A preschooler enjoys easy activities while grocery shopping with his father.

7 Ways to Entertain Kids at the Grocery Store 

This post was written by Dr. Sandra Linder and Anna Hall

All too often, keeping your preschooler happy and engaged in the grocery store can seem like a more daunting task than gathering all the items on your shopping list! How can you keep them entertained without handing over a smartphone or tablet?

Fortunately, the grocery store is one of the best places to help your child explore the world around them. Here are some easy ways you can keep little ones entertained during routine shopping trips (and bonus – they’ll be learning along the way, too!):

  • Make a List. Before you head to the store, ask your child to make her own shopping list using drawings and/or words. Once you get there, have her point out items on her list!
  • Play “I Spy.” Have your child name items that are the color you choose (“I-spy something red: tomatoes, cherries, apples, steak.”) or encourage him to find as many items as possible that start with a certain letter (“Carrots, Cabbage, Cereal, Chocolate, Coffee.”)
  • Ask Questions. Ask your child why he thinks items are arranged in a particular way in the store. (“Why do you think the milk and eggs are in the same section? Why do you think the meat and the packaged snacks aren’t together?”)
  • Go Hot and Cold. Ask your child how the temperature feels in the frozen food aisle compared to the cereal aisle, or why a carton of milk is colder than a box of granola bars.
  • Set a Timer. Set a timer on your phone for 1-2 minutes and ask your child to help you collect a certain amount of items from your list before the it runs out.
  • Count it Out. Ask your child to count the number of each type of food item in your cart (“How many apples are in our bag? How many bananas are in this bunch?) or point out numbers he sees on food packaging (brand names, recommended number of servings, etc.).
  • Help With Money. Have your child count coins at the checkout, or ask him to help you save money by looking for sale stickers or the least expensive brand of an item.  

With a few of these activities, your shopping trip will be less stressful for both you and your child!