Tag Archives: make believe play

A {Pretend Play} Popcorn Shop

Pretend Play Popcorn Shop | Mama Papa BubbaOur makeshift puppet theatre got LOTs of play and it was {well past} time to switch things up in our little Ikea SKYLTA Market Stand.  Because we’re amidst our 5 days dedicated to packing our entire house, it had to be something super quick and easy to set-up, but highly engaging in order to keep Miss G happily {and independently} playing for as long as possible.

IMG 0406To get things started, I made a little ‘Popcorn Shop’ sign that took less than a minute to make, and popped it into the structure’s sign slot.

IMG 0407Then Grae and I made a big bowl of plain stove-top popcorn (in coconut oil of course) and she grabbed a measuring cup to act as her scoop while I grabbed an old salt shaker that works terribly (it barely lets anything out, and in this case that’s perfect) and put a little sea salt inside.

IMG 0409While I’ve seen really cute old-fashioned popcorn bags at our local dollar store, I’m a big fan of using what you have on hand if you can, so I grabbed some paper bags I’d used at a recent craft market and quickly wrote ‘POPCORN’ across the front of each one.  Together we decided that the small white ones would be the shop’s personal size and the bigger brown ones would be family-sized.  

IMG 0412After retrieving an apron, Miss G opened her popcorn shop for business.

IMG 0405She took orders, asking us about our size and salt preferences, and carefully scooped popcorn into bags.  When an order was ready, she’d deliver it to us wherever we were working in the house, then check back in a few minutes later to see if we needed a free refill… Now that’s what I call service!

IMG 0404Our popcorn shop was a total hit with Grae and my guess is that she’d continue dishing out bags of popcorn as long as I’d continue filling the bowl.  

This inexpensive cardboard contraption has brought us a ton of fun already and I fully plan to take advantage of it for the last few weeks before we move.  ☺

To see the other ways we’ve used our cardboard market stand, click here.

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{Pretend Play} Bubble Tea Shop

Pretend Play Bubble Tea Shop | Mama Papa BubbaEver since the very first time we played with water beads, I’ve had a pretend play bubble tea station on my mind.  I just can’t help it…  It may be that we live in a city that has a bubble tea shop every couple of blocks, but the squishy, shiny beads make me think of tapioca pearls every time I see them.  

Finally, almost a year after dreaming up the idea, my wee one and I put together our first pretend bubble tea shop. And it couldn’t have been better timing as Miss G is really into pretend play (in particular, store games where an exchange of some sort takes place) right now. 

Bubble Tea Station Set up | Mama Papa BubbaWhile I often set up invitations to play or create while she’s sleeping, this time around Gracen helped me.  Together, we gathered up a few things we had around the house and a couple of inexpensive things we purchased especially for this activity.  Included in the set-up were some tall plastic cups, a few containers of water beads with small scoops (our tapioca pearls), a couple of small pitchers of coloured water (our tea / fruit juice), a small spouted container of water coloured white with cornstarch (our condensed milk), and a jar full of colourful bubble tea straws (purchased at our local Japanese dollar store).  Though I really don’t mind a mess in the name of great play, I also included tray on the pouring area of the table to catch little spills and prevent a slippery wooden floor.  

Bubble Tea Sign | Mama Papa BubbaTo complete the set-up, we popped over to the computer to create a quick shop sign.  I told her how to spell ‘bubble tea’ and Miss G carefully located and pressed each key, which was a fun activity in itself.  Afterwards, I selected a good, bold outline font and she chose the image and the drink price.  We printed it off, coloured it together, and used some washi tape to hang it on the wall.  

Bubble Tea Station | Mama Papa BubbaWith our shop complete, it was time to get down to business and Gracen couldn’t have been more excited.  While she’s never tried bubble tea herself, she’s seen people walking down the street with it plenty, so she had a very good idea of what she wanted to do.

At this point I should say that Miss G is well out of the putting things in her mouth stage and because she is such a rule follower, I was not worried in the least that she would attempt to drink her creations (she wouldn’t even consider it).  Of course, if you suspect that your little one would be tempted to drink the pretend bubble tea or if you’re unable to supervise the play the entire time, this activity is not for you as water beads are {obviously} not edible.

Making Bubble Tea | Mama Papa BubbaI invited her to get started without giving her any instructions (as I usually do), and this is how she put together her creation… Pearls first, then juice, then a straw and some milk – a pretty solid method I’d say!

Making Pretend Bubble Tea | Mama Papa BubbaShe made drink after drink, each time talking about the person she was making for.  This particular one was for Grandma Sue because Grandma Sue loves pink and therefore she’d pick pink pearls and pink juice.  The process went on and on until she could no longer think of another person she knew.  Then it was on to making them for people’s pets!

IMG 8774Here are a few of her bubble tea creations.  Pretty, aren’t they?

IMG 8744Because the station was such a hit, I set up a bowl with a strainer in it so she could pour out her drinks and refill her containers when she’d run out of supplies (well, she was in charge of refilling her water bead containers and I poured the water from the bowl back into the pitchers).  This allowed the fun to continue on and on without having to waste water or make trips back and forth to the kitchen.

Bubble Tea Pretend Play | Mama Papa BubbaGracen enjoyed this activity so much that it stayed out for nearly a week, getting lots of action each day.  We’ll definitely be doing it again in the near future, and while it was great inside, I can’t wait to set it up outside in the backyard on a warm day too!

Again, water beads are not edible and should never be consumed.  This activity should always be supervised and is not intended for munchkins prone to tasting play materials or putting things in their mouths.


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Ice Cream Shop {Using Ice Cream Dough}

Ice Cream Shop with Ice Cream DoughAfter making a few batches of ice cream dough this afternoon, Gracen and I set up a simple little ice cream shop in the living room.  We used an old wooden apple crate for her table top and made sure the floor was protected with a large bath towel.

IMG 5074Then we went around the house to collect a few other items.  First up – ice cream cones.  Yes, the real ones…  We had them on hand from her 2nd birthday party and they’d never be used otherwise, so may as well use them for some fun pretend play, right?

IMG 5075Of course, for customers not partial to cones, you need to have a bowl option.  These silicon baking cups did the job perfectly.

IMG 5076Next, we gathered up some spoons and an ice cream scoop…

IMG 5073As well as some buttons, beads, and straw pieces for candies and candy sprinkles. 

IMG 5082And with that, our little ice cream shop owner got to work.

IMG 5093IMG 5091There was plenty of scooping, touching, smelling, and exploring to be done.

IMG 5084Of course the ice cream treats rolled out of the shop one after another too.  A hazelnut ice cream cone for Papa…

IMG 5099And a strawberry ice cream cup {with extra candy sprinkles!} for Mama.

IMG 5088This was such a simple set-up, but I can already tell that she’s going to get hours of fun out of it.  Of course, it’s more than just fun…  This little ice cream shop incorporates pretend play, a sensory experience, and creativity too.

IMG 5090


To see our other ice cream shop using play dough, click here.

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Play Dough Frozen Yogurt Shop

Play Dough Frozen Yogurt ShopI’ve had this little idea in mind ever since Gracen received her ice cream sand toys back at the beginning of summer, and today was a perfect day to make it happen… With it being cool and dreary here in Vancouver, spending the afternoon on a wet beach making sand cones didn’t sound overly appealing…  Making yummy-smelling play dough ones in the warmth of our house, however, certainly did.  Not to mention the fact that Grae fell in love with playing ‘the ice cream game’ at our community centre’s playground recently, so opening an ice cream shop (which Grae quickly decided should be a frozen yogurt shop instead) it was.

IMG 9845With our best ever no cook scented play dough made and a few things collected from around the house, our shop was ready for business.

IMG 9848Our play dough went into some empty yogurt containers we had on hand…

IMG 9849We made candy sprinkles by chopping up some colourful plastic straws we had leftover from Miss G’s birthday party… 

IMG 9850Colourful buttons became Smarties…

IMG 9852And some silicone baking cups and the plastic cones from Grae’s Melissa & Doug set became our cups and cones.

IMG 9853We also collected  some scoops and spoons for eating and serving our frozen treats, some coins and a money jar, and fabric bunting {also from the birthday party} to spruce up the shop. ☺

IMG 9855Together, we wrote made a quick sign for our shop.  I asked Grae how much one of her frozen yogurt treats cost, and without skipping a beat, she said “Two!”  So two dollars it was…

Cone MakingIMG 9860IMG 9862With her shop set up and ready to go, it was down to business welcoming her customers (me!), making delicious-looking play dough treats, and collecting money in exchange.

IMG 9878Not a fan of cones?  Not a problem – a bowl for you!

IMG 9883Cheers to rainy days and frozen treats!

Ice Cream MakingIMG 9896The frozen yogurt fun went on all afternoon…

IMG 9913And after what felt my 53rd order, Papa eventually came home and relieved me of my customer duties (thank goodness – I don’t know if my belly could have handled another candy-covered cone).  

Here’s a little video of our frozen yogurt shop owner in action…
 We finally closed the shop tonight just before bedtime (despite pleas from the very reluctant shop keeper) and you can bet I’ll have a play dough cone in hand long before I have a chance to make a proper breakfast tomorrow morning…  
And I’m okay with that.
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