Life can be hectic, but you can still teach your toddler. Toddlers learn quickly and they learn easily. Taking time every day to reinforce lessons and teach your toddler in a fun manner is very important. So, in this fast paced and hectic world, it is sometimes necessary to do your teaching in unusual ways. Take advantage of everyday items and activities to help you teach your toddler. Use your time wisely and teach them while you are grocery shopping! This will help to keep them occupied and happy while you are searching the aisles of the store, but it will also allow them learn in a way that is fun. Here are several ways to take advantage of this time at the supermarket and teach your toddler new skills or reinforce skills they already know.
Letters and Numbers – The supermarket is full of letters and numbers. Everywhere you look they are posted on signs, on products and on shelves. This profusion of letters and numbers can be confusing. But, you can also use it as a teaching tool for your toddler. Name letters and numbers as much as you can. When you turn down a new aisle, show your toddler the signs you see and point out the letters. Show them prices and point out signs. As they get more advanced, have them show them to you! Speaking to your toddler about anything and everything yous ee is the best way to draw their attention to things and teach them.
Colors and Shapes – The sheer number of different colors and shapes in the supermarket is amazing. Show your toddler shapes as you see them. When you pick up a box of cereal to put in your buggy, show your toddler the rectangular shape and tell them it is a rectangle. When you choose apples in the produce aisle, tell them they are red apples. Or orange carrots or show them the color on packages and the shapes of vegetables and fruits. They will begin to recognize the colors and shapes and repeat them or point them out to you very fast.
Seek and Find – Plan ahead for your trip and make a seek and find paper for your toddler. Cut out pictures of items you will see in the supermarket and paste them to a piece of cardboard or construction paper. You can find the pictures in magazines or in the coupon sections of your newspaper. Make sure they are clear pictures and big enough for your toddler to see clearly. It is even better if they are items you need to buy. When you get to the supermarket, show your toddler the list and ask them to help you find the items on it. As you go down aisles, point at the pictures they should find in that aisle and ask them to look for them. When they see the items, clap and give them praise. Then, allow them to help you place the items in your buggy. This builds recognition skills for letters and shapes and colors. They will recognize these items even quicker the next time. Once they have mastered a list, make a new one. You can also make a seek and find list for specific colors or shapes instead of just products.
Alphabet Find – Write the letters of the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Make sure they are large and brightly colored. Ask your toddler to look for each letter and then help them cross it off once they find it. Praise them for correct recognition and labeling, do not be hard on them if they have problems with this. Show them different letters and ask if they recognize them and can point at the letter on their sheet of paper. This activity can be used in different ways as your toddler learns. Later, this can also be used for words.
Counting – Count everything out loud at the supermarket. Count the number of aisles. Count the number of vegetables or fruit that you put in a bag. Count the number of cans of corn that you place in the buggy. Encourage your toddler to count with you. Repetition is important. Even if you are counting to three over and over again, it is important. Allow your toddler to help place items in the buggy and count them with you. Encourage them to count out loud and tell you how many of something they see. If they are wrong, just correct without comment. Praise them effusively when they get anything right. At this point, toddlers want to please you and will work hard to do so.