Have you ever struggled to keep your kiddos cheerfully occupied while you did the grocery shopping? No big plastic car shaped cart was enough to distract my kiddos from the brightly colored packages so carefully placed at their eye level. I finally turned to a variation of the traditional car bingo games. I used a grocery flyer to cut out pictures of food I needed to buy on a regular basis. I glued them onto paper in three rows of three and put the paper in a sheet protector so it could be used over and over. [Today I might use the computer to find pictures and create and print my bingo cards.] When we went shopping I would give each child a "playing card" and some sticky notes. Their job was to cover each item's picture with a sticky note when they saw it in the store. It kept them focused and generally happy while I went aisle to aisle. [If you know your store well you can plan the card so that there is at least one picture they can find in each aisle!]
From the tic-tac-toe style game cards for toddlers you can expand to bingo size 5 x 5 cards for older kids. Once the children are old enough to be on their own in the store, convert from game cards to picture shopping lists with each each child responsible for getting the things on their list. IF you do it by aisle you can stay in the aisle watching the kids while they gather the items in that aisle and bring them to the family cart. As they get older you can teach comparison shopping, name vs house brand, nutrition labeling, etc.
Grocery shopping may take a bit longer with the cards but the lack of fighting and whining will make the time go by much more pleasantly! Besides, they will learn valuable independence skills, and the kids will actually enjoy it. Can you imagine... grocery shopping as family fun!
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.