How to Engage Your Kids At The Grocery Store (+ Free Printables!)

basket of fruit and vegetables

    To some, grocery shopping is a mini-getaway. A leisurely walk through the store, sniffing the fresh bread, moseying through each aisle with a (hot) coffee in hand, reading labels, carefully weighing & bagging bulk granola (if this is you, God bless you). For others, it's a mad dash through sliding doors, one kid already tripping over untied shoes, while another is seen bumping into strangers on their way to the baked goods. A scribbled, barely legible grocery list is clenched in a tight fist as you make your way aisle through aisle, grabbing the first box of cereal, bag of vegetables, & frozen waffles you can get your hands on. Although my one-and-only child is young enough to hardly cause issue at the grocery store YET (except for the occasional scream-heard-round-the-world), I understand that for many moms, a trip to the store can look a lot like the latter.

I try to sneak off to the store on Saturdays when Jack can be home with Ezra, and I can try to have a cathartic experience like I described above (I seriously love grocery shopping, ya'll...), but sometimes it's just not possible. If we have no food in the house, or I work on Saturday AM, or whatever the reason, sometimes it's just impossible to leave the kids at home. So you lug them from the car into the store and pray for no major meltdowns. The cool thing about being a mom though, is that what may seem like routine errands or another checkmark on the to-do list, might actually be a beneficial and teachable moment between you and your kids.


I know, I know, MUCH easier said than done, but when life throws you the punches, the beauty of it is that you can choose how you take them, right? Sure, this post isn't meant to be some magical solution to getting your kids to sit in the cart for 2 minutes, but my intention is to offer a new perspective and perhaps a new idea or two. Today I wanted to share some practical, easy ways you can engage your kids at the grocery store, without losing your mind or just handing over the iPad or phone. Let me be clear, we LOVE some Daniel Tiger over here, but in the spirit of using our technology wisely, who says that dreaded grocery trip can't be - dare I say - a little bit fun?


shopping cart article pin

Don't forget to share on Pinterest!


HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR TODDLER
If your child hasn't started walking yet, or is walking, but still too small to follow you around on their own, chances are you're wearing them or they're buckled safely into your shopping cart. From experience I know that even grocery runs can be tough, even with the little one harnessed and within 6 inches of you. But there are still a few ways you can engage - and perhaps distract - your toddler while you browse through the store. There are so many sights and sounds in the grocery store for a little one, and these tips are so easy, sometimes I find myself doing them automatically.

TIP #1: Hand them items of different texture to hold.
Of course these should not be breakable or dangerous items like glass jars or cleaning supplies. But if you're buying a bell pepper, hand it to them and let them feel the texture. You might tell them it is "green" and "smooth" and "crunchy".

TIP #2: Name each item as you're putting it into the cart, and its color.
"This is a yellow banana."

TIP #3: Describe where each item comes from.
Eggs come from a chicken, milk from a cow, tomatoes come from a garden, etc. Even if they're not taking notes & remembering all of this at the moment, they're still absorbing the information like a sponge!


HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR KINDERGARTENER / PRESCHOOLER

TIP #1: Give them a kids grocery list - like this one!
Lisa from This Pilgrim Life blog created this awesome printable after a tough grocery experience with her own boys. She has 5 now, and between shopping & cooking healthy, sustainable meals for her family daily, she's basically a superhero. 

TIP #2: Use descriptive words and play I Spy in whatever aisle you happen to be in. See if they can guess what you see.

TIP #3: Engage their creative side by asking open-ended questions.
"If you could make your own cereal, what shape & flavor would it be?"
"Where do you think pineapples grow?"


HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR ELEMENTARY AGE CHILD

TIP#1: Bring along a food crossword puzzle or other activity for them to do.
Nourish Interactive makes a bunch of food activity worksheets for kids! Walking through the store could even help them guess some of the words.
ESL Kids Lab also has a fun food vocabulary worksheet here!

TIP #2: Encourage them to use simple math & counting skills, and let them help you put items into the cart.
"If you have one carrot and I have two carrots, how many carrots do we have?"
"We need one dozen eggs. How many is one dozen?"

TIP#3: Create a simple grocery aisle scavenger hunt. Let them use your phone to collect photos of each item and review when you get home! Maybe even offer a small prize if they find every item.

In fact....ta-da! I made the scavenger hunt for you! Click HERE to download it for free!


Let me know if any of these tips work for you! I know it isn't always easy running errands with the little ones, but the least we can do is try to make the most of it!

Kate

Post a Comment

Designed by FlexyCreatives