back-to-school shopping: get the kids involved

back to school shopping with kidsI can hardly believe it’s that time of year again, but it is.

Last year, when we waited until (gasp!) the week before school to start for our Back-to-School shopping, we had to hit nearly four stores in order to get everything on the kids’ lists. This year, I was one year older and soooo much wiser.

So we started our massive shopping trip two weeks before school starts.  We’re so crazy like that.

Just like the last few years, we made our annual Back-to-School shopping trip for school supplies a fun and exciting event, complete with kid-friendly shopping lists, snacks, and the usual fanfare.   This time, however, there was one minor change–my husband wanted in on our fun.

And of course, we let him in on it!  To me, it doesn’t matter who else is with us, as long as the kids are involved in the event.  We’re buying supplies they’ll be using for the year, so they should definitely have a say in what we choose–not to mention, Back-to-School shopping can be a lot of work for a parent!

We get our kids involved in this end-of-summer tradition, and we keep them involved–though it does take a bit of energy, it’s something we look forward to all summer long.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Back-to-School Shopping–Get the Kids Involved: That’s right. Maddy, Owen, and Cora have been involved every year, just like I think kids should be with stuff like this.

We do a whole lot of flipping through store circulars before we head out, and I grab what coupons and discounts I can.

And of course, I bring along the kids’ lists, made a little more easy on the eyes with bigger fonts, clear quantity numbers, and check boxes.

Maddy, Owen, and Cora each get their own earth-friendly shopping bag, a marker or pen, and their lists. And off we go!

back to school shopping with kids

Three bags of supplies and three kids ready for a great school year!

And though this time, my husband proved to be a little more frugal and a little less patient, it was still a lot of fun.  Yes, it’s a bit stressful at times. Yes, one of our kids has a bear of a time with decisions, so something as simple as picking out a ruler can be excruciating, and yes, sometimes they all get a little rammy.

But at the end of the day, I think that a tradition like this can help get kids in the school mode while at the same time give parents an opportunity to sneak in a bit o’ learning.

Next year, I’m going to try something new: I’m going to give the kids their lists and the store circulars, and I’m going to give them a set amount of money each.  And then I’m going to have them work together to plan the trip, deciding where to go, how much they’ll spend on what, and really let them take the lead. back to school

I didn’t want anything to overshadow Cora’s big Kindergarten shopping trip, so I opted not to go that route this year, but next? Absolutely.

Want the lists to use for yourself?   If they’re not the same as ours (which is highly likely!), then just download the blank document in Word and make changes–it’s easy, and the kids will love it!


And that’s it–just a wee bit of learning in our every day . . . . happy shopping!




  1. Dana says

    Our school does schoolkidz kits which takes the stress (and fun) out of bts shopping! But we still couldn’t resist some new markers and crayons for home!

  2. says

    We did back-to-school shopping with our Kindergartner for the first time last weekend! It really got her excited about the final countdown.

    I love your idea for next year… may have to try that one myself!

  3. says

    I went the easy route this year and bought from the school PTO. I even paid with PayPal and in June. Her supplies will be on her first grade desk that first day. The box of tissues, wet wipes, paper towels and more will be bought next grocery trip to taken to her orientation next week.

    • amy says

      Vicky–Nothing wrong with that route, my friend! It’s all about what works best for mom, right? Here’s to a super 2012-2013 school year!!


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