Grocery Shopping With Kids

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This might sound crazy, but I LOVE grocery shopping with my husband and two kids. We enjoy making it a family affair. Occasionally if we are pressed for time, my husband or I will go alone and our kids get upset if they don’t go. They enjoy going with us!

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I have decided that even though I am not in the classroom anymore, I will ALWAYS be a teacher. I enjoy finding ways to embed learning into everyday activities. There are many lessons that can be taught on a quick trip to the store.

Some of my favorite skills to teach while we shop:

  • Making choices – “Do you want the green apples or the red apples?”
  • Picking out fruit – “Is this a good one? Does it have any bruises”
  • Colors – “Can you find me the blue frosting?” “Where is the orange fish?”
  • Sizes – “Which box is bigger? Which box is smaller?”
  • Shapes – “I spy a round fruit. I spy a square box.”
  • Counting – “Please pick out 10 yogurts.”
  • Language/Vocabulary – Being able to identify avocados, couscous, leeks, and more! We can’t walk past the leeks without my son exclaiming, “Ah! There’s a LEEK in the boat!” … his favorite movie quote from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
  • Reading – Probably my son’s favorite job! Reading what is left on the list and crossing off the items as we find them.
  • Spanish – Using the words we know in Spanish to name items.
  • Gross motor skills – Pushing the cart, pulling the cart, carrying heavy boxes, tossing items (that can’t break of course) into the cart. My daughter’s favorite is playing catch with the paper towels and throwing them into the cart.
  • Fine motor skills – Placing twist ties on bags, when they get thirsty opening the plastic on their drink straws and then putting them through the lid of their cups.
  • Social skills – Manners (when to use “please” and “thank you”), waiting your turn in line, and stranger danger.
  • Behavior – Keeping close proximity with us, using walking feet, using a quiet voice OR having the consequence of taking a “time away” in the car.
  • First/Then – “First we will get everything on our list and then we can go to the toy aisles.”
  • Delayed gratification – Walking up and down the toy aisle and not buying anything! My kids know that they can pick out things that they want to work for on their positive reinforcement chart (sticker chart), but that we are not buying anything while we are grocery shopping. Of course they find things that they want, but they will not have a meltdown over leaving it on the shelf.
  • Life skills – Learning about the cost of items, money, and someday they will be out on their own grocery shopping!
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By setting expectations and giving my kids jobs, we have turned a task that could be torture into an enjoyable and teachable moment. My kids enjoy our trips to the store and my husband and I look forward to it each week!

Tina Pratt is the mom of two littles. She is a former PreK- 5 special education teacher that now works as a behavior coach. She enjoys being a tourist in her own town and finding ways to embed lessons into everyday fun!

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