I find that playsets are necessary in order to keep scenarios going. When you don’t have some kind of props or accessories you will run out of play scenarios pretty quickly. A theme that Mattel seems to have come back to over and over again is pets so you don’t need to buy the latest or greatest thing in order to get some dogs, horses or other animals for your collection.
We purchased a Sweet Sounds Pet Shop on eBay and have played with it already for several hours. We supplemented the purchase of the older Pet Shop with a Potty Training Pups set that is in stores now.
During our first session I played the shop owner and Leah played the customers. I was able to model the behavior of a shop owner and we covered all sorts of vocabulary specific to a pet shop play scenario.
It’s not that she needs this particular vocabulary, it’s just that it challenges her to infer the meaning of words and it helps her gain confidence with adult conversation patterns.
When it was time to play the scenario a second time Leah was already able to greet new customers, ask what they were looking for, sell accessories like pet food and toys along with the pets themselves and request payment. Sometimes I feel a little odd when I am proud of her for upselling a dog collar, as if I have become a pawn in some sinister mission grooming her for future work in retail.
Then again, my first job was in retail and I know plenty of people who don’t have those basic skills.