the store

The boys have had a 'store' in Phillip's room for about a year and a half. Until this weekend, it consisted of that single table you see in the front, a few food toys, and a cash register. Last weekend, we bought some new nightstands at an antiques place (even though they're not antiques):
(nice, eh?) and had Adam's old one to find a new use for. Inspiration struck last night while Phillip was having a special movie-watching with Adam pre-bedtime, so I did a quick cleaning of his room, rearranged the store with the new cash register stand, put everything in its proper place, moved some new things in and attached the phone and a hook for shopping bags. And when the sun appeared this morning, Phillip and I took a lot of pictures. (These ones are mine.)

I know I've mentioned 3M's Command Picture Hanging Strips before. (They don't pay me, but I would happily accept if they offered!) We LOVE them, especially with our plaster walls which they won't damage. The medium ones will hold up to 9 pounds of weight, so I used them to attach the phone to the side of the cash register stand. It wasn't a thick enough piece of wood to drill or nail into, so they were the perfect solution.

Part of the store takes up one of P's bookshelves. We use clean actual food packaging that's sturdy to add to the collection. When it gets worn out, there's usually something being emptied in the kitchen that we can move upstairs.
I found these toys at Frenchy's when Phillip was brand new. I can't even tell you how much I love them. The boys don't play with them much, which is good because they're probably made of solid lead or something.

Serious business talk. 
 This is my favouite play area in the house, and it keeps the boys busy for fairly long stretches of time, so I think they like it, too. It's when it's really tidy and everything's in its proper place that they play the longest, which makes perfect sense. It was not expensive at all, mostly because many of the toys were gifts over the past few years. And it doesn't take up much space, either. The cash register is one of my favourites (can you tell from the ridiculous number of pictures?) and the breakfast set has always been very well loved. The ice cream set, food cutting set, and pizza set are all Melissa and Doug (and we have the shape sorter under the table, there, too .) Thomas is really into the food cutting set right now - it would make a great gift for a little one around two years old if you're stuck for an idea. The food pieces are velcroed together and there's a wooden knife to 'cut' it apart with. The bags were given to us with Christmas gifts inside, and are the perfect size for little shoppers. I found the phone on Etsy and gave it to the boys for Christmas. I love the cloth tea bags, too - they're also an Etsy find. My sister made the larger table in her grade 9 woodworking class (thanks, Mar - please don't ask for it back) and the nightstand / cash register table was Adam's since he was a kid.

Pretend play is so important to kids' development. (Not to mention fun!) And it's also really important to me that it's with nice objects that are solid and feel pleasant to hold and interact with. Having a play store provides a tonne of learning opportunities - to practice math, counting, social interaction skills, memory (when taking breakfast orders, for example), nutrition label reading, budgeting and planning shopping trips. Along with those kinds of measurable things, it's also a place to talk about the kinds of things that we believe are important about consuming. Why we buy the foods that we do, why it's important to us not to buy needlessly, why we think carefully about the things that we do purchase, and what we as a family are looking for in the things we buy. All of that (and more) from a couple of tables, some toys, and some food packaging.

I hope you've had a lovely weekend, and enjoyed this little tour of P&T's store!


  1. So wonderful!

    And this, "The boys don't play with them much, which is good because they're probably made of solid lead or something." cracked me up. :D (We have a lot of charming vintage toys of the same construction here...)

  2. What a great little store... I LOVE all the toys, so cute!!

  3. If I don't stop reading your blog, I am liable to show up one day with suitcases and ask to move in! I just love, love, love the little store. I wish I had thought of something like that for my boys when they were little.

    I'm in lust with your new round night stand too!

  4. Anonymous2/20/2012

    What an adorable play area! I wasn't able to get a proper kitchen or store area set up for my boys when they were little, but I hope to while my little girl is still small...and I'm sure her older brothers will be pulled into playing with it too. Inspirational looking at yours!

  5. I want to shop there. It looks way nicer than the store I frequent every week. And that store manager looks like he means business...

  6. My guys use to do this too when they were little...then it moved out to the hall and they wanted real money for their things. We had fun with it all!

  7. Well, the next time I visit, I'll bring my grocery shopping list!

  8. Joanne MD-B2/24/2012

    I want to play in that store!

    1. You're welcome any time at all, Joanne! I think I have just as much fun as the boys do. Bring Mr. L for a date with Thomas!

  9. This is so wonderful! Little Ellie Tudor (Tasha's great-granddaughter) would simple adore it! Now, I must know--where are the little fabric tea bags from? I think I just might have to sew some up with Tasha's fabric for Ellie to add to her own little kitchenette play area! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thanks, Natalie! The tea bags are from an Etsy shop which is currently on vacation (http://www.etsy.com/shop/aebaby). They would be very simple to make. I can't recall what these ones are filled with, but they have a nice weight to them that they boys love. Israeli couscous would work well, or a couple of dried beans - just enough to weigh them down a bit. Of course, my favourite option of all would be a little bunch of dried herbs! Lavender in particular. :)


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