10 Teachable Moments at the Grocery Store
Take a big bite of math, science, language arts, and more on your next trip to the grocery store.
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Adding and Subtracting
- Add it up. Take a look at your shopping list. As you place items in your cart, ask your child to add up the prices to see how much of the list you can purchase with $20 (or another amount). See if he can find the combination of products that gets closest to the set amount.
- Estimate weight. Challenge your child to pick out the number of apples she thinks will make up a pound without going over. Use the scale in the produce section to check her guess.
- Find out if size matters. When picking out cereal, ask your child to compare the price of a smaller box to the larger, "economy size" version. See if he can calculate how much you'd save with the bigger size.
- Analyze savings. Introduce percentages. For example, if a certain brand of cookies is 25% off, and a box of those cookies costs $3.99, how much will the cookies cost after the discount?
- Where do they go? Explain why there are different sections in the store: frozen, refrigerated, and pantry. Tell your child to take note of where the food in your cart came from, and see if she can put it in the appropriate place when you unpack at home.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle. Take note of the packaging your food comes in. Discuss how recycling plastic and paper helps the environment. Together, look for labels that indicate a recyclable container.
- Who can find it first? Hold a scavenger hunt by asking your child to find all the products you will need to bake a cake (or casserole or other favorite recipe). This helps him learn what goes into his favorite food — and where he can find it in the store.
- Read the aisles. As you stroll around the market, have your beginning reader decipher the identifying signs on the aisles. Ask a question like, "We're looking for cucumbers now. Does that sign say we're in the vegetable section?"
- Make a cultural connection. Match cuisine with its country of origin, from Italian pastas to cheeses from France. Identifying a food with a country allows her to become more aware of how people around the world eat — which is a great starting point to pique interest in another culture.
- Learn the food pyramid. Look at the food in your cart and ask him to match certain products with their home on the food pyramid. Encourage him to take interest in nutrition values and how your purchases add up to a balanced meal.
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