Children take turns trying to identify an object that is in the bag without looking inside it. Each child may ask 2 questions. If a child is unable to name an object that is in the bag, his turn is over. When a child succeeds, let him be the one who answers the next player’s questions.
(Open store logos) Print. Laminate and secure the logos on the floor. Play music. When the music stops, children must quickly sit down on a store logo (variation of musical chairs). If you wish, add a store that they must avoid, just for fun!
Ask your local grocer for cardboard boxes. Let children play with the boxes as they see fit. They will spend hours building tunnels, houses, towers, and other structures.
Divide your group into two teams. Give each team a shopping cart or basket. Children take turns driving the cart or carrying the basket. Provide clues so that children can identify one grocery store item at a time. As a team, children must try to find each corresponding item. The first team who finds an item sets in their cart or basket. At the end of the activity, count the items that are in each team’s cart or basket to determine a winning team.
Prior to this activity, prepare a few boxes containing different items that can be found in one or more types of stores. Set the items in the center of your parachute and have fun raising and lowering the parachute as a group to make the items bounce off. You could, for example, have fabric flowers to represent a flower shop, plastic screws to represent a hardware store, clothing items to represent a boutique, etc.
The musical item
Have children sit in a circle. To the sound of music, have them pass an item around. When the music stops, the child holding the item must name the type of store where the item can be purchased. Start over, handing children a new item.
Grocery bag race
Children take turns running from one point to another while holding 2 grocery bags that you have filled with items to make them somewhat heavy. If you wish, add a few obstacles such as a balance beam and hula hoops to provide older children with a challenge.
(Open game-Clothing) Print and laminate. Divide your group into two teams. Give each team a bag containing the same clothing items (sweaters, pants, socks, etc.). Each team selects one child who will be their model. His or her team members must follow the sequence displayed on the wall to dress their model. Use your imagination and don’t hesitate to make this somewhat silly!
Creating store displays
Provide several empty bottles and cans. Encourage children to stack them as if they were stocking store shelves to create displays.
I am going to the market...
Sit in a circle with the children in your group. Say, “I am going to the market to find…” Name an item to complete the sentence. The child sitting next to you must repeat the sentence, include the item you named, and add one of his own choosing. The game continues until a child forgets a previously named item.
Rally...in local stores
(Open rally-Stores) Print and laminate. The object of the game is to identify different stores and merchants during a walk in your neighborhood. If you prefer, you could organize a treasure hunt that will involve visiting various stores. At each store, children could, for example, find a picture of the next store they must find. This activity could last all week.
The four corners of our town
(Open game and passport-Shopping) Print for each child. Set up a different type of store in each corner of your yard. Invite children to visit each store using a different means of transportation. At each store, they can have you or one of their peers stamp their passport.
A trip to the supermarket
Ask the parents of the children in your group to accompany you on a trip to the supermarket. Visit the fruits & vegetables section, the milk products section, the meat counter, the cereal aisle…and the candy aisle. Help children notice how a supermarket is divided into food groups. If you wish, you can prepare a grocery list and invite children to help you find the items.
My job is…
Invite parents to come speak to your group about their job or profession. If there are store owners among them, even better!
Hand parents a piece of paper and encourage them to draw, with their child, the store they enjoy visiting together most.
Coloring hunt and seek-Stores
(Open coloring hunt and seek-Stores) Print and laminate. Cut out the cards. Children pick a card, find the corresponding item, and color it using the correct color.
Magnifying glass game
(Open magnifying glass game-Stores) Print. Laminate the board game and the cards. Cut them out and store them in a box or plastic bag. Children pick a card and search for the item on the board game, using a magnifying glass. Once they have found the item, they deposit the card in the correct square, on the board game.
(Open association game-Stores) Print and laminate. Children take turns picking a card representing an object and associating it with the correct store. The first child who fills his card wins.
(Open toy display) Print a shelving unit as well as a series of toys for each child and for yourself. Print and cut out a set of instructions too. Children cut out the toys. Next, pick a card and read the instructions. Children must listen closely and set the toys on the shelves to create a display. Set the corresponding toys on your shelves too. Note that sometimes, there is more than one possibility. Compare your results. Would the children in your group be good toy store employees? Start over with a new set of instructions. Children will also enjoy taking turns inventing instructions of their own.
Fill a bin with boxes, metal cans (without sharp edges), and clean bottles. Invite children to sort them. Once this is done, have them arrange the boxes, cans, and bottles from smallest to biggest.
(Open express shopping) Print, laminate, and cut out the cards illustrating various items that are for sale and the coins. Add the coins to the wallets used to introduce the theme. Children take turns “buying” an item and paying for it with their coins. Next, children can purchase a second item, a third item, and maybe even a fourth one, depending on the prices of their chosen items. They must have enough coins left! If a child regrets a purchase, let him return it and reimburse him or her. This will ensure the game lasts longer and multiply the opportunities for children to count their coins!
I sort, group, and associate
Use grocery store items to encourage children to sort, group, and associate different objects per their color, size, use, food group, etc.
Hunt and seek-Stores
(Open hunt and seek-Store) Print and laminate. Children pick a card and search for the item in the scene.
Lock and key game
Set several locks and keys in front of your group. Ask children to use the keys to open the locks. They can pretend they are store owners who need to unlock the doors of their store.
Set several items representing various stores on the table and ask children to observe them closely. After a few minutes, cover the items with a towel or blanket and remove one. Remove the towel or blanket and ask children to identify the missing item.
At the mall
(Open perpetual calendar-A day at the mall) Your daycare becomes a mall for the day! Greet children behind a counter representing an information kiosk to start the day. Direct them to different stores. If you can, use a microphone, just for fun!
Your reading corner becomes a bookstore filled with treasures, your building blocks area can represent a hardware store, and your role play area can be a grocery store or a boutique…
Think of the different types of stores that you can find at the mall and use them for inspiration to create workshops and activities for this special day. Your yard can become a fair like the ones that visit mall parking lots. At snack time and lunch time, serve children as if they were in a food court and let them pick and choose among different options.
Since many food courts offer food options from various countries, use snacks and meals to introduce children to different types of foods.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
(Open role play-Stores) Print and laminate the different nametags and thread each one onto a ribbon so that children can wear them around their neck. Distribute the nametags among the children in your group to attribute various roles associated with the theme (cashier, clerk, customer, display designer, salesperson, etc.). Print and laminate the labels with prices on them and press them on various items using adhesive putty. Create store displays with items that are “for sale”. Print, laminate, and cut out the coins as well as the cards indicating different types of stores. Have fun playing with the children in your group.
Let’s build our own mall
(Open our mall) Print, laminate, and cut out the store signs. Encourage your group to work together to conceive and build a mall using building blocks. Children can start by building a large rectangle (outside walls) and then create subdivisions. They can press the store signs on the different store fronts using adhesive putty. The blank store signs can be used to add store names invented by the children in your group. Simply write these names on the signs using a dry-erase marker. Once they are done, let children play in their mall with figurines.
Preparing a grocery list
(Open grocery lists) Print and laminate 2 grocery carts. Print, laminate, and cut out the grocery lists. Divide your group into 2 teams. Each team picks a grocery list. Set grocery store flyers in the center of the table. When you give the signal, children try to find the food items that are on their list in the flyers. Every time they find an item on their team’s list, they cut it out and set it in their cart. The first team to find all their items wins.
Public announcement system
In malls and large stores, we sometimes hear a manager or employee speak over the public announcement system. Provide a microphone and a small recording machine. Ask children to make a store announcement. Record each child’s announcement and play them back for your group afterwards.
Large department stores often organize fashion shows to present their new clothing lines. Organize a fashion show with your group. Children will enjoy presenting their favorite clothes or outfits they have created using items from your role play area (shoes, shirts, dresses, jewelry, hats, etc.).
Gather a white smock or shirt, empty medicine bottles, pill bottles filled with colorful items and sealed with hot glue, prescription pads, shampoo and conditioner bottles, mouthwash bottles, makeup, nail polish, etc. Let children pretend they are drugstore employees or customers.
If you don’t already have a responsibility chart in your daycare, this is the perfect theme to create one. The tasks attributed to children in a daycare setting closely resemble those executed by store employees (help others, run errands, cleanup, etc.)
Store janitors are often forgotten, but they are the ones that ensure we can shop in clean environments. Provide buckets, brooms, mops, spray bottles, shirts, rags, dusters, etc. Let children pretend they are store janitors.
(Open price list) Print and laminate. Set a cash register on a table and let children take turns playing the role of the cashier. Give the other children a shopping bag with handles and invite them to shop (select items available in your daycare). They can fill their bag and then pay for their items. Use this activity to tidy your daycare. Dust shelves and items before putting things back where they belong. To practice counting skills, encourage children to help you take inventory of certain items. (Open pretend money)
EARLY SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
Dye old cotton clothing items to create a unique clothing line with your group. You can use red cabbage, Kool-Aid, blueberry juice, powdered mustard in water, beet juice, brewed tea or coffee, etc. Have fun experimenting. You may be surprised by the results. For a tie dye effect, roll up your cotton clothing items and secure rubber bands around them before dipping them in the various mixtures to create fun designs.
Precious stone collection
Ask children to collect rocks during a walk. Experiment various ways of transforming ordinary rocks to make them look like precious stones. You can, for example, paint the rocks and add glitter to your paint. Varnish the painted rocks once they are dry to add a touch of shine.
Ask your local florist to give you white daisies or carnations. Fill several drinking glasses with different colors of food coloring and water. Set a flower in each glass and watch its transformation over a period of a few hours. The flowers will slowly change color as the stems drink the water.
Open your very own juice stand. Use a juice extractor and different types of fruits and vegetables to create delicious juices with your group.
Ice cream stand
Children will enjoy pretending they are ice cream stand employees. Provide vanilla ice cream, fruit coulis, caramel and chocolate sauce, cherries, and sprinkles. Let each child prepare his or her own treat.
Recipes from around the world
Mall food courts often offer foods from different countries: sushi, Italian food, Lebanese food, Chinese food, Mexican food, fast food, etc. Pick a country (or a few countries) and search online for easy recipes that you can prepare with your group.
ARTS & CRAFTS
My cash register
(Open my cash register) Print for each child. Laminate the circles containing numbers, the dollar bills, and the coins. Have children cut them out. Each child must also cut a square measuring approximately 20 cm x 20 cm out of construction paper. You will need a shoebox lid for each child. Have them paint their lid. Let dry. Once the paint is dry, children can glue their colorful square on their lid placed vertically in front of them. Help them press the numbers on their square in numerical order (the zero can however be added at the end). The circles containing numbers will represent cash register buttons. Cut 2 slits in each child’s lid, one that they can insert dollar bills through and a smaller one for inserting coins. Children will have fun playing with their cash register.
I am creating my own store
Give each child an empty shoebox that they can use to create a unique store. Provide a wide range of arts & crafts materials that they can use to decorate their store as they see fit. Once their store is ready, children can add various items to their shoebox store.
Ask each child to bring an old pair of shoes to daycare. This activity consists of letting children paint their shoes to create a unique look. Once the shoes are dry, you can play “shoe store” with your group. Use this activity to talk about shoemakers. Variation: You may also choose to do this activity with hats instead of shoes.
My very own sweater
Ask each child to bring a solid white t-shirt to daycare. If you prefer, purchase solid t-shirts at your local dollar store. Let children paint on their sweater as they see fit using fabric paint (slide a piece of cardboard inside each child’s t-shirt to avoid the paint seeping through both layers). Children will be so proud to wear their unique t-shirt.
**Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottles of fabric paint to set the color, but also to know how the t-shirts can be washed to preserve children’s creations.
Variation: You could also create one t-shirt as a group and let children take turns wearing it.
At the jewelry store!
Provide a variety of tiny objects that children can use to create unique pieces of jewelry : beads, pompoms, plastic precious stones, metallic wire, ribbon, etc.
Set a large piece of white paper on the floor and invite children to create an advertising banner for a store (or for your group). Show them pictures of signs on various store fronts for inspiration.
Fruits and vegetables that are past their prime make fantastic homemade stamps! Another option may be to use fresh flowers.
Provide screws, nuts, bolts, metallic wire, and other metallic items to create original sculptures with your group.
Give each child a white adhesive floor tile. Let them paint directly on their tile to create original masterpieces.
Mall scale model
Use a variety of recycled materials, a large piece of cardboard, and your imagination to create a scale model of your local mall (or the mall of your dreams) with your group.
(Open coloring pages theme-Stores) Print for each child.
Identical coloring pages-Stores
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.
(Open creative coloring-Store) Print for each child. Have children complete the drawing.
The educatall team