Reading at the Grocery Store

I am a firm believer that learning opportunities can be found anywhere. My parents often used every day situations to teach my sister and I various lessons and skills that would be helpful to us in our lives. While driving home from places, my mother would encourage us to give her directions home. When we would go on walks, they would encourage us to point out familiar things and name them. All of these lessons helped my sister and I to become avid readers and learners. I am starting to do the same with my daughter, and she is already eager to learn from the world around her. Shopping is one of the tasks which my daughter and I do together that affords us lots of fun learning opportunities. We have been learning and reading at the grocery store since she was a few months old.

From a young age, my daughter has loved to go shopping (she calls it “shop-shop”). She likes to hold the list in the grocery store and put things into the cart for me. She loves cooking already, so I like involving her in shopping for ingredients as well as preparing our meals. As we stroll through the aisles of the grocery store, she likes to point out familiar foods. I enjoy showing her new foods and watching her examine them.

She has also figured out that the people handing out samples offer yummy foods for her to eat. This has given her an opportunity to try new things, which she is happy to do. (This can lead to problems, such as when she enjoyed the lobster mac and cheese they were sampling!). From exposing kids to new things to discussing math, language and problem solving, there are so many ways that you can turn your weekly shopping trip into a fun learning experience.

Using your senses

Talking about Food – This is the simplest way to get kids learning in the grocery store, and can be done with kids only a few months old! Kids are sponges, and they take in everything around them. Even before your child is able to speak, they are curious about the world. Show them how different fruits and vegetables look and feel. Let them touch a pineapple or a loaf of bread. Use simple words like rough, soft, hard and shiny. Point out the red apples or the yellow bananas. They may not be able to fully understand it yet, but you will both get into the habit of talking about the world around you.

Grocery List – Put kids in charge of the grocery list! For very young kids, this can be as simple as a few of the items you need. You can include pictures you printed off the computer or cut out of the weekly ads. Letting them be in charge of the list and letting them search for specific items gives them a task and helps them to feel responsible. My daughter loves to “read” our weekly list to me. She mostly looks it over and calls out foods she would like, but I love that she already understands that the paper she is holding is “telling” me what I am looking for!

Seek and Find

Grocery Store Bingo – This is a great way to keep kids entertained, particularly if you have a long shopping trip ahead of you. Give kids a bingo board and have them find the right products to match their boards. You can have them go for 5 in a row or the whole board. You could use the pre-made bingo board, or let kids create their own bingo boards. Use the blank boards included and have kids draw items or cut pictures out of the weekly ads. If you have more than one child and they are a bit older (or know the store pretty well), you could have them create boards for each other to make it more challenging.

Grocery Scavenger Hunt – Give kids the challenge of finding items for each letter of the alphabet or each color of the rainbow. You could keep track together, or provide kids with a notepad and pen to keep track of their finds.


Talking about Money

Shopping Math – Grocery shopping can be a great way to introduce kids to a variety of math concepts. From rounding and estimating to adding and budgeting, there are a lot of life skills that kids can practice while shopping. Depending on the age of your kids, these are a few options you can use:

  • Show young kids two differently priced products, side by side and have them tell you which is the bigger number of the smaller number.
  • For kids practicing rounding, show them a few different products on the shelf and have them round the prices to the nearest dollar.
  • Give older kids a couple of items and have them estimate the total price.
  • Have kids add up the products in the cart, or count items as you add them to the cart.

Shopping for Dinner – Have kids come up with a meal that they would like for dinner. Show them how to find a recipe and figure out the ingredients that they would need to create it. Make a list and take them shopping. Have them set a budget and do their best to stay within it. This process gives kids a variety of learning opportunities, while also allowing them to create something on their own. Kids will feel proud and responsible when they create a meal for the family from start to finish!

Learning opportunities can be found anywhere. From a very young age, you can teach kids about the world by talking to them. Share your observations about the foods in the grocery store, and they will grow to do the same. If you dread the task of grocery shopping, turn it into a fun learning experience instead!


  • Jessica Peresta

    June 12, 2017 at 8:53 am Reply

    I also try to encourage reading wherever we go. The grocery store is definitely a great place for practicing because there is so much to read! I love all of your ideas!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm Reply

      Thank you! Encouraging reading everywhere you go is such a great way to raise bookworms!

  • Kim

    June 12, 2017 at 8:57 am Reply

    These ideas are awesome! We may try the bingo today. Definitely letting my son pick a meal to make too!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reply

      I hope you have fun with it! My mom encouraged us to pick meals when we were younger so we whined less about meals we didn’t like! Haha.

  • Christina Myerly

    June 12, 2017 at 9:03 am Reply

    Such great tips! Grocery shopping can be such an amazing learning opportunity. I can’t wait to try some of these out on our next grocery trip. I’ll confess that with my grouchy 20-month-old, more often that not, I just want to hurry, but my 4 y.o. would get so much out of these ideas!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm Reply

      I understand that completely! My daughter definitely has days when she has no patience for shopping.

  • Kaity | With Kids and Coffee

    June 12, 2017 at 9:07 am Reply

    All such great ideas! My girl loves helping with grocery shopping for dinner, too.

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm Reply

      Thank you! That’s awesome they enjoy helping!

  • Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood

    June 12, 2017 at 9:46 am Reply

    I love this idea! I try to point out different things and ask my boys what they want/what thigns are used for while we shop. Great tips!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm Reply

      Those are great ways to get them involved!

  • Marissa Writes

    June 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm Reply

    Love this! Every opportunity to help reading skills

    I’d love for you to share this with my weekly link up community, Encouraging Hearts & Home – if you’re interested, just stop by on Thursday! Hope to see you there

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm Reply

      Thanks! I will check it out!

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries

    June 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm Reply

    This is so smart. I always try to find teaching opportunities for my daughter in everything we do!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 8:13 pm Reply

      It’s so important to show kids that learning opportunities are everywhere!

  • Amy

    June 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm Reply

    So many great ideas! Get the kids involved in shopping and a part of meal planning. I love the food bingo game too 🙂

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm Reply

      Thanks! My mom thought it was really important to teach my sister and I how to meal plan and cook, and I’m so grateful for it!

  • Steph

    June 12, 2017 at 11:11 pm Reply

    These tips take the chore out of taking your kids shopping!

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm Reply

      I’m so glad! I hope they help!

  • Krsyten

    June 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm Reply

    These are great ideas! I need to keep them in mind when I go to the grocery store the next time. I never thought of teaching him more at the store.

    • Vicki

      June 12, 2017 at 11:21 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope you have fun with them!

  • Amanda | My Own Unexpected Journey

    June 13, 2017 at 12:15 am Reply

    God bless you for your patience. Every time I go to the grocery store with my kids, I spend it yelling at them to stop touching everything lol.

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reply

      Haha, oh I definitely have days like that! There are days when I feel like a circus act, catching and balancing food on each hand and foot as I try to catch them before they reach the ground!

  • Marie, Mamma's Cooking

    June 13, 2017 at 9:35 am Reply

    Love having my kids get involved in the meal planning, shopping and cooking process. We do it much more in the summer because as they get older, the school year is too hectic. Someone gave me an idea to give each kid $10 and have them plan a meal and buy the ingredients for dinner one night. We will definitely be doing that this summer! Thanks for the ideas!

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reply

      I hope they have a lot of fun with it! I loved the ability to have a say in what we ate when I was growing up, and my mother liked not having to pick the menu every single night!

  • Kristen | Kandy Apple Mama

    June 13, 2017 at 10:29 am Reply

    I love this! We’ve practiced discounting items at the grocery store and reading the signs above the aisles, but the bingo game is something we definitely have to try. I love that you take a holistic learning view just like we do – I’ll definitely be back to check out more of your content 🙂

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoy it! I hope you will find lots of other activities you enjoy as well.

  • Sumer | Grace, Giggles & Naptime

    June 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm Reply

    I love these ideas! We love shopping at stores with the mini carts…makes it so much fun for them! These are really great games to keep them occupied, I’ll be trying these for sure!

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm Reply

      I’m so glad! My daughter loves shopping with the mini cart too. Makes it a little difficult when I have to chase her down or carry it to the register when she gets bored, haha.

  • Meredith

    June 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm Reply

    I totally love this, what a great idea! You can learn anywhere, right?!

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm Reply

      So true! It’s so important to find the learning opportunities everywhere.

  • Jenn

    June 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm Reply

    What a great learning opportunity! I would have never thought of it! I like the bingo idea.

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm Reply

      Thank you! My daughter loves to be active while shopping, so every little bit helps!

  • Amanda

    June 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm Reply

    You inspire me! I love your blog. You have so many good ideas and suggestions that are easy to implement.

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm Reply

      Aw, thank you so much! That means a lot to me!

  • Shannon | Mom Without Labels

    June 13, 2017 at 9:46 pm Reply

    I love the idea of grocery store BINGO! That’s perfect for my kids! Great post!

    • Vicki

      June 13, 2017 at 10:18 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope they have a lot of fun with it!

  • Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    June 14, 2017 at 8:29 am Reply

    Grocery store bingo is such a cute idea. I love how you incorporate learning into everything it’s amazing!

    • Vicki

      June 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm Reply

      Thank you! I think it’s so important to make learning fun and a part of every day life!

  • Elizabeth Voyles

    June 14, 2017 at 9:43 am Reply

    These are great ideas for teaching. And I love anything that helps kids pass the time during a shopping trip without causing mayhem.

    • Vicki

      June 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm Reply

      Thank you! Keeping my daughter busy has definitely been important while shopping!

  • Lauren

    June 14, 2017 at 9:43 am Reply

    I love these ideas! My kids aren’t reading quite yet, but Mr 5 can pick what letter things start with, and Miss 2 is interested in learning so we practice everywhere we go!

    • Vicki

      June 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm Reply

      That is awesome! I love those nicknames too!

  • Bailey

    June 14, 2017 at 5:59 pm Reply

    Thanks for inspiring some conversations for me to have with my growing little people.

    • Vicki

      June 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm Reply

      I’m so glad!

  • Bethany

    June 15, 2017 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Wonderful strategies for deescalating the stress of shopping with littles and replacing it with authentic learning!

    • Vicki

      June 15, 2017 at 8:11 pm Reply

      Thank you! I find engaging her in the process saves a lot of stress.

  • Emily

    June 16, 2017 at 7:27 am Reply

    This is such a fun idea! 🙂

  • Zhade

    June 16, 2017 at 7:28 am Reply

    These are really great tips! I love the grocery store bingo idea! Will be downloading that for sure!!

    • Vicki

      June 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm Reply

      I hope you have a lot of fun with it!

  • Stephanie

    June 21, 2017 at 11:00 am Reply

    Such great ideas! Not only will they learn while grocery shopping but this can also prevent tantrums because they will be occupied!

    • Vicki

      June 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm Reply

      Giving my daughter a task while shopping has definitely helped reduce meltdowns!

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