Taking children to the grocery store can sometimes be a necessary but frustrating task since isn’t usually on a your little one’s list of favorite activities. Aisles filled with goodies that mom won’t add to the cart is quite a tease. Here are some ways you can create our own activities to occupy your tots that help them build important learning skills while allowing us to get our errand done. Let’s Get Chipper on your next shopping trip and avoid the supermarket stress with these strategies!
- Involve your little one in putting together the grocery list. Aside from learning what she might want to eat this week, it will get her talking which helps increase her vocabulary.
- Keep your child busy at the grocery store by taking along books, crayons and markers, or small handheld toys. Allow your child to sit in the cart, if he is still small enough, and entertain himself with a few activities so that you can get the groceries you need without hassle. If you are going to a store in which toys or books cannot be taken (in case you’re worried the grocery store staff might think you stole them), try taking along plain scratch paper and a pen for your child to draw. Tell your child to draw something neat he sees in the grocery store. This gives your child a fun drawing activity and gets him a little excited to be in the grocery store because you’ll have him looking for something in the store to draw. Depending on your child age, ask your tot to help you figure out what letter the item starts and ends with. These pre-reading skills will be beneficial as your he begins sounding out words!
- Bring your child food and something to drink to keep him busy in the grocery store. Many children get hungry and thirsty in the grocery store and unable to sit still because this makes them antsy. Giving your child something to snack on will keep him busy while you get the groceries you need and keeps him from getting cranky from having an empty belly. To keep your child even busier while you grocery shop, bring along colorful snacks such as fruit snacks, colorful cereal pieces, or animal crackers. If you’re concerned that the grocery store staff will think you took the food, bring the snack in a plastic Tupperware container.
- If your child is a bit older and learning to read, give him the grocery list to keep him busy while you shop. Having your child take on a role while in the grocery store will keep him busy and out of trouble. Ask your child to cross off each item from the list as you get it. This not only keeps him busy in the grocery store, it also helps to teach him his letters and encourages better reading.
- Ask your child to be your helper and get grocery items for you. Children love to be helpful and giving them a job to do promotes their self-worth and confidence. Have your child pick up each item as you name it off. Let him put it in the cart and move onto the next grocery item until you are finished grocery shopping. If there are hard items to get that are high up or a little heavy, lift your child up to them or each take a side of the item and put it in the grocery cart. You can even make a game of it and see how fast you can get all the groceries.
- Help your wee one learn the concept of comparison with produce items. Hold up two tomatoes and ask him which is heavier, which is bigger, which is round, etc.
- Ask you your child to help you sort the items in the cart. Group by color, by type of food or by size. By switching it up each visit, it will continue to be a new activity for your tot, while teaching valuable grouping skills.
- Have your child be in charge of pushing the cart while you grocery shop. Allowing your child to drive the cart can be a fun activity for him that keeps him busy at the same time. However, this could be a difficult feat since some children may want to go super fast with the grocery cart, run into things, or find it hard to push the grocery cart straight and around people. If this is the case, simply let your child push the front of the grocery cart while you grab onto the back and help him steer. That way, your child gets to be a big help, and you get to make sure no one gets injured by your child, the speed racer.
- Consider teaching them how to save money by comparing prices and using coupons in the grocery store if they are a bit older. Ask your little ones to grab two of an item off of the shelf or ask her how many of an object are on another one. In addition to helping them learn their numbers, the exercise will help them understand the concept of quantity.
- Lastly, if you still can’t seem to manage to make the trip a fun learning experience and your child still gets out of control, such as with a temper tantrum, you might have to cut your shopping visit short. Always be considerate of other people and leave the store if necessary.
Now Let’s Go Chipper to the grocery store!