A trip to the supermarket with your kids is a great way to teach several important life lessons. Imparting savvy shopping skills upon your children is beneficial and worthwhile. It’s the ultimate field trip–using classroom skills in a practical and completely tangible setting.
A lesson in addition, subtraction, and calculating sales tax is a good way for your children to discover the value of learning math in school. Before you even leave for the grocery store explain to your children what a budget is and how you plan on staying within your means.
Teach your children about what foods cost less and why. You can also do math calculations regarding weights of fruits and vegetables when you buy fresh foods.
As you go through the store you can add up what the food costs and simultaneously subtract from your stated budget. As you are checking out make sure to explain why we pay sales tax and how to figure it.
By comparing nutrition labels between similar foods will also teach your children about why some foods may be healthier than others. If you have a choice between canned, fresh, or frozen foods show your kids why you buy the kind of food that you do.
You also want to point out the difference between deep fried foods versus their fresh counterparts by looking at labels. Fresh chicken breasts may have less fat content then frozen chicken that has already been fried. You can do some of this at home before you shop on the Nutrition Data website.
There are several lessons you can include about the environmental impact of our foods when you go to the supermarket. First is how the food gets there in the first place–it has to be grown, shipped to a warehouse, and then shipped again to the store. Shipping food everywhere takes a lot of gas in many diesel trucks to get to your table when you buy at a supermarket.
Another relevant environmental lesson revolves around the leftovers when you use the food. Is it better to have tin cans to recycle or plastic bags? Explain how recycling and composting helps the environment once you eat your food instead of putting it into a landfill. The EPA’s Recycle City website is a good place to start your search for information.
These educational opportunities are fantastic for kids who are naturally curious about the world around them. Applying theoretical learning from the classroom into real world situations is the key to retaining knowledge for your children. A supermarket holds a wealth of knowledge you can impart to your kids regarding real-world lessons about life.
Nutrition Data, “Nutrition facts, calories in food, labels, nutritional information and analysis”, nutritiondata.self.com.
Environmental Protection Agency, “Recycle City”, EPA.gov.