Taking a trip to the grocery store as a mom is an entirely different experience than it is for a child. Between the aisles of shelves stocked high with boxes, cans and bottles for the grabbing; carts on wheels to push, pull and turn; and a never ending supply of snacks, kids get wide-eyed as soon as they pass through those sliding doors. And while some little ones enjoy being mommy’s passenger, others would rather be the ones pushing the cart and checking items off your list. These are the little helpers who would love a toy shopping cart of their own.
Even if your child doesn’t love shopping, they definitely get a kick out of mimicking mom and dad, and toy shopping carts invite them to role play the errand you run most often. Take the game a step further by sitting them down at the dining room table and making a list of everything you need for the house, a pretend picnic or their play kitchen and have them browse the shelves of your pantry. They’ll love tossing item after item into their cart, and as they get older you can use this pretend play as a tool to teach them about numbers, counting and currency.
But for now, let them be little and play in your kitchen with one of the best toy shopping carts. They’ll learn the ropes of food shopping via their imagination, and clean up should be simple enough since you’ve been meaning to reorganize your pantry anyway, right?
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1. Melissa & Doug Toy Shopping Cart
If your child’s mission in life is to be just like mommy, then they’ll love the Melissa & Doug toy shopping cart that mimics actual grocery store carts to a T. Designed with a heavy gauge-steel frame and front spring-loaded safety wheels that pivot a full 360 degrees to roll easily over multiple surfaces, it won’t even register to your child that their miniature model is a toy. What’s more, the cart also features easy grip handles for effortless pushing, plus a fold-open seat that fits their favorite stuffed animal or doll so your little one can have a sidekick to run errands with.
2. Little Tikes Shopping Cart
The Little Tikes Shopping Cart is a classic playroom essential. Designed for very little tikes (i.e. toddlers), the toy only stands roughly two feet high and rolls via bright blue plastic wheels. Your little one will be drawn to its vibrant color scheme and deep basket they can fill up with all kinds of produce, cereal boxes and more. It even includes a fold-down seat like the one they’re used to riding in, only this space is actually reserved for their favorite stuffed animal or toy so your tot doesn’t have to shop solo.
3. Play Circle by Battat Shopping Day Grocery Cart
As adorable as miniature shopping carts are, nothing beats the plastic play food that gets tossed into them. Unfortunately, most toy shopping carts don’t come with accessories — kind of like how when you go to the store, your real cart starts off empty. The Play Circle by Battat Shopping Day Grocery Cart is not like most toy shopping carts. On the contrary, this toy shopping cart comes pre-stocked with faux food boxes, a mineral water bottle, milk bottle, canned goods, a loaf of bread, poultry, eggs and produce — meaning your actual pantry can stay intact.
But this toy shopping cart isn’t just loaded with toys: It’s been designed with details like nutrition information, lids that open and close, food items with realistic characteristics to both feed your child’s imagination and provide educational opportunities. With so many shapes, sizes and colors, your little one can stack and sort their items, pick out which foods are the healthiest and pretend to whip up a meal post-shopping trip.
4. Little Tikes Shop ‘N Learn Smart Cart
This high-tech shopping cart from Little Tikes takes pretend grocery shopping to the next level. The set includes a double decker working shopping cart, eight food items and accessories, plus an interactive self-scanner that features two play modes: free play, which lets kids learn about food and nutrition on their own accord as they scan and explore, and game mode, which challenges kids to identify the right items based on specific instructions. What’s more, the bottom basket is also removable, so two kids can play at one time.