Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teaching Tuesday--Numbers

The Grocery Store Game

Access to a Grocery Store
Grocery List
Some extra patience
Some extra time

Although I've been doing my grocery shopping lately after the kids go to be bed, I realized a few days ago that I was cutting them and myself short.  There's a wealth of learning opportunities in the grocery store and since my two year old loves shopping, I have to take advantage of it while I can.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Point out and discuss numbers on signs and price tags.  My grocery store has huge signs in the produce section.  Since this is already an area of great interest with the variety of colors and textures, my toddler is sure to be interested in the signs as well and learning about the produce.
  • Discuss numbers when weighing items.  This can be used in both the produce and bulk item sections.  How much does each thing weigh?  Which bags are big, bigger, and biggest?  
  • Older kids can learn about prices and weight.  Discuss with your older child how many cups are in a pint, pints in a quart, etc.  
  • Compare the price per unit on tags.  My grocery store has a separate number below the price that breaks down the price per oz, per bagel, etc.  These are additional numbers for your toddler to practice and a great way for older children to learn the value of buying generic versus brand name.  
  • Look for numbers on labels, comparing fat content, calories, and percentages.  This is also a great way to help your older children understand how to eat nutritiously.
Again the point is to look for learning opportunities in every day experiences.  This will require some extra patience on your part.  For me, I plan to take my son at a time when we have nothing planned afterwards and Daddy can watch baby sister.  Although I'll still be trying to do some shopping after bedtime, I want to start taking my little boy on these trips when we can have some focused Mommy time.  

And the payoffs are numerous.  Not only will you be spending time with your little ones learning numbers, but your older children will begin to appreciate the value of money by comparison shopping and reading labels.  Older children can also learn about nutrition by observing how you interpret the food pyramid by the choices you make.

So take a deep breath, pack a well organized grocery list, and hit the produce aisle.  You might be amazed at what your child will learn.  And what you will learn about your child.

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