# Shopping Expedition

Pick up some new spring clothes AND a bagful of preschool-learning skills next time you head to the mall or department store. (That's what we call one-stop shopping!)

What to Pack
• Reusable shopping bags
Now Get Exploring!
• Time your visit. No one enjoys shopping with a cranky kid. Make sure yours is well-fed and well-rested before you go.
• Scout the signs. On your trip to the store, give your child a few letters of the alphabet to see if she can spot signs that begin with those letters. Tell her you're looking for a store that starts with the letter S. Can she find it?
• Pick a color. Inside, ask your child to name her favorite color and to name five things she sees in that color. Then see if she can find your favorite color.
• Search for shapes. Shapes are everywhere if you look around: Hangers are triangles, signs are square, price tags are rectangles, mirrors are ovals, bracelets are circles.
• Count by twos. Look at the sizes on the rack to help your child count by twos: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.
• Size it up. The concept of size relationships are at your fingertips. Show your child three shirts and have her put them in order: big, bigger, biggest. Or point out three rings: small, smaller, smallest.
• Go fancy. Once your child can name the basic types of clothing (shoes, socks, pants, shirts, dresses, etc.), build her vocabulary with "fancy-schmancy" words: A shoe isn't just a shoe, but a high-top, a sandal, a pump, a clog, a stiletto.
• Take a ride. Journey up on the escalator (hold hands and step carefully!) and down on the elevator. Talk about the numbers on the buttons and count how long it takes to get to the top.
• Take a touch test. Show your child the different textures and feel of fabrics (if her hands are clean, that is!) Compare cotton with wool, corduroy with silk. Which are soft, rough, bumpy, smooth?
• Read as you shop. Teach beginning reading skills by looking for sight words around the store: Exit, Parking, Sale. What do the picture signs on the restrooms mean?
• Stop for a snack. It can be as simple as a pretzel break or as fancy as high tea. Either way, take a load off and enjoy each other's company.
• What's inside a department store?
• What section did you like the best?
• What's the difference between an elevator and an escalator?
• What is money used for?
• How many things did we buy? Can you count them?
• Now where's the car?
• Read all about it. Check out Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day, Corduroy by Don Freeman and Max's Dragon Shirt by Rosemary Wells.
Educational PerksThe potpourri of colors, shapes, words, numbers, sights, sounds, scents, pictures, products and people can teach important pre-reading and pre-math skills your child will need at school. It's all in store at the department store!

Bonus Explorer Activity Later that night or the next day, hold a fashion show with your child describing her purchases as she models them. Or set up your own "store" with your child sorting old clothes into three piles: one to be saved, one to be given away, one to be discarded or recycled.

For more ways to explore together, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.

Thanks to Susan Hood

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