Grocery shopping is one of those things that just has to be done, especially if you want to eat. For some people grocery shopping is the most dreaded chore, while others use the grocery store as a nice “me time” escape.
I really enjoy grocery shopping with my oldest daughter. We have so much fun together that I almost don’t enjoy going without her. I also love that it gives us a chance for some mommy and me time. I hope to continue this trend with all of my girls as they get older.
Now, shopping with all three of my girls is a different story. The first time I attempted grocery shopping with all three, the twins came out crying with bite marks. I did more refereeing than I did shopping and everyone was miserable. But as I said earlier, you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to eat.
In this post you will find some different educational and fun activities that you can do with your kids while you shop. Not only will they learn something but it will help keep them busy and entertained so that you can get everything on your list with ease. No printables or extra things for you to lug around, these activities only require you and your kiddos, and a grocery store.
The grocery store or any type of shopping are perfect places for mini math lessons. Considering that my girls are under the age of three we stick to some basic math concepts, but you can have older kiddos doing coupon math, determining which price is greater/smaller, etc. All of these conversations help kids understand that food isn’t free or cheap even, these days. It also will help them understand the value of a dollar.
Fun Learning Activities While You Shop
Big/Small: Pull out two different sized boxes of pasta, loaves of bread, or bags of flour and have your child compare them.
An example might look like this: “Which loaf of bread is bigger? How can you tell?”
More/Less: Hold up two different bunches of bananas, packages of yogurt (4 or 8 cups), or bags of potatoes and compare them. For example, which bunch of bananas has more bananas?
Estimate: As you are shopping you can have your kiddos estimate. For example, how many carrots do you think are in this bag?
Making choices: You can allow them to make choices in the food that you are buying, within reason of course. This past week both blueberries and raspberries were on sale, so I let Bumblebee choose which fruit she wanted to have. You can also use situations like this to talk about healthy versus unhealthy choices.
Seek and Find: If you are a coupon clipping mama (or daddy), you can put your coupons in a photo book (from the Dollar Store). Then, have your kiddos look for the items that you are planning to purchase with the coupons.
Vocabulary: Just talking your way through the grocery store as you shop can help your little ones pick up vocabulary. You can say things like, “OK, now we need some milk. Do you like milk? Where do you think we would find the milk?” or “These apples are nice and ripe, ripe means that they are ready to eat. Yum yum!” Even if your child can not answer you back, they can learn so much just from you talking to them. For older kiddos, you can use the grocery store for a vocabulary lesson as well. As you shop, you can teach them words like harvest, ripe, dairy, etc.
Shopping list: Write your list in front of your kids, and maybe let them write one of their own. Then take your lists with you, to use as you shop. Crossing off items as you put them in your basket shows your kids that the words on your list have meaning.
Bumblebee has started writing her list on a travel etch-a-sketch that we have for the car. She brings it with her and crosses stuff off as we shop, just like I do. The girls also do this together when they play grocery shopping with their shopping cart. She is not actually writing words at this point, which is perfectly fine, I just love that she knows that those lists and words that mommy uses have a purpose. And she’s an organized shopper already, double bonus.
A Hunting We Will Go: Have your kiddos find objects, letters, numbers, or colors as you shop. For example, how many purple objects can you find in this aisle? How many letter B’s can you find? You can also turn this game into “I Spy”.
Bumblebee is on an “I SPY” kick right now. We play that game just about everywhere, but it’s great because it requires her to look, search, and find objects of a certain color. It is also a constant color review!
Organization/Geography: You can talk about where different sections of the grocery store are and why. For example, talk about why the milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are together. You can discuss that there are dairy, fruit, vegetable, meat, and frozen food sections in a grocery store. Point out where these different sections are and what makes them unique.
Farm to Table: You can also use the grocery store as a time to talk to your kiddos about where our food comes from. As you are travelling through the different sections of the grocery store you can ask them questions and discuss where food comes from.
An example might look like this, “do you know where milk comes from? A cow, very good. We get our milk from cows.” For older kids you can talk about the process that certain foods go through once they leave the farm.
Updated 10/14/15. I just saw another awesome idea on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and had to share.
Riddles: You can give your kiddos a riddle or clues to help them figure out the next thing you are looking for from your list.
For example, what is green and looks like a tree? Another one could be, what is white, cold, and comes from a cow?
Grocery shopping can be a daunting task especially when taking more than one child under the age of 6, so I hope that these activities will make your grocery shopping experience more fun and exciting.
I don’t recommend trying to incorporate all of them the next time that you head out. Pick one or two activities that you feel comfortable with and go from there.
Have a great weekend and I hope you think of me the next time you are having a blast at the grocery store with your kiddos!