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Snack Shop!

This fun alternative to regular snack time that introduces children to the idea of money and the exchange of goods, as well as encouraging interaction between age groups and giving the opportunity to exercise those maths skills! It is best suited for older children in any size of group.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Your setting’s usual snack supplies, e.g. apple slices, carrot sticks, etc.
  • Coloured paper
  • Laminator and lamination pouches
  • Scissors
  • Trays
  • Child-friendly plates (paper or plastic)
  • A table/surface at child level

Preparing the activity:

  1. To make the tokens, draw circles on the coloured (about 5cm in diameter) with “1” written in the middle. To advance the activity you could use a different colour for tokens with “2” on them.
  2. Laminate the coloured paper with the circles and cut out to make tokens. You’ll need multiple tokens per child (one for a drink and 2-3 for snack options) so make sure you have enough.
  3. Place the children’s snacks and drinks on the child-level table. These can be separated out into individual portions or just kept all together on a tray.
Photo by John Finkelstein from Pexels

Doing the activity:

Instead of the usual snack time routine of bringing the children food, enable children to go up to the “shop” (the table with snacks and drinks on) and choose what they would like to purchase with a token. Explain that one token equals one cup of juice or milk and one portion (either pre-prepared or measured out by the adult running the “shop” and that they need to exchange the correct number of tokens for their snacks.

For younger children, practitioners will need to support them exchanging their tokens for food and bringing it back to their seats. For older children this is a great opportunity to show their independence and ability to care for others – either by running the “shop” themselves or by helping younger children with the experience.

As much as possible, encourage children to work out how many tokens they need for their snacks on their own, and give them time and space to think about how many tokens they have left, and what they can purchase with those.

Tracking the activity:

22-36 months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships: “Interested in others’ play and starting to join in.”

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Expresses own preferences and interests.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Selects a small number of objects from a group when asked, for example, ‘please give me one’, ‘please give me two’.; Recites some number names in sequence.”

30-50 months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships: “Can play in a group, extending and elaborating play ideas, e.g. building up a role-play activity with other children.; Demonstrates friendly behaviour, initiating conversations and forming good relationships with peers and familiar adults.”

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.; Is more outgoing towards unfamiliar people and more confident in new social situations.; Confident to talk to other children when playing, and will communicate freely about own home and community.; Shows confidence in asking adults for help.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Uses some number names accurately in play.; Recites numbers in order to 10.; Knows that numbers identify how many objects are in a set.”

40-60+ months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships: “Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say.; Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others.”

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Recognises numerals 1 to 5.; Counts up to three or four objects by saying one number name for each item.”