We had so much fun with one activity in particular during our letter C- Cupcake week of preschool that I had to write a blog post just about this. It was so. fun. I knew I wanted pretend play to play a much bigger role in our lives/ school time this year and just had not fit it in the past 2 weeks but after this experience, we will be making room for it in some capacity every week!

I’ll be linking this post up with 1+1+1-1.

I took all of the trays off of our school shelves and set up frostings, cupcakes, cookies, plates and accessories on the different shelves.

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I used the school table as our counter to separate the customer from the baker and set the cash register on the table. We got this adorable cash register from Learning Resources with the idea that we would tie it into school this year with counting, addition, subtraction, etc. through pretend play. And the girls love it!

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I put money out for the shoppers to use and then proceeded to “act” out an experience at the bakery. I then told the girls they could take turns being the baker and the shopper. This worked on soooo many skills I just kept giggling at the thrill of hidden learning while they played!

The shopper would order what she wanted. This took great listening skills on the part of the baker as they needed to pay special attention to the details of the order (one vanilla cupcake with pink frosting and two cookies. One cookie with peanut butter frosting and one with pink sprinkles.) That’s a lot of directions to remember! Hmmmm…kind of like go take off your pajamas and put them in your room and put your underwear in the dirty clothes and choose clean underwear….that one is always hard to remember- but I digress.

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The baker would then need to add up the items (math) and type in the numbers on the cash register (number recognition.) And give the total to the shopper.

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The shopper would then count out their money to the baker. We did not use the “real” system of how much each piece of money is worth…that is far beyond us at this point. We would just count out the right amount of what we chose, sometimes coins, sometimes bills and sometimes write a “check”. I laminated squares of white paper for our checks and put out a dry erase crayon. We’ve not spent much time focusing on writing numbers so I wanted to find a fun way to work on this with MK. RJ actually really enjoyed it too.  This was great 1:1 counting practice and writing practice!

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After money was exchanged the baker would give the delicious goodies to the shopper who would consume them with much delight!

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Then the baker would put back all the pieces in their designated spots on the shelves before switching with the shopper and taking turns again. This skill is HUGE for us….we have lots of problems at our house with putting things back where they go. I’ve tried many, many, MANY ways to help the girls pick up after themselves and all usually end in frustration on everyone’s part. So I’m happy to have a new, fun way to work on this skill.

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Another HUGE skill that was great practice was self-control. It was really hard for the shopper to stay on their side of the counter. It was really hard for the baker not just to take whatever money from the shopper they wanted…..There is always lots of fighting at our house over whose turn it is, who has more, who is touching what, etc. and this really kept everything very clear. And their was a clear end to each person’s turn.

We played at this for 2 straight hours before interest was lost! So much great practice and so much fun! I plan to set this up again another time and guide them through the play again. If they get the hang pretty consistently, then I’ll probably leave it out on the shelves for them to play with unattended throughout the week. I just want to be sure that these “stations” are not a place of fighting and arguing but just of fun, constructive play.

While playing and enjoying, I had a million ideas running through my head of how we would do different activities and how beneficial they would be. Again…I just sat there playing and thanking God that He has given us the means and hearts to homeschool the girls so I can be such an active part of their learning. I have been loving every minute of it and the best part is the girls have been loving it too! So much joy!

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