What to Pack:
- Grocery list
- Reusable bags
- Time your visit. Avoid supermarket meltdowns by choosing a time when you know your child is up for an outing.
- Make a list. Ask for your child's input as you make your list. Give him healthy choices, saying, "Do you want apples or oranges? Beans or broccoli?" Try to write the things you need roughly in the order you'll find them in the store: fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, etc. Print the words in large letters and read them aloud to your child as you write them. If there's time, your child might want to draw pictures next to some of the words. If you have a lot of time, have your child find pictures of these things in a magazine and glue them on to your list.
- Start the hunt. At the store, give your child the list and a crayon as you strap him into the cart. Can he find a match on the shelves? As you put things in the cart, let your child cross each item off with his crayon.
- Look for signs. Encourage your child to look at the signs in the store and compare them to the words on your list. As you cross off "carrots" on your list, ask, "Can you find something else that starts with the letter C?"
- Play I Spy. As you wander the aisles, say, "I spy something orange" or "I spy something round." See if he can guess what it is.
- Search for opposites. What's hot? What's cold? Big/small? High/low? Soft/hard? Round/square? Loud/quiet? Sweet/sour?
- Count on kids. If you need four cans of soup, let your child count them out. Look for numbers on price labels, aisles, coupons and more. See if your child can spot the numbers 1 through 10 in order. If you're headed for the "10 Items or Less" checkout counter, let your child see if you're legit. As you pay, let your child count out any pennies you owe.
- Investigate. Ask your fellow foodie these questions:
- What's your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
- Where does food come from? (Explain how carrots grow in the ground, bees make honey, cows make milk, fish live in the sea and so on.)
- Why do we need food?
- Do animals eat the same food as people?
- What foods do we need to eat a lot of? What foods should we eat sparingly?
- Read all about it: Look for Bebé Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya and Maisy Goes Shopping by Lucy Cousins.
Bonus Explorer Activity Back home, let your child help you put the food away to teach sorting and classifying. Peaches go in the fruit drawer, bottles in the refrigerator door, spices in the spice drawer or rack, cans in the cupboard, paper towels in the pantry. Then you can both put your feet up and enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice (that is if you remembered to buy it!).
For more exploring, 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.
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