I love shopping and I truly enjoyed my grocery shopping experiences with my two now grown up children when they were younger. So let’s use grocery shopping with your preschoolers as an example.
Shopping with your preschooler is such a great adventure. Believe me, they are so eager and ever ready to learn; if you give them the right instructions, it will be such fun and a pleasure to have them around.
This is what I did: I gave each of them a shopping list, with very specific requirements, such as 5 ripe tomatoes (which means soft), 1 litre of milk, 500g of broccoli, 6 unripe (means hard) pears (learn vocabulary)… you can get the idea.
So are you ready for shopping with your preschoolers?
Step 1 – Plan your shopping day, i.e. Wednesday
Step 2 – Plan your time to leave for the shops. Let them know in advance the time you are leaving. Point to them the long and short hand of the clock and let your child know that when the short hand points to a certain number they have to come and get you.
Step 3 – Get your child to help you with the shopping list. Let them know the things that you would like on the shopping list. For example, give your children the responsibility for getting apples and milk. If your child is not reading yet, use old catalogues and cut the pictures of the apples and milk, and paste them on the shopping list.
If you would like a richer exercise, you can be a bit more specific; you can say SIX RED APPLES for example. So your child will cut out 6 apples he/she can find in the catalogue; if your child is able to write and identify number 6, then he/she (or you) can write down 6 next to the apples. If not, get your child to cut out six apples or draw apples to make 6.
As for the milk, do the same exercise as above. If you want to create more challenges, state that you want 2 litres milk, but you want it in a plastic bottle and not a carton. Note you are stating “volume – 2 litres” and they have to identify “bottle’.
So let’s sum up what your child will learn from this exercise:
Step 1 – Your child will learn the day of the week.
Step 2 – Your child will learn about time and reading numbers.
Step 3 – Your child will learn quantity, identifying numbers, colour, volume and terms of carton and bottle.
Do you see how easy is it to introduce math concepts to your child from everyday activities? Not only will your child enjoy the challenge, you will enjoy his or her company during grocery shopping as well. This way he or she will be focusing on the task ahead and not so much on junk food!
You can use this concept with your older primary school children. Change the task and make it a bit more challenging. They will love the challenge…and it’s a fun and a very inexpensive outing!
By involving your children, you can create tremendous connections with them through this fun challenge!
One more very important thing, always finish off a challenge with a REWARD! My reward is that they can each choose ONE item that is no more than $2 from the shelf (or save the money as pocket-money).
I would love to hear your experience – have you used shopping as a means to teach your preschoolers maths?
Happy Counting! … and happy shopping.