We like to involve children in the kitchen, but before any food preparation can begin we have to head to the supermarket! Teaching children about shopping is a great practical life skill that they are sure to show a lot of enthusiasm about.
Every good project begins with a list. It is easiest if you have a specific recipe in mind that they can reference for the creation of their grocery list. Help them check the kitchen to see which ingredients you already have on hand, and which you’ll need to purchase. Help them with spelling if needed, or encourage them to draw pictures of the ingredients next to your writing (you can look up photos online for their reference if they don’t know what it looks like).
Once you have the list talk to them about the types of food you have listed and where they might be found in the store. For example, milk and yogurt will be in the dairy section. Flour and sugar will be together with other baking supplies. Rice and pasta will be with dried goods. Help them to organize their list according to grocery store sections.
With the list in hand (and a pen or pencil) head to the store! If they’re familiar with the layout of the store let them guide you around and search for everything on their list. If they need some help, guide them to one section at a time and check the list for ingredients in that section. As you find each item check it off the list and add it to the basket.
As they gain practice in finding the ingredients you can begin to introduce price to your child. Younger children can practice reading the numbers and learning vocabulary like, “this costs” or “the price is ___ dollars”. For older children the supermarket is a great place to practice estimation instead of exact addition. Can they estimate how much the groceries will cost? They can also help to count the money during check out.