The girls go with me to the grocery store about once a week. I usually reserve the “my pantry and crisper drawers are empty”-magnitude trips for when I’m by myself, but for shorter trips, I think it’s a great exercise for the girls.
They see me making my grocery list…checking my recipes…looking at the sale paper…organizing my coupons.
[One of their new pastimes is looking at sale papers! It’s so funny to see them spread out, looking intently at all the items on sale at the drug store for the week!]
At the grocery, we talk about the fruits and veggies, the pictures on the boxes of cereal and crackers, and we usually pay a visit to the little man who works behind the sushi counter.
It’s a fun trip – a great diversion from the confines of the house – and I feel like the girls learn stuff, too.
The girls have been playing “grocery shopping” for quite a while. They’ve long said, “I’m going grocery shopping with my baby,” and they’ll put a purse or a bucket over their arm, grab their baby doll, and march off around the den, collecting things.
Lately, the game has really escalated, and there are actually some good lessons to be learned.
I sometimes help the girls organize all their play food on one side of the den. We separate everything into four categories – fruits, vegetables, breads, and dairy.
Then we return to the girls’ kitchen to make our grocery list. A couple of times recently, I’ve actually gotten out a piece of paper and a pen to write down what the girls said. This is the list they constructed a couple of days ago, all by themselves:
Baby A had told me earlier in the morning, at random, as she was playing by herself, “Broccoli is on sale, Mommy!” so that went on the list first. As we were making our list, Baby B said, “Lily [her doll] needs medicine!” I asked her what kind, and she said, “Purple!” Baby A added that her doll also needed medicine, but pink.
The girls watched me write each word, and I spelled aloud as I made the list.
After our list was complete, I talked through which items we had coupons for – the paper and baby items and the cheese – and circled those on the list.
Then we went shopping from the piles we made across the room. I try to keep the girls focused on just picking up what’s on our list…but two-year olds are prone to impulse shopping.
This trip, they picked up both their plastic ice cream cones to add to their bucket. [They may or may not have seen their mama fall prey to such temptations at the actual grocery store...ahem...]
After our list was exhausted, I ask the girls how much they needed to pay. This is always a funny answer…it’s often “forty dollars”, but sometimes it might be as little as “two dollars”, or as random as “two…five…”. I might then count the items – say we have 12 – and tell them each costs $2, so the total bill is $24.
I remind the girls to use their coupons, and then we’re off to cook our goodies.
Lots of good stuff going on here in my book…the classification of items, planning and list-making, the appreciation (or at least awareness) of sales and coupons and numbers and money.
I just wish I could harness some of their energy for all my shopping trips!