Fun and Games – Pass the Time Learning

Tell your kids: Get out a “handbag,” it’s time for some retail therapy! 

You know that pile of toys, books and clothes lying on the playroom or bedroom? You may actually see the floor again with this game.  These games, created by my mom, Mary Lu Johnston, GrandMa Extradorinaire, are a fun way to clean up the mess

Grandma teaches Allie how to make meatballs
Grandma teaches Allie how to make meatballs




Store Lady

The Caregiver sits at the “cash register” (try a calculator or buy a toy cash register).  Then “customers” (kids) bring her/him items from the piles of toys on the floor, to “buy.” After “payment” (your choice – we used Goldfish crackers), the children must put items onto the proper shelf or storage container.  It gets the toys off the floor, and they practice counting in the process.

The “Store Lady” offers different challenges depending on the developmental stage, for example, grade school kids will practice adding.  The Store Lady might offer healthy snacks at her store, a perk for the customers, and an opportunity to push fruit or cheese. If the kids are independent enough, you can suggest they play this game without a grownup, but keep watching to make sure they put those toys away.

Stone Soup

Another learning game involves collecting natural things from the garden or on a walk, like pinecones, leaves, dandelions, berries etc. Add these ingredients to the “soup.”  You can use a bucket or a bird bath – anything that holds water.  Kids learned to identify these ingredients and had the fun of making “soup” for the critters in our yard.


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Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.

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