Learning opportunities to support your child’s development can occur during your natural routines, even grocery shopping!! If you are on the run (perhaps to stock up on canned foods) and only have time for a brief read please see the quick tips below to try at your local grocer:
1. Allow your child to walk from the car into the grocery store, practice holding hands, looking both ways, and stepping on and off curbs.
2. Have your child help push the cart for part of the time.
3. Have your child help get specific items off the shelf and put into the cart. Label items as you place them in the cart.
4. Offer choices when possible e.g.: “Should we get apples or pears?”
5. Talk to your child about what’s on your list and describe the items.
If you somehow, someway, have a bit more time on your hands (a.k.a. your child is asleep) and would like to continue reading; below is a fun game to try at the grocery store, or any outing for that matter!
If you’re a parent, we know you are very deserving of a multi-tasking award. Bringing your child/children to the grocery store is not an easy task; but what if we added in some additional multi-tasking to make it fun AND improve their speech and language? Yes, I’ll take some extra hand sanitizer with a side of multitasking, please.
A game that is full of anticipation and fun while allowing your children to be active participants in this daily routine is “I see” or “I spy”. You can play this game with specific food items, colors, objects, or whatever your heart desires. Feel free to make this as simple or as challenging for whatever your child’s specific needs are. The rules are fairly straight forward- you and your child take turns “seeing” or “spying” objects and the other person guesses what the item is.
From a language standpoint, this game is working on many things at once- more multitasking? Why yes, of course. Turn-taking games provide children with opportunities to learn the back-and-forth rhythm of conversations and may also help them improve their turn-taking skills with other children. When guessing the item that is being spied, children are exposed to factual-based yes/no questions and answers. Typically, children are successful with preference-based yes/no questions (do you like the pizza?) before factual-based questions (does a cow live on a farm?). In addition, this game increases children’s receptive language by exposing them to new words (a Jackfruit may just become their new favorite grocery store find) and allows children to work on specific language skills when labeling objects.
If you’ve noticed that your child is having difficulty producing a certain sound, you can focus on items with that sound.
Do you have a child that is full of energy that you wish you could bottle up and save some for yourself for later? You can add some movement into this game by having them walk (or hop on one leg, skip, stomp, etc.) to the item.
With the recent empty shelves, you can dabble with some wh- questions; “Where are all of the canned beans?” “Where is the clorox?” “Toilet paper, where are you??”.
We hope you have fun spying many items whilst crossing even more items off your list! Happy multi-tasking to parents who are the real super heros!