Searching for ideas on how to spend quality time with your young children while using the time to connect, bond and to make it a fun adventure as well?
How about grocery shopping?
I know some parents would not totally agree that grocery shopping can be a fun family outing idea. However, if you think about it and pay attention to what your local fruit stores and grocery stores have to offer, you may agree with my approach.
These stores are filled with food produce that your children can relate to, for example colourful fresh fruit, meat, vegetables, shelves of dry and canned food stuff, rows of freezers with frozen food such as precooked pies, frozen vegetables etc.
Next time when you are in the grocery store, just pay attention to the surrounding of the store and absorb the array of topics you and your child/ren can talk about, and so can share and experience together.
- Wow, look at the apples, where are the apples? (Allow your child to point.)
- Can you point to the red apples?
- What about green apples, can you see them? (Allow your child to touch and feel the apples that you are buying.)
- Can you feel the oranges?
- Would you like to put some oranges into the bag for mummy/daddy? One.. two.. three… (counting)
- How do the oranges feel? Hard, smooth? Coarse?
- Can you help mummy/daddy find the watermelon/lemon/grapes… (get them to point to the specified fruit).
Lower primary school children
- Which vegetables should we get today?
- Does the broccoli look fresh to you? Or the choy sum, spinach or the cauliflower?
- Are there any vegetables on special? Maybe we should check them out, what do you think? Let’s see how much we can save on vegetables today?
- Which capsicum do they have in the shop today? Do they have the red, green or yellow? Which one do you prefer? Do they taste the same I wonder?
- Let’s check out the dairy section, which brand of milk is on special? Which brand do you think we should get?
- My goodness, how many types of milk can you see? Skim milk, fat reduced milk, permeate free milk, unhomoginised milk, pasteurised milk…
- Look at the packaging as well… they come in carton, glass bottles, plastic bottles…
- They come in different quantities as well… 2 litre, 1 litre, 300 ml etc.
- What would you like for dinner?
- Would you prefer something hot and spicy or creamy?
- Can you search the recipe online and see what else we need?
- Do you know what we still have in the fridge?
- So what do we still need to get for this dish?
- OK, I will be in charge of the meat and you are in charge of the vegetables, and we will meet at the checkout area in 15 minutes, OK?
- Let’s check the ingredients on the packaging first before getting that product, to make sure there are not too many “bad” ingredients in the food.
There are so many more conversational topics that you can share with your children…
I know it is much faster and easier if you could just finish the shopping in less than 30 minutes, but don’t you agree that grocery shopping with your children is a wonderful way to engage your children in purposeful conversation, while creating an opportunity to communicate and bond with them at the same time?
Also if you notice from the tips above, your children will be learning while communicating with you, i.e. discussing different types of food, different types of packaging for milk and different milk types as well as learning about quantity.
Have a great day with your children!