A grocery store is chock-full of words, numbers, colors, shapes, and nutrition. In other words, that place you already visit every week is an ideal learning environment for children of any age.

Don’t let the summer go by without engaging your kid’s intellect – the real world learning that you can practice during a shopping trip can foster a stronger understanding of the concepts youths have learned in the classroom while helping them connect the study to their day-to-day lives.

Not sure how to learn at the grocery store? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Babies and toddlers: They may not be reading or doing math yet, but they are learning about things around them. That’s why it’s so important to talk with babies and toddlers about what you’re doing, what they’re seeing and everything else that is happening around them. They will soak up all of the words they hear, and you’ll be setting the stage for formal schooling. A grocery story is a great place to do this since there is so much to see and discuss. Even if your child isn’t talking back yet, they’re definitely listening.
  • Young children: Children in elementary school need regular practice to cement what they’re learning in the classroom. Younger ages might identify colors of produce and packaging, practice finding letters and simple words in-store signage, and even practice math by counting produce as you bag it or keeping track of the number of items in your cart. Older elementary school students could practice sight-reading by reviewing the information found on their favorite food packages. They can even work on more advanced math by calculating the cost to purchase foods for a certain recipe while making allowances for doubling or tripling the dish.
  • Middle school ages: For middle school students who are delving deeper into  science, chemistry, and more advanced math, consider the baking aisle and a discussion of how leavening agents work. While purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables, can they identify how and where certain items grow? Reinforce language skills by asking them to spell things that they see and even practice math by calculating the total bill in their head
  • Teenagers: You might be tempted to leave high school-aged children at home while you shop, but consider the life lessons that they can learn hands-on during a shopping trip. It’s an ideal time to teach them how checking accounts differ from credit cards, how to live within their means and how to use debit cards.

Beyond personal finances, shopping is a good time to share how sales taxes work, where the funds go and how they benefit the community. Plus, kids are never too old to practice arithmetic. And if they’re studying a foreign language, can they translate what they’re seeing?

Bashas’ Family of Stores – the family-owned grocer that operates Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Dine supermarkets – is an Arizona-based company founded by brothers Ike and Eddie Bashas, Sr. With more than 100 grocery stores, it is one of the largest employers in the state and one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona. Since the company’s inception in 1932, Bashas’ has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves.