I am happy to say that this activity can go MANY different ways for MANY different ages. You can teach kids anything from colors (apples are red, grapes are purple, etc), organization (milk go here, flour goes there...), meal planning (I want to make spaghetti - do I have what I need?) and even as far as cost analysis (How do I get the best value for my money? How can I stay on budget?). I studied many aspects of food and budgeting in college and actually still use a lot of my old assignments in real life. With all this in mind, let me share with you some fun ideas of things that I have done in the store with kids.
I have asked them to...
Find things that are a certain color
Find a specific food (cucumbers, apples, etc. - Mia is learning how to do this).
Count how many jars of peanut butter they see
Help me pick out the biggest (or smallest, prettiest, etc.) piece of food
If you have $1.00 and a donut costs $0.50, can you afford it? Will you have any money left over?
I have $10.00 and need to get these 4 things. Can you find the best price?
There are lots of other things that you can do, and as always, the questions you ask will depend on the age and understanding of the child. In our family, I want to have Mia involved in all sorts of things, from cooking, to planning, to shopping, and even storing food (canning, drying, freezing, etc.). I'm hoping that by the time she is 10, she can at least make Spaghetti all by herself (she may need help lifting the pot full of water and noodles), and by the time she's 14 (if not earlier) I want her to be able to plan a week long menu of dinners, and make a grocery list. When she's 16, I want her to understand how to find the best value at the grocery store. This kind of knowledge will help her a lot in college, as well as in her adult life. She will be able to use these skills as well as her budgeting skills to be able to save money and live well below her means.
Have any of you done something like this? At what age did you start? What activities or concepts with you focus on?