10 Ways to Work Learning Into Your Next Trip to the Grocery Store

Can a simple trip to the supermarket be a learning experience for your child? Sure, if you know how. You incorporate reading and math, for instance, every time you shop; there's no reason why you can't involve your child in these activities and more. Here's how a quick trip to the grocery store can be an education for your child.

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grocery store learning tips

1. Vocabulary Lessons

Go over the words you're likely using throughout the store, such as 'aisle,' 'produce,' 'label,' 'bakery' and 'dairy.' Have your child sound them out and spell them. Introduce them to words they may not be familiar with, such as 'avocado,' 'asparagus' or 'pistachio.'

2. Reading Opportunities

Have your child hold on to the grocery list and identify whatever items they can. As you shop, have your child cross off each item you pick up. See if they can put the list in alphabetical order. They can also read store signs and package labels.

3. Adding It Up

Of course math figures into grocery shopping; show your child how. Have them add up the prices of a few items to arrive at a total, or figure out the cost of an item per pound. They can also count the number of items in your shopping cart.

4. Simple Geometry

Have your child identify shapes and sizes of cereal, pasta and other boxes. Are they rectangular or square? Is a box of cereal larger than a box of spaghetti? Or ask them to identify a shape on a store sign, such as a circle, and to find the same shape on other signs and food packages throughout the store. Have them sort the items at checkout by size or shape.

5. A Colorful Experience

Pick out the many colors of fruits and vegetables. Choose, say, four colors and have your child pick out a fruit and a vegetable to correspond with each color. At checkout, have your child sort all items by color.

6. Healthy Choices

Take this opportunity to talk to your child about nutrition. For example, explain why natural foods are better than processed foods or the benefits of organic foods. Quiz them about which foods they think are healthy and which they think are unhealthy.

7. A Great Sense-ation

Let your child feel the different textures and experience the various smells of foods in the store. This is easiest, of course, in the produce aisle: let them touch and smell different fruits and vegetables (preferably ones that you're buying, of course!).

8. Food Origins

When you're in the dairy section, talk about where milk comes from. For fruits and vegetables, let them know which ones grow on trees and which ones grow from the ground. You might also talk about seasonal foods and from which parts of the country certain foods are grown.

9. Money Issues

At the checkout, show your child your money when you pay. Have them identify bills and various coinage. Show them how much you're paying and count out any change with them. If applicable, show them how you saved money with coupons.

10. Life Experience

Building life skills is, of course, a large part of learning. A trip to the grocery store can be a simple life lesson: have your child pick out one item and give him or her the money to pay for it at the checkout. You could also have them help write the grocery list before leaving home.

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