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Old 06-18-2019, 07:12 AM
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Default Pretend Play

Does anyone have the Melissa and Doug grocery store set?

I need to update and get some new toys, but it is almost $200, so just want to make sure it's worth it and can withstand some abuse.

Or, if you have any other suggestions for pretend play, I would love to hear them!

I'm probably not going to, but just curious if anyone else charges a "supply fee" or asks for donations for toys, etc.? This gets expensive! I don't think parents realize that we have to pay for everything out of pocket.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:22 AM
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I went to shake and tip it over in the store because I loved the idea of it online. It was super cute to look at, but my guys would have it destroyed by the weekend. Even the store had it roped off so kids could not destroy it.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:23 AM
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Weíve set up our own grocery store before, and the kids absolutely LOVED it. I saved empty food boxes for a few weeks, and we lined them up on shelves. I donít have a grocery cart, but they were happy with hand-held baskets. The cashier wore an apron and used an old computer keyboard. I let them use my reusable grocery bags. They played and played. I need to do it again!
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:51 PM
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I have a ton of wooden Melissa and Doug food and toys and to be honest it is a waste of money! I ended up replacing a lot of it with plastic food and they play more with the realistic plastic stuff. The paint ends up chipping off and it looks terrible.

I have my eye on super realistic play food on Amazon. It is made of a rubber material and looks like the real thing. You have to buy the pieces individually though. My guys love the kitchen area so I made it 1/3 of my space.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockgirl View Post
Weíve set up our own grocery store before, and the kids absolutely LOVED it. I saved empty food boxes for a few weeks, and we lined them up on shelves. I donít have a grocery cart, but they were happy with hand-held baskets. The cashier wore an apron and used an old computer keyboard. I let them use my reusable grocery bags. They played and played. I need to do it again!
We've done that too and the kiddos had so much fun!

I'm disappointed with M&D stuff. It's exactly as another poster said, the paint chips away, looks awful. It always looks sooo nice in the stores.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:34 AM
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Melissa and Doug is the very lowest-end of all wooden toys. They're sort of okay for home use with only one or two kids who are gentle with toys. Crummy with regular use. If you have the money to spend, HABA and Hape and Plan Toys are so much better.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:52 AM
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I really like ECR4kids, Young Time, Childcraft, Kidkraft, Step2, Constructive Playthings, and Jonti-Craft.

Flash Furniture and Amazon Basics classroom furniture are really coming along nicely with affordable and durable options, though.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:30 AM
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Say what you want about plastic(and I love good wooden toys as much as the next person LOL) but I still like Fisher-Price and LT. Some of that stuff you just cannot destroy and it lasts forever.

Not to mention I just sold a LT doll bed/cradle for 20 bucks, inlcuded with it was about 8 dolls, clothes and blankets. Have had it many years. I looked on ebay for a lot of the stuff I was getting rid of, just for kicks. That same doll bed was going for up to 150!! Vintage is what they call it now. Lol
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
Say what you want about plastic(and I love good wooden toys as much as the next person LOL) but I still like Fisher-Price and LT. Some of that stuff you just cannot destroy and it lasts forever.

Not to mention I just sold a LT doll bed/cradle for 20 bucks, inlcuded with it was about 8 dolls, clothes and blankets. Have had it many years. I looked on ebay for a lot of the stuff I was getting rid of, just for kicks. That same doll bed was going for up to 150!! Vintage is what they call it now. Lol
Definitely. I will straight up wrestle someone at a yard sale for 70's and 80's Little Tikes. Indestructible. A little bleach and elbow grease will do ya to make it look new.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:35 PM
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I have the grocery store set up as an ice cream parlor right now. I got it for $99 after Christmas. I’ll get my $99 out of it.

I read posts on FB day care pages that parts have easily broken off of it.

I love my M$D puzzles, the cute 10 level parking ramp with the small wooden cars that stack. My kids adore the house with the keys and doorbells. I got this for $5 & it’s $29 new. Almost all my M&D is used and holding up well.

I don’t t have the wooden food. I do have a double set of the wooden village and the kids love that too.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:05 PM
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My toy kitchen is set up on a wooden cedar chest. I have a solid wooden cooktop toy and then two wicker baskets full of toy food and toy kitchen stuff.

The kids haul it around and play on other surfaces or they play right there. It works well and it's all very solid. And you can acquire the toy food as you are able.

My toy food is a mostly wooden mix of HABA, Melissa & Doug, and others. I've been collecting it a long time. I also have stainless toy pots, wooden chopping board and wooden knives and the velcro toy food that "slices."
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:16 PM
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Oh, and there's a mirror behind the cedar chest.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:24 PM
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Thanks everyone!

I do have a lot of the M&D pretend food for our kitchen set. Some of it is like a soft rubber and so is easy to clean! The wooden food though has chipped and been chewed off.

I never thought to make our own grocery store! My husband will be thrilled to hear the idea
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:29 AM
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I have the Melissa and Doug grocery store and a lot of the wooden food. The 3-5 year olds are loving it. I donít allow the 2ís and under to play with it, I have a separate playspace for them. The big kids love the scanner that beeps, the cash drawer and signing the credit card machine. I like the wooden food for the older kids but only buy plastic food for the younger ones. The 2ís have the Step2 diner and plastic food for that. The little ones try to put the food in their mouths and throw it, so no wooden food for them. The older kids take care of it all much better. I also have the grand-walk in kitchen from Step2 and itís s big hit, too. They like to play restaurant. I have the old Little Tikes Market with sliding doors in the front that we use for an ice cream cart/lemonade stand, but it doesnít get played with very much. I just redid my playrooms and bought new pretend play toys for the long, hot Summer. Some I bought on Marketplace and some I bought on Zulily. I can make 2 monthly payments on Zulily, so that helps.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:45 AM
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What about adding in real materials?

Take leftover boxes from real food and tape them up so the kids can pretend to pour Cheerios from a real Cheerios box. Add a pizza box from a local pizzaria. An empty honey bear, egg carton, milk carton, or ice cream tub also works as long as you clean them out.

What about a "laundry" area? Have a basket with small dishtowels, washcloths, and fun colored socks. The kids can practice their folding and sorting skills by matching socks, folding towels/washcloths, and putting the laundry "away" in their appropriate places (A small drawer set with pictures to show where each item goes or a few labeled baskets would work well here).

Rinse out your plastic coffee shop cups (and/or grab extra paper ones) so the dramatic play area can transform from a kitchen or grocery store to a coffee shop. Add in some play pastries and a table where the kids can "work" on laptops (they don't even need to be functional ones- you can make laptops out of cardboard).

Get fake flowers and plastic flowerpots and vases to set up a flower/gardening shop. Add small gardening/sand tools, some floppy sun hats, gloves, and baskets with fake fruits/veggies.

Get some inexpensive pet toys, stuffed animals, pet food dishes, leashes/collars, and some tanks/cages (a lot of these things can be found at a Dollar store) and turn your dramatic play area into a pet shop. Add some brushes/combs and bows to add in a pet grooming station or create a little obstacle course as a "training" area. You can also throw in some real and toy doctor supplies and your pet store is now a Vet's office.


I feel too many people limit dramatic play to just "kitchen." Every school I've worked at only had a kitchen set and related supplies. There were never any materials to transform the dramatic play center into anything else.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa Kristine View Post
What about adding in real materials?

Take leftover boxes from real food and tape them up so the kids can pretend to pour Cheerios from a real Cheerios box. Add a pizza box from a local pizzaria. An empty honey bear, egg carton, milk carton, or ice cream tub also works as long as you clean them out.

What about a "laundry" area? Have a basket with small dishtowels, washcloths, and fun colored socks. The kids can practice their folding and sorting skills by matching socks, folding towels/washcloths, and putting the laundry "away" in their appropriate places (A small drawer set with pictures to show where each item goes or a few labeled baskets would work well here).

Rinse out your plastic coffee shop cups (and/or grab extra paper ones) so the dramatic play area can transform from a kitchen or grocery store to a coffee shop. Add in some play pastries and a table where the kids can "work" on laptops (they don't even need to be functional ones- you can make laptops out of cardboard).

Get fake flowers and plastic flowerpots and vases to set up a flower/gardening shop. Add small gardening/sand tools, some floppy sun hats, gloves, and baskets with fake fruits/veggies.

Get some inexpensive pet toys, stuffed animals, pet food dishes, leashes/collars, and some tanks/cages (a lot of these things can be found at a Dollar store) and turn your dramatic play area into a pet shop. Add some brushes/combs and bows to add in a pet grooming station or create a little obstacle course as a "training" area. You can also throw in some real and toy doctor supplies and your pet store is now a Vet's office.


I feel too many people limit dramatic play to just "kitchen." Every school I've worked at only had a kitchen set and related supplies. There were never any materials to transform the dramatic play center into anything else.
Love the pet idea!!

I buy Halloween costumes at yard sales. Princess, fireman, Star Wars, TMNT, etc. I have a full length mirror mounted on the wall and command hooks near so they can hang them up after play.

I got rid of my kitchen set, step 2 kind. They tried using it as a climber instead of a kitchen. No interest.

My kids play bureaty shop a lot.
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