What Kids Can Learn Playing With Little Shop

13.08.2020 research

At UNGA, we create and organize several different loyalty campaigns for retailers worldwide. One of our all-time biggest successes is Little Shop. During a Little Shop campaign, customers receive a free miniature product from the most loved supermarket brands whenever they spend a certain amount on groceries. There are usually about 25 to 30 different miniatures to collect, and additional merchandise can be sold so kids can play ‘shopkeeper’ with them.

Over the last 10 years, we have brought the Little Shop campaign to many countries and to well-known retailers: Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Checkers in South Africa, Coles in Australia, Lidl in Romania and Portugal. Back in the summer of 2020, Little Shop was running at Marks & Spencer in the UK and Ireland for the second year in a row.

Although the specific mini collectibles differ per country and retailer, one thing remains the same: Wherever we run this campaign, families and kids love it. Why? Mostly because the minis enable them to both play and learn. Little Shop is fun and educational for kids on many levels.


Pretending to be Little Shopkeepers

Pretend play is a vital component in child development. It lets children experiment and make their own rules, creating space for unrestricted thinking and innovation. Playing with Little Shop and pretending to be a shopkeeper allows them to slip into a different world where they may exercise their imagination and practice grown-up skills in a safe and protected environment.


Image: @laurenhouston.wellbeing on Instagram for M&S Little Shop in 2019

Negotiating and developing business skills

By role-playing customers, cashiers, store managers and shelf packers, children come to understand the complex nature of how business functions. They can also develop their negotiating skills while playing along with other children. Read more on collaborative play

Playing with Little Shop, in fact, gives children first-hand experience of supply and demand. They can allocate pretend prices to ‘purchases’ and take turns at the cash register. Plus, if one child has a Little Shop mini that another child wants, they can take turns playing with it or negotiate a swap. Little Shop is perfect for kids to play alone but also with other kids or family members!


Practicing math with fun

Adding up the prices of their minis or ‘purchases’ is a great way to practically apply classroom mathematics. Older children can also practice more complicated calculations, like discounts.

In fact, quite a number of teachers are using the Little Shop miniatures in their classrooms and are sharing their tips with other teachers and parents online. Discover the recommendations of Heidi, a teacher from Brisbane, Australia.

Image: @threebearsspeech on Instagram for Coles Little Shop 2 in 2019

Learning about food and the heritage of products

Another educational aspect of playing with Little Shop and the mini supermarket products is that children boost their knowledge of various products and what they look like. By reading and checking the labels, they also gain knowledge of ingredients and the heritage of certain products. Very often, grocery retailers even provide supplementary ways for children and families to learn more about where their products come from via their Little Shop website, apps or cards that can be collected along with the minis.

It is no wonder that retailers around the world want to run their own Little Shop campaigns to build relevant connections with families while celebrating their supermarket. Stay tuned to discover the next campaigns!

Want to read more on the Little Shop loyalty campaigns we've run with retailers worldwide?

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