Role Play can be one of the most important activities for young children, it not only stimulates their imagination but can helps with their social development. Literacy, numeracy and other curriclum activities can all be planned as part of a role play situation

Below are some suggestions for role play with linking activities.


A Garden Shop

This can be particularly appropriate in the Spring and Summer Terms when it can coincide with growing activities.


Suggested items to collect:


Plant pots
Containers of artificial flowers
Seed packets (made by the children)

Child sized:

Watering can
Seed trays



  • Take a trip to a local garden centre.
  • Grow cress, sunflowers, pumpkins, beans, beansprouts etc.
  • Design and make seed packets.
  • Make paper and card flowers for the shop.
  • Discuss safety issues in a garden, including poisonous plants and berries.
  • Maths activities -
    Counting, using plant pots and seeds, flowers in a bucket.
    Money, using a play till and money.

There are endless variations of shops: Bakers, Newsagents, Shoe and Clothes shops, even a mini supermarket which can all incorporate activities from other curriculum areas.


A Beach Shop

This is appropriate particularly during the summer term and could be used alongside activities about the sea and sea shore.



Suggested items to collect:




Arm bands
Inflatable rings/boats
Fishing nets
Sandcastle flags

Blackboard for tide times
Ice cream posters
Post cards
Sand Tray


  • Designing and making postcards to sell at the shop.
  • If you are lucky enough to live by a beach, then you could arrange a trip.
  • Designing ice-creams and ice lollies for a poster.
  • Maths activities -
    Counting buckets, spades, or shells etc
    Money, using a play till and money.
    Comparing sizes of buckets and spades.
    Sorting, for example, shells by shape and colour.
  • Science activities -
    Making ice-lollies, looking at how freezing juice changes it from liquid to solid.
    Making sandcastles, comparing dry sand and wet sand. Which makes the best sand castles?

A Farm Shop

This is suitable for any time of year as the vegetables and fruit on display can match the changing seasons.



Suggested items to collect:


Baskets for fruit and vegatables

Play food

Fruit and vegetables


Blackboard for prices/special offers

Shoe and cereal boxes to make vegetable boxes

Notepads and pencils

Posters showing fresh fruit and vegetables

Card for price tags



  • Designing poster and labels for the produce
  • Writing orders for delivery
  • the Weighing fruit and vegetables
  • Use the shop to look at seasonal fruit and vegetables, discuss where it comes from. Do any of the children's families grow their own?
  • Printing using the cut fruit and vegetables
  • Maths activities-
    Weighing ingredients for cooking activities using the fruit or vegatables
    Money, using a play till and money
    Counting the fruit and vegetables for the farm vegetable box delivery


A Cafe

This is appropriate any time of the year and can encourage a lot of interaction between the children. Make a change by having a French or Italian cafe - the possibilities are endless.



Suggested items to collect:


Plastic Tea set


Napkins and serviettes

Plastic cutlery



Play food

Cakes and Biscuits

Menu cards

Blackboard for menu

Notepads and pencils

Hats and aprons

Chairs and tables



  • Cooking, making small cakes and biscuits to sell in the shop.
  • Use the cafe as a way of introducing food from other cultures.
  • Make menu cards or have a blackboard for the children to write the menu for the day.
  • Maths activities -
    Weighing out ingredients when cooking.
    Money, using a play till and money.
    Counting and sorting cups, saucers, plates and cutlery, cakes etc.



A Theatre or Cinema Box Office

Again this is appropriate any time of the year and could coincide with an end of term performance of songs or play for the parents.


Suggested items to collect:




Play till


Posters, (real or child made)


Simple seating plan


Programmes (made by the children)



  • Making posters and programmes.
  • The box office could be used to sell tickets to parents for an end of term event.
  • If possible this activity could coincide with a visit to a local theatre.
  • Making popcorn, looking at the change in the corn
  • Maths activities -
    Money, using a play till and money.
    Counting by making a seating plan out of squared paper and using coloured stickers to stick on the squares to represent when the seat has been sold.
    Introducing time, what time the performances will start.