When I have enough time I actually really enjoy going grocery shopping with the my girls aged 3.5 and 5.5. We turn it into an fun experience filled with math and decision making. I’d love to say that each shopping trip is this awesome. It’s not. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to spend playing in the grocery store and there are a lot more, "no's and sit downs and come back heres" but when we do, it’s so much more enjoyable for all of us!
Our favorite place to grocery shop (since we are in Berkeley) is of course, Berkeley Bowl. I prefer the new one, because they have an underground parking garage that is level and below ground, so you never have to chase your cart and kids across the sloping parking lot while trying to unload groceries and you can also shop in the rain, with not a drop of water ever getting on you! The parking garage is also where the fun starts.
1. Roller coaster: We tell the girls they are only allowed to scream when they are in danger or on a roller coaster and since this is an underground garage, I stop completely at the top and zoom down (at a safe speed). But the girls love the ride shrieking with arms in the air all the way.
2. I let them pick the number at the deli and the meat counter, then they help me listen for when it’s our turn.
3. They get a say in what fruit and veggies we pick and buy. They love the fruit samples and I also let them grab a free green bean or two. (shh, don’t tell). They help count out and place potatoes, or pears into our veggie bags.
4. More samples: Berkeley Bowl always has fruit, cheese and sometimes other samples out. We have to hit all of the stations.
5. We play guess how much this weighs with the scales. They take turns putting veggies into the scale and we guess how many pounds it might be and how any more pounds it will be if we put more in or take some out.
6. Decision making: I’ll find two items that are equal to me, except for the price and have them decide which item would be best to purchase. We talk about how much it costs and what the difference in price is and why we should choose one over the other. They are pretty pleased with themselves when they pick the “right” one.
7. Bulk foods: Maisy can now write numbers and she helps to tag our bulk foods by writing the numbers on our twisties for check out.
8. Check out: They both help to put the groceries on the conveyer belt for check out. They feel very grown up.
And last but not least- after we get home I have them help me put the groceries away where they go in the kitchen. I think this also helps them be more into what we eat at mealtime because they had a hand in picking it and storing it. They also kind of “own” mealtime.
And there you have it, grocery shopping as a fun learning activity! Do you have any tips or tricks to make grocery shopping more "fun"? Please share in comments!
**All photos taken with iPhone- I didn't want to be the crazy lady taking professional photos of her kids while grocery shopping....