1. Talk about fruit. Show them all the different kinds of fresh fruit available. Let them choose one they want to try.
2. Talk about vegetables. Show them all the different kinds of fresh vegetables available. Let them choose one they want to try.
3. Try the samples. Especially the ones in the produce section, and especially if it’s something they haven’t had before.
4. Pick a letter of the alphabet before entering the store. See how many times you can find the letter while you’re shopping.
5. Pick a number before entering the store. See how many times you can find the number while you’re shopping.
6. Pick a color before entering the store. See how many times you see that color while you’re shopping.
7. Let your child match your coupons to the actual products.
8. Print a grocery store game or activity to take along. Here are several sites/blogs with free grocery store game ideas or printables I found. These include things like scavenger hunts, BINGO, and I Spy sheets.
- She Wears Flowers
- Kreative Resources
- Real Simple
- Homeschool Share
- Sew Homegrown
- Let’s Explore
- UCreate with Kid
- The Mud Pie Maker
- No Time for Flashcards
9. Draw a picture beside each item on your grocery list or print a kid-friendly grocery list with pictures. Let your child be in charge of marking items off your list.
- These “shop along” cards look fun, but it looks like the host blog is no longer available. It’s still a great idea you could make yourself, and you could use them over and over.
- If you just want to write or print out a list, here are some ideas:
10. Divvy up your shopping list orally between you and your child(ren), making each person responsible for remembering a few items to purchase.
11. Sort your groceries in the cart (or when you get home).
- A couple of sorts you could do would be:
- by food groups: fruit, vegetable, grains, dairy, meat, etc.
- by packaging: fresh, frozen, canned, boxed, bagged, etc.
- by color
- by size
12. Count the items in your cart. This, of course, is easiest on mini grocery trips.
13. Ask for paper instead of plastic when checking out. Yes, I think environmentally it’s better, but you can also do a lot of fun crafts with paper bags! 🙂
14. Play a guessing game. Give your child hints about the next item on your grocery list and see if they can guess it before you actually put it in the cart.
15. Pick a shape before you enter the store. See how many times you can find that shape while shopping. If you have an older and a younger child, you can give the younger one a 2-D shape and the older a 3-D shape to find. (i.e. a circle and a sphere, a square and a cube) Here’s a printable shape scavenger hunt from the blog, The Mother Huddle.
16. Say the names of items you are going to purchase. Have your child try to say the beginning or ending sound. “I’m going to buy lettuce. What sound do you hear at the beginning of lettuce? That’s right. /L/. /L/ is the sound that the letter “L” makes. Here’s the word “lettuce” on this tag. See the letter L?” Show them the word in print to verify.
17. Have your child read the prices listed on items you’re going to buy. If they’re not able to do this yet, you can model it. Point to the price and read it aloud. You could also have them just read the numbers if they’re not developmentally ready to do the dollars and cents version.
18. Point out signs in the store and tell your child what they say. Before long, your child will probably start “reading” them to you!
19. Ask your child to spell words to you. “I’m buying tomatoes. This tag says “tomatoes.” Can you read all the letters in the word “tomatoes?”
20. Do an A-Z and 0-9 scavenger hunt. Print or write all the letters and numbers on a piece of paper. Let your child mark off each letter and number they find in the store.
21. Give your child a stopwatch or timer and do a grocery store race. Start the timer when you begin looking for the next item on your list and stop it once you place it in your cart. See if you can beat your best time. What item took the longest to find? Which item were you able to find the fastest?
22. Count the number of the same type of things you add to your cart. “1-2-3 cans of black beans. 1 bag of tortilla chips. 1-2 packages of ground beef. 1-2-3-4-5 containers of yogurt.”
23. Talk about measurement. Ounces, gallons, pounds, liters, pints, quarts…it can be confusing, so start using these words in conversation with them as early as possible. “This is a gallon of milk. This is a half-gallon. See how this one is only HALF as much.” or “This is a pint of blueberries and this is a quart. Which one has more?”
24. Point out all the sections of the store: produce, deli, bakery, refrigerated, freezer sections, etc. Draw a map of the store together when you get home.
25. Read the ingredients list or nutrition information on products. Talk about what that information means. Every family has their own ideals when it comes to “good” products; my kids know we look for items that are whole-grain, organic, and/or have very few ingredients.
**I started a board titled “Grocery Store with Kids” on Pinterest to keep up with all these great ideas and printables — so if you want a visual of all the links from the post, check it out here!
If you’ve missed my other “25” posts, you can check them out by clicking below:
- 25 Ideas to Get Your Child Ready to Write
- Help! My Child Doesn’t Like Books — 25 Ideas to Get Your Little One to Love Reading
- 25 of Our MOST Favorite Picture Books
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