Opportunities for language growth during everyday routines abounds! One of those “teachable moments” that occurs weekly for most families is a trip to the grocery store. Often times I find myself just trying to make it through the trip with no one pitching a fit or escaping my grasp as I navigate the aisles. I feed them snacks and get the impossible to steer “car cart” just to keep them busy and quiet so I can think about what I am purchasing. But if you try to include your child in the experience, give them a “job” and engage them in the trip, you might find that not only are they learning, but you walk out of the store feeling a little less stressed!
The grocery store is a great place to work on vocabulary development. Here are some ideas to help you and your child enjoy the trip:
-As you prepare your grocery list make a list for your child with pictures. If you need 4 apples draw an apple with the number 4 beside it. Have your child count the apples as they place them into the bag to work on counting. Give your child the responsibility of holding their list and being on the lookout for the items on it.
-You can talk to your child about how the items in the store are grouped together by categories: fruit, vegetables, dairy products, breads, etc. Ask your child where you would find carrots, milk and hamburger buns.
-Have your child help you sort the items in your cart by color or size.
-As you walk through the freezer aisle talk to them about hot and cold. Open the freezer door and let them feel the chill.
-Talk to your child about the different people who work in the supermarket: butcher, baker, cashier, bagger and coffee barista (if your lucky enough to have a Starbucks in your store!).
-You can also talk to your child about where foods come from. A cow gives us milk, chickens lay eggs and farmers grow apples on trees.
Sometimes we get bogged down with everyday life and lose sight of how our daily routines can be fun, exciting and educational for our kids. And the best benefit…when our kids are engaged and feel like they are helping us, they are more cooperative and well behaved!!