We went on a shoe hunt around the house and gathered some wellie boots, sandals, trainers and soft shoes in various sizes. I put my wellies out too to add even more of a size comparison.
Cakie got her shop till filled with play coins and bank notes. I found an old, real telephone, a notepad and pens and a real tape measure. We drew around our feet and made two basic measuring guides, one for adults and one for children. These didn’t use real measurements, they were just for fun and an easy way of getting some number recognition and counting into the play!
I wrote the price labels and C. attached them to each pair of shoes. She had a go at writing her own prices too and busily added those throughout the game. Simple, meaningful, playful literacy and numeracy within a context!
Most of the customers were teddies and dollies. Teddy had his feet measured and then tried on a pair of fetching Peppa Pig wellie boots, which he decided to buy.
The girls named the prices, read the numbers off the labels, asked for money then used play money to buy, giving “change” (usually very generously!) There was also a pretend debit card for using in the chip and pin machine (oh how play times have changed!) and they busily entered their chosen 4 digit pin numbers!
I had my feet measured with the tape measure and was told my feet are a “big grown up size 9.”
There were more opportunities for playful maths when we laid the shoes out as they had to be paired together. This is a classic sorting and matching activity and it was just the right level for Pop to do all by herself. There were two pairs of shoes that were identical to look at but different sizes, so those provided an extra challenge.
We also talked about the larger numbers in the shoes meaning a longer length and therefore bigger size, the fact that adult sizes use a different scale, and that in a real shoe shop they measure the width as well as the length of a child’s foot.
We were able to compare the sizes of shoes and discuss which was the biggest, which was the smallest and which shoes were the same size. This was a perfect sorting and grouping activity for Cakie’s level of thinking.
Plenty of context-rich, real life learning opportunities mixed into the role play fun! And that’s why early years educators love role play so much!
- literacy: playful emergent writing within a context using scribbles/ marks/ letters to represent meaning, taking on a role in play, talking on the telephone in role, engaging in conversation
- maths: measuring with non-standard units, recognising and writing numerals, sorting and matching by pairing identical objects by colour and length, matching sizes, ordering by length, comparing big and small and using the language of bigger than/ smaller than/ same as
- creativity: taking on a role from real life experiences and playing within a meaningful context in “character”