Tips for Shopping With Children *free printable*

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For many of us, leaving the children home while doing the shopping is not an option. Wandering around the store while mom shops while constantly being told “Don’t Touch That!”, “Put That Back!” and “No, You Can’t Buy That,” is boring for a child, but at the same time we just want to get what we need and get out.

Tips for Shopping With Children with FREE Printable

Tips for Shopping With Children

I know. I’ve been there many times. For children 4+, there is a way to make the shopping trip more interactive and fun for them, while teaching valuable skills to your children. For younger children, bring distractions like toys that are only for shopping trips or if they know some of their colours or shapes, play an I Spy game every aisle or two.

How to Make the Shopping Trip Fun and Educational for Ages 4+

Keep Reading for a Free Printable!

Have your children help you find what is on the list.


© Sonya Etchison |

For the younger crowd, stop in front of the spot in the aisle the food item is and then tell your child what you are looking for. If they have trouble seeing it, give visual clues (red label, big box etc.) Teach them to point it out and you will pick it up to save spills and breaks.

When your child can read to about age 9 you can let them read the list. If you write it in order that you usually walk through the store, it will make it easier. Alternatively you can point out what is in the aisle you are approaching and then let them read it. This age group can look through the whole aisle to find the item. Before starting, remind them to watch for other shoppers and be courteous. (e.g. look where you are going, don’t push through someone, wait if they are in the way or say excuse me.) If the item is within reach they can bring it back to you. If not, they are to point it out to you.

For ages 9+ you can make it more a challenge by encouraging them not only to find the right aisle and the items in the aisle, but have them look at the different choices and tell you which one they think is the best to get and why. This gives you the chance to explain how you make your choices. For example perhaps you pick one brand because it’s cheaper according to the price per item on the sign. Teach your child to use those to compare two products that are different sizes to see which one is really cheaper. They may learn that for some products, you don’t pick the cheapest one because you or the family only likes the one brand. You can also show them the label and how to compare sugar or sodium content between two items. This game works best with a smaller list or you can do it for every few items.

If you can, giving yourself a little more time to shop to run these games, will be worth it in the long run when you see your children smiling and learning and your stress level going down. Trust me.

Play I Spy

As you walk, playing I Spy will keep them looking around and not running in circles, climbing displays or otherwise annoying you and others around you. Don’t be too vague or the answer could be lots of things. Start a new one in each aisle, the answers are in that aisle only.


  • I spy an item we use everyday in the bathroom (Toilet Paper.)
  • I spy a box with a white cat on it (cat food)
  • I spy a type of crackers on sale
  • I spy cookies that cost $2.99

Shopping Bingo *FREE Printable*

This one requires some prep. You will need to use words so your child must be a fairly good reader.

Make a bingo sheet (or download my FREE printable Shopping Bingo sheet as a PDF) and fill it in with things that are likely to be seen while shopping. Print it out and hand it to your child with a marker. You might want to give them a clipboard as well. They must stay near you and watch out for people and items but otherwise, they are to find what is on the card and mark it off. If you want you can have them point out their finds to you first. If you do this, tell them that if what they found is a person, to not point but nod in their direction or something.


  • Stack of Apples
  • Sale Sign
  • Person with Cat Food in Their Cart
  • Another child around your child’s age
  • Her Favourite Cereal
  • Something specific to store you usually go to (e.g. sign with maple leaf if you go to Real Canadian Superstore or Vitamin Aisle (if they have a pharmacy in it)

Have Fun!

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