Which toy grocery stores are best?

Kids love to play pretend, whether as a superhero, chef or mechanic. They constantly utilize their imagination to create worlds of their own. Toy grocery stores make excellent toys because they’re a place that most children are familiar with and visit often. Kids will mimic what they see and hear, and a toy grocery store is a great place to play. 

Toy grocery stores can help your kids build on several skills. The Melissa & Doug Grocery Store & Grocery Basket with Play Food is a realistic grocery store that gives kids a head start on analytical and communication skills as well as mathematics.

What to know before you buy a toy grocery store

Skill development

Toy grocery stores offer children multiple ways to build their critical thinking and emotional skills. Between working with toy cash registers and handling pretend money, children can practice addition and subtraction in a fun setting. They also will work on their literacy skills since they will need to read and write sale signs and price tags. And of course, playing with food items and stocking fake shelves will improve motor skills. 

Size

The size of the grocery store matters because bigger stores may be overwhelming for younger children. On the other hand, small stores may become too repetitive and the child might lose interest. However, some stores offer expansion options with additional accessories, parts and pieces. 

Realism

Toy grocery stores that focus on realism spark curiosity and excitement, encouraging children to play. It also allows them to let their imagination run free in a place they already know firsthand. This sense of realism instills confidence for when they need to interact with others in similar locations. When you pick a realistic toy grocery store, you’re allowing a child to prepare for real-life scenarios with a sense of play. 

Disassembly to save space

Some toy grocery stores fold up easily or disassemble, which helps save on space. This feature might not be imperative for some, but others who have smaller spaces will appreciate the option. And keep in mind that foldable toys are often just as resilient as the single-design alternatives. 

What to look for in a quality toy grocery store

Safety

Look for the age requirements on the product packaging to see if there are any special considerations you should keep in mind. Check for durability, materials used and reliable construction. If you have concerns about the store falling over, consider adding a wall attachment to keep it in place. This is a great safety solution, as long as it doesn’t impede the overall function of the product. If you need to move the store, do not ask a child to move it. Only an adult should move the store to the desired location. 

Ease of assembly

Most toy grocery stores require some assembly. You’ll want to get something with easy-to-follow instructions, which will save time and ensure proper set-up. A product with poor assembly instructions can lead to frustration and cutting corners, potentially compromising the stability of the toy. Check product descriptions and user reviews for more insight on the instructions. 

Accessories

Additional accessories expand the capabilities of a toy grocery store and create a real-life feel. If the toy store doesn’t have additional accessories, check if you can purchase them separately. Some of the best toy grocery store accessories include items like food, a bag, a basket, a cart, cash, coins, a name tag and store signs. 

How much you can expect to spend on a toy grocery store

Pricing largely depends on brand, size and included accessories. Larger toy grocery stores with additional accessories can cost between $100-$200. Smaller ones range from $37-$90. 

Toy grocery store FAQ

When can a child start playing with toy grocery stores?

A. Every toy grocery store should list a minimum age requirement, and each toy is different. Some list 2 years old as an appropriate starting age, while others advise 3 years old and up. That said, developmental mile markers are different for every child. So, it’s important to use your best judgment. If a child seems too young to handle a toy grocery store, it’s best to wait. 

Do I need to buy additional accessories from the manufacturer of the grocery store?

A. Not usually. You can purchase additional accessories, namely food, from any manufacturer that makes them. If you want a food item to interact with a scanner, you may want to make sure you get food toys from the same manufacturer. Of course, you can find carts, bags and baskets from any manufacturer.

What are the best toy grocery stores to buy?

Top toy grocery store

Melissa & Doug Grocery Store & Grocery Basket with Play Food

Melissa & Doug Grocery Store & Grocery Basket with Play Food

What you need to know: This toy grocery store comes as either a standalone toy or with several food options, from frozen to canned goods.

What you’ll love: It’s very realistic and has many different features you find in a true grocery store. Its sturdy and curved design features a cranked conveyor belt, bagging area, a beeping scanner and more. It comes with eight food items that many children will recognize. The age requirement is 3 years and up. 

What you should consider: The price tag is pretty steep compared to other toy grocery stores. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top toy grocery store for the money

Best Toy Products Pretend Play Grocery Store 

Best Toy Products Pretend Play Grocery Store 

What you need to know: You won’t need to buy any additional accessories since this toy grocery store is quite complete all on its own. 

What you’ll love: There are over 40 different accessories, including a grocery bag, play money and a credit card. A chalkboard allows children to advertise any specials and sales, and they can use the cash register to exchange money. There is also a moving conveyor belt for the groceries. 

What you should consider: Many buyers complained that assembly was difficult and time-consuming.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

KidKraft Let’s Pretend Grocery Store Pop-Up

KidKraft Let’s Pretend Grocery Store Pop-Up

What you need to know: This pop-up is perfect for those who need to put the toy grocery store away when it’s not in use. 

What you’ll love: You can quickly stow away this toy grocery store to make room for your child’s other toys. Its sturdy wood construction is sure to last, and it comes with 18 additional accessories, including boxed goods, canned food and a chalkboard.  

What you should consider: This toy grocery store isn’t as flashy as other options.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

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Ashley Willis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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