Eva’s Play Market Then and Now

About two years ago, I made a little play market to go with Eva’s play kitchen, complete with baskets and natural wood and educational toys all lined up. I added in the little shopping cart we already had, a new cash register, and some extra play food. We were already swimming in play food but I wanted to round out the produce section, the bakery, the canned goods, etc.

Play kitchen and pretend market shop. See more photos here:

Cute, isn’t it? Eva loved it, too…until it came time to clean up. Then she’d kick whatever was on the floor in the general direction of the play kitchen and she’d be done with it. I would be the one sorting produce, lining up donuts, refilling play cans, and trying to use Magic Eraser to get the scuffs off the wall from rogue shopping cart excursions. It was ok in the beginning, but it didn’t take long for me to realize why I had never sought employment in the grocery industry.

After a while I emptied the market and repurposed the space for something else. We thinned the play food out a little to rotate it, lost interest in rotating, and threw it all into a big bin. As for the shopping cart, we tripped over it daily until I finally found another home for in it (as in, it’s another mom’s problem in another person’s house because that thing is out to get me).

And then…

Eva read a picture book that included a supermarket and wanted to recreate it. So, in the last rearrangement of the playroom, she made herself a little area and then she stocked the shelves for more than an hour. This is what she came up with:

Eva's Play Market

My immediate reaction was that I wanted to “fix” it for her. I wanted to put the utensils and dishes back in the kitchen, pull out our coordinated baskets, and create an abundant farmer’s market atmosphere. I wanted to add chalk signs, line up the boxes of raisins, stack oatmeal cans, and add some fake flower arrangements at the side for a little pop of color. I even saw a little canopy in my mind…maybe some PVC pipe and a little striped fabric?

I mean, this isn’t a play market It’s just a collection of plastic junk all thrown together on some old playroom leftovers. Clutter. Yuck.

Funny thing, though. Both Eva and her brother are obsessed with the market. They’ve played in it every day and Eva spends a ton of time meticulously arranging and rearranging the layout of whatever she has on her shelves. It’s also sparked a new interest in their old play kitchen and we’ve been getting more creative meals served to us (cooked in cooperation and cleaned up on their own because apparently it’s fun now to put the food back in the market).

Eva’s market is never going to be a big draw for me on Pinterest. People won’t remark on how charming it is when they come over to the house and it doesn’t even add much to the playroom visually (at least in my opinion). But this one is so much more loved by everyone in the family (mom included) than my carefully curated project of yore.

Food for thought.

Play Market by a four year old

Share on
Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Rosemarie Treece

    It is a wise mom who holds herself back from “fixing” her child’s creations. If you did do it, what message would that send?
    “There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and your way is wrong.” “Your arrangement is not good enough.” We would never say these words to our children, yet with our actions we can write on their psyches many times a day. Good for you for taking a step back. I hope other moms and dads get some food for thought.

    November 8, 2015 at 11:57 am
    • Reply Carly Morgan


      November 9, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.