Want to fill up your cart with your kiddo(s) in tow without compromising your bottom line? Believe it or not, the grocery store can be a great place to do a bit of what I call “incognito teaching” while getting your chore done too. So protect your bottom line, fill your pantry and spend quality time with your little ones by trying some of the following “double aisle duty” activities:
Basket Full of Adjectives
Want to divert your child’s attention from the candy or small toys strategically placed and hung seemingly everywhere? Focus their attention to what’s already inside your cart by playing an adjective game. Take turns sharing an adjective (a word to describe) the selected item. Encourage your children by asking them to think about the item’s color, size, texture, shape, smell and taste. Encourages creative thinking and helps children identify and use specific adjectives.
Grocery Group Up
Children love to help. Capitalize on this while asking them to do a bit of critical thinking at the same time. When you’re standing in line or loading the groceries on the counter, have your children group the items according to the first letters. For example, items that start with the letter “c” such as carrots, crackers and celery go together and items that start with the letter “t” such as tea, toilet paper and toothpicks make another group. Children can either place the items up on the counter themselves or hand them directly to you as they identify them. Facilitates the connection between letters and their sounds, an emergent literacy skill.
Five Questions (in the Cart)
Whether you’re still perusing the aisles or standing in line at checkout, a great game to play is “Five Questions.” Take turns secretly selecting an item from inside the cart while the others ask questions that can be answered with a simply “yes” or “no.” Due to time constraints and to keep little minds from wandering, limit the total number of questions to about five per secret item. The person to guess the selected item correctly wins and gets to choose the next item. Fosters mental math as children seek to keep track of how many questions have been previously asked. Also encourages critical thinking skills as children not only formulate questions, but also seek to identify an item that meets set criteria.
A trip to the grocery store needn’t be just another chore. Instead, it can be a great adventure filled with learning opportunities and fun. And – oh yeah – you can manage to fill the pantry while you strengthen your child’s school-readiness skills at the same time. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation, even on a budget!
Not Like the Others
Group 4 items together, 3 that share something in common and one that is completely different in one or more ways. Ask your child to find the item that’s not like the others. Have him or her explain to you why it doesn’t belong or “fit” in the group. Fosters critical thinking skills and encourages children to articulate and express their thoughts.
Photo credit: Sandy
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