I decided to surprise my girls recently with a pretend play garden center. All it took was a couple of dollars at the dollar store, some recycled items around the house, and a brand new batch of play dough. After I presented it to them, they spent the next couple of days playing exclusively with their garden center. No other toys were needed!
I made a batch of play dough for the girls to use as dirt. I used this recipe for chocolate play dough from NurtureStore since I already had all the ingredients I needed at home. It came together easily and smells wonderful. The money I spent at the dollar store was for the flowers. I spent a few dollars on several bunches of flowers and then cut them apart into separate flowers. For just a few dollars we had plenty of flowers for our garden center.
I made a few seed packets from construction paper, added some colorful craft sticks, a pile of glass marbles and several small cups to the garden center. I also cut apart a couple of egg cartons so they had some 4-part containers just like you would find in a garden center.
The girls played and played. They turned the glass beads into seeds and boy did those seeds grow fast. They made flower arrangement after flower arrangement. They turned a chair into a delivery truck and started delivering flowers to everyone they could think of. I can't even count how many flower deliveries I received! Their imaginations were running wild and I loved every minute of it.
For just a few dollars and a bit of effort I gave the girls a toy better than any you can find in a store. I know we'll be doing this again and again.
How would your kids play with a pretend play garden center?
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