When my children were babies they loved to sit in the shopping cart and just marveling at the bright colors, shapes and smells at our local grocery store. That phase of wonderment can turn into a shopping nightmare as children age out of wanting to quietly gaze and absorb their surroundings. You can keep little kids and big ones from becoming frustrated bystanders in the produce aisle with these fun grocery store math activities.
Turn your weekly grocery store trip into a math scavenger hunt!
When you are up for snack rotation for preschool or soccer tell you child the total number of snacks and juice boxes that you need to buy for her group and let her figure out how many boxes of treats you will need for her team of 12. Two boxes of 10 each? One box of 16? Will there be any left over? How many? How about juice boxes?
Say you’re gong the healthy snack route. Discuss how many slices you get out of one apple or segments per orange. Next brainstorm how many slices a typical child that age might eat and o the math to determine how many you need to purchase.
If your child has a favorite meal or dessert give him his own personal shopping list of the ingredients you will need to make it. Write down the ideal size, weight or volume (a 5 pound bag of flour, 12 ounces of chicken, 6 ounces shredded cheese, pint of sour cream, etc.) and show them on the packages where the weight is indicated. Making the special dish for a larger group of people? Double the recipe and let your big kid do the math to determine how much you will need.
Our grocer’s deli counter allows you to order from a kiosk and then pick up your items, identified with a three digit order number, as you head for the checkout. Give your child the ticket and let them identify which package is yours at the end of the trip.
Marvel over the number and variety of spices available. Point out the difference between packages of spices, which weigh just a few ounces, and nearby bags of rice or flour. How many jars of garlic powder would it take to equal the weight of a 2-pound bag of rice or sugar? Older kids can even figure out what that bag of rice would then cost if the price per ounce was equal to the spice’s price.
What math games do you play to keep your children occupied while you shop?