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Do you struggle to grocery shop with kids in tow?

by Liz

In attempt to make everything about meal planning as simple as possible, these 5 simple games for the grocery store will help keep your children engaged.

The time at the store will go by in a flash!


I have two girls and that two and half and six years old. My two and half year old will attend preschool in the Fall so I ™m focusing my efforts on color recognition and vocabulary development. My six year old is in kindergarten and is now reading at an early first grade level. Her sight words are abundant and she is able to blend multisyllabic words to decode them. Her math skills are extremely strong and she has a mind that understand numbers quickly. As a former reading specialist, I ™ve always put a great deal of emphasis on early reading skills. I do it through games and what most would likely see as chatter. I ™m pretty sure that the people that pass me at the grocery store with my girls think I ™m talking gibberish to them. They love it though.

I spy with first sound (pre-k ”2nd). When my oldest was little we played I spy with colors. I would spy green and she would find cucumbers, celery, peppers, etc. Now that she has made the connection of sounds in a beginning of the word to the rest of the word, it is the perfect came to play. If I was thinking of a cucumber, I would state, I spy with my little eye something that begins with the sound k . You're not stating the letter. You make the sound. They will then guess cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, etc.

Phoneme Segmentation (k-2). This is a really big name for something very simple. Take a word like cat  and break it into each of it's sounds c  a  t . Your child now needs to tell you the word. Another example would be boat  broken into b  oa  t . It's just the sounds, no spelling. You can also take this a step further and ask your child to break the word into it's sounds. So you ™d give them the word hat  and they would break the word into h  a  t .

Vocabulary Stairs (3 years – 9 years). The idea behind this game is that your child continues to grow their vocabulary no matter what their level is. For example, my two and half year old and I play this often. I give her an item like a grape and she has to describe it. She starts off by telling me that it's green. I ask what else? She says that it's round. I ask what else again. She tells me that it grows in batches on a vine.

Categories (preschool – 2nd). A large part of a child's vocabulary development and even mathematic skills are determined by their ability to categorize items. A grocery store is an obvious place to categories items since the entire store is designed this way. I work on the difference between fruits and vegetables with my two and half year old, while I talk to my six year old about the dairy products. The grocery store is also the perfect opportunity to talk to your kids about how the healthy, unprocessed foods surround the rest of the aisles in the grocery store. My oldest continually asks if something is healthy for her and this provides her with an opportunity to investigate herself what is categorized as healthy.

Rhyming (preschool – 1st). There's a reason that Dr. Seuss stories are so beloved. Children love to be silly and rhyming is the perfect opportunity to create silly words. As we walk through the aisles I give a word and they come up with as many rhyming words as they can think of. With my oldest I push her to come up with real words rather than nonsense, made up words. If she's not sure if the word is real, I urge her to use it in a sentence so that the context of her sentence can show me if she really knows what the word means.


For the rest of our grocery shopping tips with kids in tow grab our complete guide to meal planning with resources and tips, The Meal Planning Game Plan. You'll find everything you need to get you organized as well as save you money and your sanity in the process.

A big thanks to Jenny Melrose for being a friend to Kids Activities Blog! I can’t wait to dive into this book. -Holly