Grocery shopping is not my favorite task. Looking at it with a different perspective has helped. I see now that taking my children can actually teach them something! Grocery shopping can do more than fill our fridge.
Before you go, be prepared. Make a list and stick to it. Another crucial tip is avoid shopping at or near naps and meals. You and your little one will both enjoy the experience much more.
- Numeration: Numbers are all around at the grocery store. Point them out. When you are buying fruit, count out the pieces as you put them in the bag. Depending on your children’s ages, have them count them out!
- Shapes: We can easily teach our children shapes at home with a simple wooden puzzle, but it is much more meaningful when they can make the connection between the shape and an actual product such as a cereal box. Grab a clipboard, draw the basic shapes on a piece of paper and have your children make tally marks every time they see the shape. “I Spy” shapes at the grocery store.
- Colors: The colors of the rainbow are represented at the grocery store. Plus, there are many other colors that could be taught such as teal, magenta and gray!
- Counting: As your children get older, you can talk about quantities such as pounds, ounces, etc. Have your children look at labels to see what the quantity is. Play more or less once they start to get the hang of it. Five ounces is more or less than 1 pound?
- Money: Discuss prices as you put items in your cart. Guess what your total bill might be. Have your children guess too! If you have coupons, encourage your children to be in charge of them. Explain how coupons help us save money.
- Spelling: Elementary aged students can help you WRITE out the grocery list. Have them add items to a wish list while you are at the store. They can sound out the words or copy them from packages. This can help keep them away from whining, “Mama, I want this. I want that!”
- The Five Senses: Step back and watch how adults smell, touch, and even taste items at the store before purchasing them. Allow your children to experiment with the five senses: taste, touch, smell, listen and sight.
- Pretend Play: Bring the experience home with you and set up a pretend play area. Include play money, prices, and play food. Pinterest has a ton of links to free grocery stores printables and lists. Find our more here.
There you have it, now you know the grocery store can do a lot more than feed your family nutritionally. It can feed them knowledge!
— Maria Dismondy, mother of two, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan