A preschool game that’s been particularly popular and versatile with my kids.
- Collection of counting bears or any other small objects
One person is the storekeeper and sets out the bears in any way they want. The other people are customers and bring some pennies. The storekeeper sells the bears to the customers.
- The simplest version is that each bear costs one penny. It can take a while for them to get that this means 3 bears cost 3 pennies, 4 bears cost 4 pennies, etc. Lay out one penny in front of each bear to help with counting.
- If you have different sized objects, make it more complicated: big bears cost 2 pennies, small bears cost 1 penny.
- You can bring written numbers into it by laying out price tags by the bears.
- The customer can ask for different kinds of groupings: “I want some orange bears, do you have any of those? How many do you have?” “I want a group of four bears that are all the same color.” “I want a family of bears with one big bear and two little cubs.” “I have 4 pennies – what group of bears can I get with that?”
- You can pay the wrong amount or provide the wrong number of bears and ask the storekeeper or customer to check.
- You can pay too much and ask for change.
- You could use other coins beyond pennies.
- In our version, both storekeeper and customers use silly voices. I do a lot of chatter in either role, “The bear store is open! Come look at this fine selection of bears” etc.
- The kids also add narrative bits (customers have to pretend to sleep while the storekeeper sets up the store, deciding which bears are siblings, naming the bears, etc.)