...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


playing store

Avoiding her vegetables, Ava excused herself from dinner to go play in her kitchen. By the time we wrapped up with the dishes, I realized that she had expunged every play food stored in the back corner of our hutch. Cleaning up the mess, it dawned on me that the items could be organized better, sorting out the fruits and vegetables and so on... when Ava blurted out, "would you like to buy some apples please?" in a funny accent.

And just like that, our very own grocery store was open for business!

Ordering Pizza

Our shop sold pizza - by the slice, so I ordered one with mushrooms... I needed a cake for the birthday party I was having... pretzels for Aaron... and of course, a large chocolate chip cookie for Noah...

Grocery Store

Keep the change

Paper money from lost gameboards finally found life again, and were shuffled in and out of a ringing register... Ava bagged my groceries in small brown paper bags with handles. I loved how a cleaning spree turned quickly into a themed play activity, and we added items to our store as we went along...
My most favorite part was when it was my turn to play shopkeeper, and I told Ava that her credit card didn't work.

Me: Your card isn't working.

Ava: why?

Me: Because there's no money on it.

Ava: Oh [takes the teapot and taps it on the card] Now there is money on it!

Oh, how I love to play store....

Opening Your Own Store - Our Tips:

1. You don't need much space to buy and sell. We actually dedicated one cabinet from our kitchen hutch, suitable to her height, to store her groceries, and then placed baskets on the shelf to help her sort and display. Plus, it's a lot easier to see what we do have so that when I'm out thrifting, I won't buy the same pieces again.

2. My Dad actually scored this register from curbside! in perfect condition. We saw the exact same model at Lakeshore for over $20. It has a built-in calculator, so counting is made easy. If you don't want to splurge right now, jewelry boxes with pull out drawers and a large-faced calculator will also do the trick.

3. Reuse small paper gift bags and stash these in a drawer close by. Or better yet, craft a small fabric tote they can use for shopping "trips" over and over again...

4. We love playing with wooden food - the texture and size make playtime fun and the nostalgic and lasting quality for parents - are comforting. If you're looking to start a new collection, Melissa & Doug make fun wooden pantry goods to play with and perishable foods to practice cutting. Oh, and don't forget the pizza! Since these products have been around a long time, you may luck out and find sets also at a second-hand store.

5. Make some signs! Bring some creativity into your shop time by hanging a chalkboard announcing today's sales.

Playing "store" didn't require us to buy anything - just a unique storage space and open imagination. We love how we can just open/close the store without having to dismantle anything - and cleaning up is part of the store play, where we unbag our groceries and display them neatly for our next customers. We're looking forward to getting more ideas and creating things for it as we go along.

Good luck with your new business!
Mom & Ava - Owners


  1. Zarlacht,

    Firstly, let me say how sorry I am for not commenting on my favorite of blogs in so long (I enjoy all your entries so much!!!). And secondly, how ABSOLUTELY thrilled I am to be back as a constant, consistent commentor...wwwweeeeee!!!!

    I LOVE this entry! I always enjoyed playing shop with my sister. She had the microwave that made horrible brownies with nothing more than a little light bulb inside.

    One of my favorite memories is playing shop with Mackenzie and Macy, while we waited for the rain to stop at the beach. And I look forward to playing shop with Cameron when she gets a little older.

    Loved the dialog of you and Ava, yes, that would make it a lot easier to pay bills. And absolutely, wonderful ideas--I liked the creative solutions more than any plastic toy set.

    Can't wait to see you all tonight!!!


  2. We loooove playing store around here! I love the pantry idea.

    Here is another shop idea for you: we take out all our play clothe and accessories and set them out like a shop and then sell, sell, sell. The kids love it. It is even nicer if you have one of those self standing hanging racks. I need to find one.

  3. So glad to have you back here Dave! We're soo sorry we missed you both last night. There is definitely something buggy out there that's got me down and out.

    We'll have to open shop with you guys soon. Ava asked when you both were coming over - she had been anticipating it all week. And when I told her that we rescheduled bc "mommy is not feeling well" she said, "can Aunt Corbin and Uncle Dave still come over."

    I said no... but that they really wanted to see her and Noah. They even had dessert ready to bring. She pauses. Thinks for a few seconds then says, "can we call Aunt Corbin and Uncle Dave and see what they have for dessert?"

    LOL! I tell you... kids say the darnest things...

    Miss you guys! XXX

  4. LISA! That is a fantastic idea! I didn't think about clothes! I do have a standing hanging rack I picked up from IKEA a long time ago for the yard sales... I think they are about $15 ea. I may have to bring those out and lower it and play with that too. What a fantastic idea!! Thank YOU! Just wondering... do you guys sell kid clothes or... doll clothes... am wondering what kind of clothes I should let her play with. Maybe the ones that won't sell in our yard sale season after season LOL!

  5. Yes. Costumes, old fun and waky clothes you might have around, accessories and so on. We currently keep ours in this two extra large baskets, but I sure would like to find a child size rack, some hooks or coat rack so I can display some and they have easier access to the play clothes (instead of having to dig through the baskets to get to the one outfit they are looking for).

    Pretty much everything can work for store play. The baby toys is a good idea as well. It can be like a mini baby-r-us. Or heck, with all the matchbox cars my son inherited from his papi we can open up a mini car dealership. (Not a bad Idea!)

    Have fun playing and exploring new was to set up shops.

  6. Oh Lisa - costumes! Great idea. We inherited dress-up clothes for xmas this past year - and I'm with you, I started out with baskets to collect them in but noticed quickly that the kids weren't playing with them. It was hard to tell what the heck ended up in the basket. So we splurged with some xmas money we got and bought this for the playroom from IKEA.


    Ours are stacked side by side. One set has a door with a bar on the inside to hang clothes on and the other has drawers for those accessories [wands, hats, microphones ;)

  7. That is too adorable!!! Ava, is so sweet...and takes after her Aunt Corb and LOVES her sweets ;)

    So sorry, to hear you're under the weather...drink fluids and get lots of sleep, seriously no staying up past midnight...don't make me come over there :)

    Lets try again at the first of September!

    Lots of Love,
    -Dr. Dave

  8. Thanks Dr. Dave ;) I know you are right... but why is it so much harder to actually do. Been sleeping a lot during the day and find myself restless at night. Course, no energy to really do anything "productive" then anyway. Getting better though - and am already bookmarking some new recipes I want to try for you guys when you come over!


  9. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

    Lisa Renata

  10. Hope you are feeling better. Love your blog; it's inspirational.


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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