Pretend play has many social, emotional and educational benifits for children - it can improve language and literacy skills, simple maths and enhance imagination. I found that the pretend food you buy in shops is often really small- so I wanted to make some 'to scale' food for Finn's shop out of paper mache. Instead of painting some of the items (pears and apples), I used coloured tissue paper for the top layer which saved time and fuss.
We set up a little shop with a toy cash register (or you could use a calculator), a stack of old receipts, and some paper bags. To display the items in the shop we used some styrofoam boxes from a real fruit shop, and because the paper mache fruit was a real size we could use other empty fruit containers to package them, as well as other packaging from the recycling bin (chocolate boxes, egg cartons etc).
We left the shop running for a few weeks, so he kept going back to play any time he felt bored. He also took great pride in displaying his 'wares' and keeping his shop tidy.