Great ways to keep your kids entertained while shopping!

grocery shopping with kidsGrocery shopping with kids in tow can be a challenge. They get bored easily, try to sneak things in the cart, run around in the aisles, get in front of other customers’ carts, ask to go to the bathroom a million times, and repeatedly beg for things that are not on the list.  It can be frustrating, to say the least.

Here are some ways to keep your kids entertained while shopping:

1.  Official cart organizer – This works great for 3-4 year olds.  Have them sit in the back of the cart and stack everything neatly as you go along.  (Obviously if you are buying a TON, then they’ll have to move eventually)

2.  Have them read off/check off the list – If your child is old enough to read, then let them tell you what’s next on the list.  They can also check off the items as they are put in the cart.  If they aren’t able to read yet, you can still tell them what to check off, and let them help that way.

3.  Captain of the cart – Don’t just let them just push the cart, use it as a way to work on following directions.  Specifically left and right if they are having trouble distinguishing between the two.

4.  Add up prices with a calculator – This one is great for keeping kids’ attention, because if they miss an item then it throws the whole thing off.  It’s also a great tool for them to estimate prices in the produce section.

5.  Let them do the shopping for a meal of their choice – Letting kids plan (and prepare) a meal of their choice is a great way to get them interested and involved in healthier foods.  We have lots of kid cookbooks that my children can choose from, or they can search online for something new and fun to make.  They make a list of the required ingredients, and bring it along to do their “own” shopping at the store.  Plus it’s a great way to teach about comparing prices for different brands!

6.  Have them put everything in the cart – You can either hand them the items, or let them get them off the shelf themselves.  Sort of like #1 with the organizing, but better for a child that won’t be content (or is too big) to sit in the back of the cart.

7.  Mark the colors of items* – This is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers that are still learning their colors.  You can talk to older kids about the importance of getting more colorful healthy foods, and even have them guess which color will have the most tally marks when you’re done shopping.

8.  Keep a tally of how many items there are – This can easily be done with a piece of paper and a pencil, or even through a phone app.  It’s a great way to work on numbers and counting with younger ones.

9.  Split the list up between kids – If your children are older, you can split up your list between everyone to help speed things along.  Just make sure that you are specific in regards to brands and sizes, or you may end up having to go behind them and switch items out!

10.  Mark the food groups* – Using a simple chart, kids can put a tally in the correct food group for each item you put in the cart.  It will teach them about how to group items by category, and also encourages conversation as to why (hopefully) you have more items from the vegetable group than the oil/fat group.

11.  Keep up with coupons – If you are a couponer, let your little ones help you keep up with the coupons you will need to use when you get to the register.  You can also have them be your super special coupon finder, keeping an eye out for blinkies, peelies and tear pads for items that you normally buy anyway.  Giving them their own envelope or mini coupon file to carry things in will make them feel like a big helper, and you won’t forget to use the coupons when it’s time to pay.  Because trust me, they’ll remind you since it’s their job!


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