So the New World Mini’s are back and they have definitely created a media stir in the last couple of weeks. Gareth Morgan has started a campaign to counteract the New World minis craze. In his view we “should be outraged over how New World is brainwashing kids.”

I know that many parents would tend to agree with him. Many parents hate them. Some don’t want to have to spend ridiculous amounts to acquire them. Others simply don’t shop at New World, while others are repelled by the thought of acquiring more plastic junk.

What do you think? Will they become robot consumers as a result of the little shop craze?

Little shops for little people

Little shops for little people?

My boys however really loved them the first time around. I continually got annoyed with finding them dropped around the house. Or worse, finding the packaging of one of the mini products on the floor, and its Styrofoam stuffing not far away. My little boys kept opening them expending to find nappies or tissues inside. Only a few minis survived this phase I must say, namely the plastic bananas – quite useful in the banana phone game favoured by the comedian in the house – and the bottle of nivea something are still lurking in odd places. Oh and the pineapple!

We haven’t had many minis this time around. I don’t tend to spend much of my grocery budget at New World at the moment so we wont be getting many either. My two four year old boys are now very much at the pretend play stage and supermarket play is high on their playtime agenda. They love setting up shops, they love making money and piling up groceries in their shops, inviting people into play/buy.

The benefits of pretend play

There are many benefits from pretend play. The act of pretending is a learning curve for a child. It is an opportunity to role play what they have seen in their world. This helps them learn about how the world works and practice how adults interact. In particular supermarket or shopping play also has the opportunity to explore maths concepts when pricing or buying or using play money. Creating money, or signs is an opportunity to practice early numeracy and literacy skills.

Children can develop their social skills. Pretend supermarket play encourages negotiation, cooperation, and role playing different situations. Children have the opportunity to create pretend story lines and characters, and to practice turn taking and sharing skills.

While they use their own initiative to develop story lines, their creative imagination to expand stories and their own personality to choose a character they enjoy, you are enhancing their self-esteem by allowing them complete power in the world & enjoying it with them.

It also gives them a chance to practice manners and language that is needed when they interact in real world situations.

So if nothing else, the minis are an opportunity to embrace pretend shop play, but I am sure that it is better for our wallets and the environment if they use old cartons from home… or even better, let them get real stuff out of the cupboards for their pretend shops.

Mummy to three small boys

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