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Pop To The Shops Review


At the greengrocers, trays of freshly picked organic veg from the Orchard Toys allotment have been laid out, and there is a sweet, bready smell coming from the bakery that is making tummies rumble. The newspapers have arrived at the newsagent and the mini market has set out its open sign, its shelves fully stocked with cupboard essentials. Leave behind your mobile phone, credit card, crypto currency and cheque book – all you need is some loose change and a shopping list as we pop to the shops!

Even away from the ovens of the bakery, there is something satisfying and warming seeing a three- and five-year-old welcome one another to their shop, where one child politely asks the other if they could buy an item from their shopping list. The shopper listens to the shopkeeper to hear how much the item costs, and then with bright, concentrating eyes, digs about in their loose change for the forty pence to pay.

‘Does that make forty pounds, Daddy?’ asks the youngest, rubbing two twenty pence pieces together.

‘Forty pence – yes it does, sweetie.’

‘Thank you, Daddy – here you go shopkeeper, forty…erm…pence. Daddy, what’s a “pence”?’

‘A penny,’ answers their father, ‘well…’

After their father has explained, the shopkeeper passes the item over – a block of cheese – and pockets the money they will need to help them buy the donut from their own list, remembering to collect money from the bank as they race across town to the bakery. They do this in hope of being the first player to tick off every item on their list.

That, in a nutshell, is the game. But that’s over-simplifying a simple game that offers so much to young minds bursting with eagerness to learn and experience what grown-ups do out shopping. Before we touch on the benefits this game offers young minds, lets first explore how to play (and win) this little gem.

Object of the game

For two to four players and with an age range of 5-9, Pop to the Shops simulates a shopping excursion for the young relatives of the proprietors of four shops: the greengrocer, bakery, mini market and newsagent.

Each player has an empty basket. The players must try and purchase six randomly selected shopping items in the order the list was made up. Once the basket is full, the players must return their character back to their home shop. Players are not permitted to purchase items from their own shop, but are allowed to use the money made from selling goods to buy what they need.

The winner is the first player to collect all six items and return to their home shop. Simple enough.


As you would expect form an Orchard Toys game, the components are of good quality and easy to assemble. The board comes to together as a four-piece puzzle, and a simple set of instructions makes for a quick setup once all the coins and shopping items have been easily punched from their counter sheets.

There are four shops each selling six items, for a total of 24 colour-coded items that each have a space in their respective shops. Each of these items has a white-backed equivalent counter that players use to randomly populate their shopping lists.

Money comes in three denominations: 10p, 20p, and 50p pieces. The 46 cardboard coins, although not legal tender in the United Kingdom or anywhere, are the same shapes of their real-life equivalents. The instructions explain how much each player begins the game with and soon after that, the game is ready to play.


Each player randomly selects their first item to purchase. If an item is from their own shop, they return it to the draw pile and pick again.

Then, starting with the youngest player, the game begins. The first player analyses where they need to go to buy their first item, rolls the die, and then moves that number of spaces in the direction intended. A bit like passing go in Monopoly, if they pass the bank, they collect they collect 20p. The turn then passes to the next player. If the die roll takes a player to a shop, players greet one another and a transaction takes place. As soon as an item from a list has been bought and placed in that player’s shopping basket, they select another item at random and so on and so forth until a player has all six items in their basket and has returned to their home shop.

Learning and development

From my experience, children as young as three can benefit from playing this game despite the 5-9 range on the box. Children practice basic counting from the items they need to collect, to the spaces they move on the board. If not already known, they learn how to read dice. The game encourages observation, develops money handling skills and supports personal and social skills. Early exposure like this to money handling can only help to improve a child’s understanding of how things are bought and sold – perhaps they will then show a little more restraint when next passing through a toy section while out shopping with their family…


This is a sweet little game with fun to be had and lessons to learn for young children and any grownups playing along with them. And in case Mr Money Bags tells you otherwise, passing the bank is only 20p in your purse, not £200!