Two Dollar Shop
Years K - 3

A game for a Shopkeeper and one or more Shoppers ... Younger learners will need an adult or older child.


  • Collect small plastic screw caps (or alternative) in two colours or sizes.
    These will be pretend $1 and $2 coins.
    Let's make yellow ones worth $1 and blue ones worth $2.
  • Collect objects from around the house to sell in the Two Dollar Shop.
  • One calculator for the Shopkeeper (there's one on your phone)
  • Stickers (or alternative) for pricing
  • Materials and decorations to make signs

Making The Shop

  • Find a place to set up the shop. Remember it will be there for a few days.
  • Place your objects in the shop and mark their prices.
  • You can use stickers or make small signs.
  • All the prices are whole dollars and can be anything up to $10.
  • Make bigger signs so your shop looks interesting and people will come in.

Playing In The Shop

  • Choose one (1) person to be the Shopkeeper and one (or more) to be the Shopper.
  • Swap jobs at the end and put the objects back to play again.
  • If there aren't enough real people to play, use dolls or action toys as the shoppers.
  • The Shopper has a 'purse' with screw caps that have a value of $10 or $20 or $30 - you choose - made up from a mixture of 'coins'.
  • The Shopper needs a shopping bag.
  • The Shopkeeper needs a couple of containers of screw caps to make change.
  • Go shopping.

    Have fun exploring the Two Dollar Shop.

  • Shopkeepers first try to work out the price in their head. Then they can check with the calculator.

Just Before You Finish

  • In your journal draw a pictures of the things you bought.
  • Write the price you paid for each thing and the total.
  • Explain the change you were given.

Something Extra

  • Include challenges such as all payments and change must be made using the least number of coins, eg: $10 would have to be made with five (5) blue caps.
  • Teach Shopkeepers to make change by counting on from the total cost to the amount offered (a lost art in most shops).
  • What happens if we use these bigger green lids as 50?.
    This could affect both the prices and the way the shopper's purse money is made up.
  • What about making every Tuesday Market Day and using the whole lounge room as the market. More shops, more signs, lots of music in the background and...
    • can include making pancakes, popcorn and other simple recipes as if they were for food stalls at the market.
    • can read stories around the theme of markets, shops and shopping (for example Jack and the Beanstalk).


Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. They have been shared from the Members section of Calculating Changes, which is a division of Mathematics Centre. Teachers have a particular liking for this activity because it:
  • has real world links
  • is learning through play
  • promotes mathematical conversation
  • connects several other learning areas through mathematics

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre