shopping lists for three tiny shoppers

It’s been a busy week to say the least. With the normal end-of-the-year tutoring rush, the consulting work I’m doing for a charter school in DC, and the preparations for our Relay for Life this weekend, I’m pretty close to nuts.

So instead of hitting the grocery store last night at 9 o’clock, I decided I’d use my three little helpers today to help me do our weekly shopping. I was going to put them to work and give them a little fun-focus during our shopping:

  • Shopping List Reading: I made a Shopping List for Maddy, Owen, and Cora, complete with large, easy-to-read words and pictures next to each word. I printed the Shopping Lists on cardstock so they’d withstand the love of the trip, and I put a short line before each word so they could check off items as they were found. It was so easy, and I plan to keep them and modify them as necessary for the next few years.

Maddy’s list had more items than the rest, and Cora’s only had four things. All the items were things they were familiar with, so that made finding them a bit easier.

Cora’s list

I prepped everyone for their challenge today when we sat down for breakfast, and they were totally psyched to see their lists. I said,

Okay, my friends. You know it’s been a busy week for Mommy and Daddy, and we’ve got our Relay tomorrow and Nanny and Pap are coming to town. I really need your help today at the grocery store, so I’m going to put you each in charge of your own shopping lists. You’re going to need to read the words on your list, find the item in the store, then check it off of your list after you put it in the basket. Who’s up for it?!

They hooted and hollered and reached for their lists. We read them together–using the words and the pictures because that’s what early literacy is all about–and they asked me about 100 times between breakfast clean-up and actually getting in the car when we could start shopping.

Happy finished lists in the cart.

The list-reading really worked out well today, especially in the beginning of our trip–before we hit the black hole that is our deli counter–but it got Maddy and Owen focused on accomplishing a small task and kept them occupied during a longer-than-I’d-liked grocery trip. Even Cora was excited to hold her list, count her apples, and look for her items. But above all, it got my little ones reading–and learning–in a fun, sneaky way.

We’ll be Relaying this weekend, so hopefully Maddy, Owen, and Cora will be able to help with our Team’s facepainting, tatoos, and glow stick sales. And maybe they’ll make the connection between our Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser a few weeks ago and this larger event. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll just be kids, walk a few laps with us, and have a ball.

Either way, we’re looking forward to it.




  1. Tech Savvy Mama says

    Oh my goodness! This totally takes grocery shopping to the next level. You are amazing! Good luck with the Relay for Life! I’m so glad you have gorgeous weather for the weekend!

  2. Smiling Mama says

    I was just thinking of trying something like this with Lucas. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. Michelle says

    This is such a great idea! I have 2 year old twins and this would be great for food recognition!

    I also wanted to let you know I have given you an award over at my place:) I hope you can swing by and get it!

  4. Thrift Store Mama says

    Just stumbled across your blog. I'm a new reader and love the way your incorprate the learning into everyday things. Look forward to more.

  5. Multi-tasking Mommy says

    I LOVE this idea!
    Where do you get all of your pics for the words from?
    I have a little spiral notebook for my daughter where I will write down letters or numbers for her to use for a Letter/Number hunt while at the grocery store. She feels so grown up with her notebook and pencil, it's really cute!

  6. Orange Juice says

    OK that's awesome! I had some idea to do something similar but I never got around to it and THIS is AWESOME!!!

    Found you on SITS & some fave blogs blogroll. :) (say that 3 times fast!)

    Now I know why they love you so much!


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