Going to market

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By Jenni Tavenerearly years teacher and writer

Set up a role-play market square where the children can pretend to buy and sell a selection of produce

Going to market

Market role play

Turn your role-play area into a market. Include two or three market stalls such as ‘fruit and vegetables’, ‘toys and games’, ‘flowers’ and ‘clothes’. Use large display boxes, tables or large cardboard boxes draped in colourful paper or fabric to represent individual stalls. Label each stall with bold words such as ‘Toy stall’, ‘Fresh fruit sold here’ and ‘Clothes for sale’.

Place a toy till or money box on each stall with real or pretend coins, together with a selection of price tags. Provide dressing-up clothes for the stallholders and customers to wear during role play. Include other useful resources such as shopping bags, baskets, wallets and handbags.

Invite the children to help organise each stall by displaying commercial and child-made items for sale. Encourage the children to join in role play by taking turns to be stallholders calling out their produce to passers-by and customers looking for a bargain.

Suggested resources

Role-play area, large display boxes, tables or large cardboard boxes; colourful paper or fabric; long strips of card; marker pens; toy till or money box; real or pretend coins; small labels; dressing-up clothes such as aprons, hats and jackets; shopping bags; baskets; wallets; handbags; commercial items such as boxed games, old toys, doll or baby clothes and plastic fruit and vegetables; child-made items such as paper flowers and clay fruit and vegetables.

1 The price is right

Sell reduced items at the role-play market

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

Numbers as Labels and for Counting

Development matters: create and experiment with symbols and marks (22-36 months); recognise numerals 1 to 5 (40-60+ months).

Early learning goal: use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

What you need

Group size: small groups.

Market role-play area; blank labels; pen.

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