Over a series of weeks I buy some extra bits when I am at the supermarket or they are on sale at craft and cheap shops.
Then I break them all into singles or small groups and calculate the prices for each. Then I get a pile of change and the boys are allowed a set amount from their pocket money jars (about $3-4) usually.
I write a list with all the prices on it. (Much easier here because they still have the 5c denomination).
We schedule a date on the calendar and I set up 'Mum's Shop' for the afternoon. The boys are engaged in all sorts of great learning skills:
- adding - I usually let them choose a couple of items at a time. Flip can do all of this mentally but with Bounce I can talk him through the addition and he still gets the experience of handling coins, learning their values and receiving change. Flip also runs the shop for me, which he adores! I stand by for confirmation if required but the ability to do this builds real confidence into him too.
- scanning - the boys know what things are called eg pipe cleaners but they need to use skills for scanning down the list to find the word beginning with 'p' and check if it is the right 'p'. For Flip I would expect him to read or sound out the word correctly. For Bounce I would simply say 'it starts with 'P.I.P.E' when you find the 'p' check the next letters'. The skill of being able to scan through a list of text and recognise letters/words quickly is an excellent skill for them to have when searching text for information.
- decision making - this activity is a great alternative to standing in the $2 shop for an hour while they um and ah. They have less choices to make (and you have already not included the complete junk!) but they can browse, buy and repeat in a way they would seldom be able to do in a shop. The process of considering from various options and making decisions is an excellent life skill and one small children don't get to exercise very often, particularly without being rushed.
- it's fun - and sometimes that's a good enough reason all by itself. I set up this lot the night before and they both spent a huge amount of time just 'browsing' before they left for school, then they came flying out at the end of the day full of the joy of heading home.
We always try to add in another family for fun and the adults generally set the amount each child can spend so everyone is in the same boat. In this case I had got heaps on sale and they got so many things for the $3 we let them bring. There was only one item for $1 and the rest were well below 50c.
Because I charge the boys what I pay for an item I am not making or losing money but things are cheaper because they are buying the mini options or the pack of 6 pencils separated into individual units. This way they get more things for their money.
(the cool shop stall was a birthday gift Flip received - it's from IKEA)
Learning Together a series for primary aged children and their parents - activities that break up homework monotony, promote skills and create positive experiences together.
love you more than a packet of mini chocolate bars in the back of the cupboard xxx