Grocery Store Unit Plan: Peek at my Month

How to set up and create a grocery store in your dramatic play center that is full of literacy and math opportunities.

Change your dramatic play center into a Grocery Store! It is easy to embed math and literacy learning opportunities into their play when they are pretending in the grocery store. When I change my dramatic play center, I like to take the theme all over the room into each and every center. 

Many people have asked questions about how I integrate my "theme" across my classroom.  Here is my planning web for the theme/study Grocery Store.  It is a 4 week food themed study in my preschool classroom.  Who doesn't love learning about food?
Instead of doing a typical Peek at my Week, I am doing a Peek at my Month and linking up with Dee Dee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.
One thing you will notice is that I add things to all my centers each week.  I teach in a full day, multi age preschool classroom.  I have 5 centers in my classroom:  blocks, art, library, discovery, and pretend.  My math/manipulative activity usually ends up either in the art center or in the discovery center.  Each week I have a focus.  The books I read, activities we do, and center activities I add to the centers all revolve around that focus.  We also do a math or science study along with our classroom theme.  During our Grocery Store Theme we did a Shapes unit.  The Grocery Store is FULL of shapes so I thought they would go well together!  You can read about our Shapes Unit HERE.
The first week of the study we are building background knowledge and busy setting up and creating props the Grocery Store.  Students made money, bunting signs, labels, and store ads (week 4).
At our Grocery Store the roles or people students can pretend to be are a shopper, cashier, and clerk.  I like to have each role have a writing and a math component they need to do when they pretend.  Writing is has a real purpose when it is part of their play.  The cashier writes a receipt for the customers and counts the money.
Cashiers are often left with nothing to do unless a shopper is checking out so they write and draw the daily specials.
 Clerks take inventory by counting the items.  Some students make tally marks to count and some write the numbers.  
Shoppers write shopping lists in their "cars" before they go shopping.  Their "cars" are just chairs they put near the center.  You can see his shopping list in his cart!  They also weigh the fruits and vegetables using the scale.
 Here are some shopping lists I kept for their portfolios.  
By the end of the unit, this is what our pretend Grocery Store looks like!
Here is a close up of the veggies students made for the store!  All I told them was we needed to make veggies for our store and this is what they created!  So much thought was put into them.  It was great fine motor work too.  LOVE LOVE LOVE
To keep the food and grocery store theme going in the library center I have many fun activities on the shelf.  I have shopping lists and word cards students can use to create a shopping list, color/dot the letters pages, and a letter sound PBJ match game.  These fun activities included in Food Math and Literacy Centers.
In the sensory table, I added beans.  Almost every week I add a new tool to the sensory table to keep students excited and engaged.
Here are a few path games we play.  Different students play the game different ways.  My 3 & 4 year old friends use a dice with number 1-6 and my pre-k friends just started working on rolling two dice, adding it together, and moving the total.
In the blocks center, students are building with cereal boxes!  I love to add random objects for students to build with.  The first week they are just exploring how to use the boxes in their building.  Each week after, I add a building strategy I saw my students using.  I took a picture and labeled their strategy!  Other students use the strategies as a reference when they build or they call their friend over to help when something isn't working!  I LOVE when students collaborate!
This unit has been AMAZING!  Everything you need to create a grocery store in your dramatic play center is included in Grocery Store Dramatic Play!  There is even a parent note you can copy and send home!  Take the food theme all over your classroom with Food Math and Literacy Centers!

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Thanks for taking a Peek into my Week (Month).  Be sure to check out what other teachers are doing this week over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.  Have a great week!


  1. Hi There,

    I'm just wondering.. Do you ask parents to send in the assorted food boxes/containers each year, or do you store them and use them again the next year? This center looks awesome! I'm just curious where you find the space to store it all!

    1. Yes I send a letter home asking for empty food boxes and containers. At the end of the study, I go through the store and keep some of the containers that I want to use for other dramatic play themes. I keep a plastic tub of dramatic play food, boxes, and containers in my closet. I break down the boxes so they fold flat and try to fit smaller containers in larger containers inside the tub. What is left in the store, we recycle.

  2. I love these ideas! What did you use as the different veggies? I'm having a hard time seeing a couple in the picture, looked the lettuce.


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