Easy DIY Play Grocery Store

Posted by Carly Morgan on

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Our play grocery store was created to go with the Red Retro Kitchen that her grandma bought as a surprise. We decided to give our daughter a little marketplace so she could purchase the groceries she was taking back to her kitchen and we found an inexpensive yet effective way to create just that.

The market was made out of IKEA shoe shelves and a $6 piece of wood, cut down for back supports and shelves along with $8 worth of L brackets and $10 worth of trays and baskets from the thrift store. It's not the fanciest but it gave her lots of room to play around and certainly did the trick.

Originally I was going to make a little awning, but I was worried that it would be too much for the dining room so she has a sign made out of a dollar set of flashcards instead. 

The cash register was a contribution from her dad, who popped her down to the toy store as soon as I had the play market up. I wasn't thrilled with it at first because I had visions of one of those vintage tin registers with the big buttons and the numbers that pop up, but this one has been surprisingly lovely. Eva has a lot of fun swiping her credit cards and scanning the food, so I think makes more sense to her than an older register would have.

(Note: I did originally have a money jar full of money because I thought she could have a little hippie co-op and practice counting. Yeah, that's the fastest way to get small pieces of plastic and paper all over your dining room.)

The Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart is sort of what started this whole thing. It's just Eva's size and has some great safety features, so it won out over other ones that we looked at. I got lucky and picked it up at a sidewalk sale for $30 when I was pregnant. Score!

As for play food, I still have quite a bit from when I was little, but I picked up some plastic bread, fruits, and veggies from Toys R Us because they were a realistic size and not very expensive. We've also had a lot of fun with a set of Learning Resources 1 to 10 Counting Cans that we got her for her birthday. I think it's supposed to be an educational toy for homeschooling, but the foods are cute and I like that we can talk about the colors and numbers when we're "shopping". Her Hide N Squeak Eggs are another education matching toy, sent in as a big sister present from my friend Margi.

Thrifted/Hand-me-downs: wooden shelves, dishes, assorted play food, baskets, trays

Purchased/Gifts: Red Retro Kitchen, lumber and brackets, Hide N Squeak Eggs, 1 to 10 Counting Cans, Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart, Melissa & Doug Fridge Food Set, play food and cash register from Toys R Us