It’s time to get cooking but need a few (dozen) ingredients to make your masterpiece. And you’ve got to bring the kids. How to keep them busy at the grocery store when trips are frequent and carts loaded? We’re hoping these tips and tricks will work like a charm. Scroll down before your next shopping trip! 

Jomjakkapat Parrueng/Unsplash

1. Speed through your list with a supermarket race. 

Take your list and divide it up among the family members. If it’s just you and the kid(s)—and you think it’s safe— give them ten items on the list to find on their own and time them. If you’ve got enough to form teams, do it! Each team has the same amount or near amount of items and races to get them all and get to the check out line first. Parse the list on purpose so items are near each other and you just saved yourself at least 20 minutes, mama. Score! Even if your child is really young, give them an item or two to grab in the same aisle you are in. 

2. Play find and seek as you shop. 

Before you head to the store, create a checklist of things kids can easily spot in the grocery store—and a few tricky items—and hand it to the kids once you arrive. Include produce, people, and even scenarios. You can also adapt this DIY farmer’s market bingo set to your grocery store or this checklist of pantry essentials you’re likely to spot in the store.


3. Let the kids hatch a meal plan and then shop the ingredients. 

Let them pick a recipe and then draw or write up a list of the ingredients they will need. They can shop and later help prep, so double bonus! 

4. Tell them to wear a costume. 

Nobody says you need to wear sensible clothes to the grocery store! Bust out a cape, a crown, a ballgown or last year’s Halloween ensemble. Give them “control” over the situation want. n by allowing them to dress in whatever wild outfit they want.

photo: TheVirtualDenise via pixabay

5. Create a pretend play scenario! 

Prep for your mission at home (see above, re: costume) and lay out the plot on the way to the store. You are spies seeking the missing can of beans that no one knows was gone. Or you are master chefs preparing a meal for the Queen. Or maybe you just landed on Earth from another planet and are amazed at this magical place full of foodstuffs. 

6. Allow them to be part of the decision making by letting them pick out special items.

In addition to letting the kids cross goods off the list, allow them to pick out a few special things. They can be for school lunches, or for someone they love—i.e. Grandpa’s fave cookies, a treat for their best friend, a new dishtowel just for the kids to use. It doesn’t need to be sweet (but hey, we’re not above bribery) or expensive, and it could be something you need anyway. “We’re going to get this jam for your cousins when they visit!” might just be the well-timed, enthusiastic sway you need to avoid a meltdown.

7. Do a dry run. 

No, we are not suggesting you go Thanksgiving shopping and not buy anything. Try a dry run at the store here and there, when you are just grabbing one item or you don’t really need something that badly. When you are there, point out exciting things at the store like the beautiful produce or the yummy samples. Then, the next time you need to go you can invoke the power of memory, “We’re going to the store with the free cookie! Yay!”


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