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Shopping List

Category: Activities: Local | Age Group: 11-13


Making and following a shopping list


Piece of paper, pencil, food store flyer(s)


As children get older, it is important that they see the value in being a wise consumer. By comparison shopping and being aware of sales and discounts they will be able to see how careful planning can ensure that their money is spent wisely.

  • Plan a trip to the grocery store. Ask your child to help you plan the shopping list that you will follow when you go to the grocery store.
  • Get a piece of paper and a pencil and, sitting down with them, jointly list the things that you will need to purchase.
  • You could discuss with the child those things which are truly needed and those things which are simply “nice to get”—e.g. treats like popcorn. Thinking about items that are needed versus wanted can help them as they learn to set priorities in their spending decisions.
  • Using the food ads in a flyer from one or more local grocery stores, compare the prices and see if any of the items on your list are on sale. Look for any coupons that you could clip and take with you. Talk about items that you might buy in quantity if and when they are on sale—e.g. toilet paper, paper towel, dish detergent, etc. since they don’t go bad or have an expiry date.
  • If you can get flyers from more than one store, compare the items on sale at each. Decide if one store might be better to go to than another.
  • Decide which stores you will visit on your shopping trip.
  • With this task completed plan your trip to the store(s) and take your child.
  • While at the store have your child help you select the items. Talk about different brands and makes of different products—and why you might choose one brand over another. Is there a time you would spend more for a certain brand—if so, why?
  • You may want to talk about the importance of “Expiry Dates” and that some items go on sale when they are near their expiry date—and, if you buy them, you may want to make sure you can use them by that date.
  • Have your child help you at the cashier and, once home, have them examine the bill to see the total costs of the items that you purchased. Talk about whether you followed your plan and shopping list well—or did some other things end up in the cart—and, if so, why?
  • While at the store show your child how the displays are set up to encourage people to purchase certain items. Discuss with them how things are packaged and where they are placed on the shelves. Have them see that it is important to look carefully at items and not simply take the ones that are most prominently displayed.
  • Your child could examine the labels to see the nutritional value of the items and determine if the item contributes to a healthy living style. This can lead to discussions about healthy living and eating well.