When toddlers engage in imaginative play, such as role playing, this opens the door to healthy emotional and social developments that lasts a lifetime. Little ones are preparing themselves for school, social situations in everyday life, and learning to cope with peers while building self-esteem!
Our children are little mirrors of ourselves - they emulate the grown-ups in their lives. So it's up to parents and caregivers to provide the necessary toys to encourage this kind of pretend play. Here is a perfect example:
Taking my 3 toddlers to the grocery store used to be a trip I dreaded, especially if there is only one kiddie cart left in the store. This was years ago, and caused more than one tantrum in the cereal aisle. I searched everywhere for a toddler sized cart to use at home, but could only find plastic carts that fell apart way too easily. When Melissa and Doug released their metal grocery cart, just like Mom uses, I broke into the happiest of happy dances. Finally, I had some leverage while shopping with my gang. The child who uses the cart in the grocery store gets the last turn with the cart at home. Genius move on my part, and it actually worked!
Another important skill learned through role play at the grocery store and beyond is what kind of food to buy - and how to cook it! Melissa and Doug have several play food sets, and we are huge fans of all of them. Do you have a child who is curious about baking? The Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set is made of sturdy wood that includes a baking pan, oven mitt, and toppings that velcro right on top of the cupcakes! Also included are candles for special occasions! Another fave of mine is the Cutting Food Box that includes wooden fruit/vegetables and a wooden loaf of bread, all held together with safe velcro closures (when bread is cut with wooden knife, it sounds like a fresh, crusty loaf being sliced)!
Add the Fresh Mart Grocery Store companion set (apron, play credit cards and coupons, pretend food), or the Snacks and Sweets Cart, and kids can start developing an important social skill as well as practicing early math skills!
Stop by a Wonder Works location today, and observe your tots playing with the grocery cart, snacks and sweets snack cart, and the pretend Fresh Mart Grocery Store. The West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant stores have grocery carts, snacks and sweets cart, and play store already set up for easy observation, to the delight of young children and their families. Our Magic Makers know the importance of imaginative play, and welcome hands-on play experience for all of our customers. Come see us today!