Post by Jessica R.

Many moms dread going to the grocery store with a child, convinced it’s going to be a chore wrapped in many layers of “I wants” and possible tantrums. But you can easily turn a painful shopping expedition into an educational adventure making sure that everyone makes the best of your time.

1) Put your child to work

Identify a few things on your list that your child can help you locate, either from the shopping cart seat or from the ground. Depending on the age of the child, either praise and gratitude or a points reward system will keep him invested in the adventure from start to finish, especially if the items he’s looking for are things he loves! This might even limit the number of times they say, “Are we done yet?”

2) Play “I spy”

You can adapt “I spy” to work for everyone accompanying you. So while your two-year-old works on “I spy something green,” your preschooler can be working on “I spy something that starts with “C.” Corn anyone?

3) Reinvent the license plate game

Can you walk your way through the alphabet as you wander up and down the aisles of the grocery store? A is for Apple, B is for Bread. The only letter that might trip you up is “X,”  but you just never know! I’m willing to bet there are a few thing in the soda aisle that might work.

4) Rhyme your way down your shopping list

Rhyming is said to be the first step towards learning to read. Why not start at the bread aisle? Bread rhymes with Red. Cheese rhymes with please. Carrots rhyme with Parrots. Beware though, rhyming can get very silly very fast, you run the risk of actually enjoying yourself!

5) Colors and shapes all around!

Colors and shapes abound in the grocery store. See how many of one of the other you can find before you run out of steam. While this might seem like just a distraction technique, it’ll help your child work on her observation skills. Who knew that Oreos are the same shape as the tops of cans?

And if your child is still too young for all of this? Well, you can still make the trip educational. Narrate your way around the store. All of your jabbering will help her grow her awareness of her surrounding and do amazing things for her language development.

See? Who said a trip to the store had to just be about getting bread and milk?

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Category: Mom Talk
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