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DIY Play Store

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How to make a children’s play store. This DIY play grocery store is easy to make by upcycling an old bookshelf and some wood scraps.

My kids LOVE pretend play. And while I’m sort of crap at playing toys with my kids, I enjoy playing “store” or “restaurant” with them. It’s fun to teach them how to buy their own groceries, throw in some math practice when they’re older, and to generally be silly. I love to ask for ice cream at the restaurant, point to a distraction when it’s delivered by my “waiter” then make it disappear with big nom nom nom noises. The kids got a kick out of it when they were younger. Sometimes I see my older sons mimic this play with their little brother and it’s ADORABLE.

Now back when my oldest was little, they didn’t have as many cool “toy shopping” sets that you could purchase. I loved this play store that I saw on Welcome to the Mouse House so we tried to replicate it a bit. Theirs is much more elaborate than ours!

Blog post originally posted February 27, 2014. Updated March 2021.


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I asked my husband to help me build this, back before I learned how to do a lot of the building myself, but he didn’t want to screw anything into the wall. This really limited us on trying to replicate the original design.

Instead, we bought a ClosetMaid 899600 6-Cube Stackable Laminate Organizer, White, flipped it on the side as she did, and added a long board with two legs. I glued on some picnic table fabric I’d found a while back in the remnants bin.

how to make an easy shopping center for pretend play

Using small boxes, I made some fabric storage bins to put foods in. You will need spray adhesive for both the boxes and the picnic table fabric so pick up a can. It comes in useful for me quite frequently.

I also added his favorite play toys:

And an assortment of toy foods and upcycled food containers.

how to make your own play store

Of course now you can buy all sorts of fancy toy grocery stores. We really like this Melissa & Doug Grocery Store.

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