The school summer holidays are in full swing, and after months of entertaining children at home you might need a sprinkle of new inspiration. Paul Niccol, Store Manager at the newly opened M&S Ripon, shares how local families can make the most of the return of M&S’s collectable craze, Little Shop…
It’s back! This year Little Shop comprises of 25 iconic M&S products, made into adorable minis for customers and their families to collect, play with and keep, to build their very own M&S Little Shops. Building on the success of last year’s collection, Little Shop 2 is already going down a storm with local families. Shoppers receive a free mini collectable with every £20 spent in M&S Ripon and on Food to Order, running until 31st M&S’s Little Shop minis have all been made to last using durable materials – and they can be played with for years to come!
Do you still have collectables from last year’s Little Shop? Why not bring them together with his year’s collection for a bumper set – I know my colleagues’ kids still love playing with them and the cardboard shop front looks great! To add to your shop front, we’ve also added some new signs and a little Café area. The little shopping basket and trolley are getting a lot of love again, and we’re going to release the M&S piggy bank collectable in a couple of weeks – keep your eyes peeled.
To help make learning even more fun, Little Shop can be a great way to grow maths skills if you include play money. There’s a downloadable Little Shop 2 Bank of M&S play money this year and it’s a great, free resource to encourage counting and introduce maths skills like addition and subtraction.
Did you know Colin the Caterpillar is celebrating his 30th birthday this year? To celebrate there are 1,000 rare golden Colin the Caterpillar Little Shop 2 collectables to be found. We’ve not had a customer find one in store yet, but we’re sure he’s out there! His birthday will be a great excuse to set up a picnic party – either with the collectables, real food or other toys you have around the house. Play musical statues, set out a snack table with fruit, crudités and other snacks, and don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday!
The Little Shop collectables showcase our most popular M&S foods, from British-grown fruit and veg, to guacamole and houmous. Each collectable comes with an official collector’s card which has information about what makes the product special. Why not use the cards to set up a picnic with the kids and teach them about where their food comes from? We have all the real-life products in store!
My colleagues with toddlers have said that they create snack plates with different foods and chat through how they’re made/grown. Providing their children with the opportunity to explore fruits such as Sapphire raspberries through taste and touch, and making recipes with cupboard staples like pasta to discuss how versatile some foods can be. In some instances, they’ve also watched other children make some of the foods on TV shows such as Cbeebies ‘My World Kitchen’.
To encourage the kids to think about ingredients, the Little Shop 2 matching game is a perfect little activity for a rainy day. They just need to connect the ingredients to the final M&S products, such as our Valencia Orange Ice Lollies, by drawing a line.
If our Little Shop activities inspire you, do let us know by sharing your pictures with us on our facebook page
M&S Ripon is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am – 8pm and Sunday, 10am – 4pm.
M&S Ripon, Unit 1 St Michael’s Way, Rotary Way, Ripon, HG4 1FE