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How To Teach Kids Maths At The Grocery Store?

Maths doesn't have to be all about worksheets and flashcards. You can use everyday activities to help your kids learn maths skills. For example, why not try teaching them maths at the grocery store? It's a fun and practical way to get them excited about numbers and problem-solving. Plus, they'll learn how to budget and make healthy choices. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Grocery Store Learning Activities For Kids

Activity #1: Making A List

Efficient shoppers know what they want before going into the store, which often means making a list. Your child participates in this activity depending on his age and reading ability. Here are some ideas based on your child's age.

Make A Picture List (Ages 2–4)

Write out your list, naming off the items as you go. Provide your child with the latest grocery circular, a pair of safety scissors, some glue and a piece of paper. Then, read off your list one item at a time, asking your child to find a picture of that item. Have him cut it out and glue it to his paper. Repeat with as many items on your list as you think he can handle. When he is finished, his pictures should match your written list.

Write The List (Ages 5–9)

Give your child a pencil and a piece of paper. Name what you need to buy at the store and ask him to write those items down. Younger children are more likely to use inventive spelling, which means you'll need to write your version of the list, but older children should do pretty well creating a legible grocery list.

Create The List From Recipes (Ages 10+)

To make a grocery list this way, you'll have already have done some meal planning for the week, with or without your child:

  1. Give your child copies of the recipes once you know what you'll be cooking.
  2. Ask him to look around the house to see what you have in stock and determine what you'll need to buy.
  3. Have him make a grocery list based on his findings.

Activity #2: Estimation

Estimation, too, can be done in many different ways. For example, based on the weight and price per pound, you can have your child estimate how much a bunch of bananas weighs or how much they will cost. Or your younger child can estimate how many items you have in the cart. There are also ways to bring estimation into the equation before you even leave your house.

Item Estimation (Ages 7–10)

Give your child a copy of your grocery list. Begin by having him write down an estimation of how much each item will cost. Then, allow him to take a pencil and his list into the store to write down the real cost of each item to see how close his estimate was.

Total Cost Estimation (Ages 10+)

Using a copy of your list, the grocery circular and any coupons you might be using, ask your child to estimate how much your entire shopping trip will cost. Then, when you're home and all the groceries are put away, provide a copy of the receipt so he can check to see how close he was.

Questions to ask for estimating: How close were your guesses? What items did you estimate better than others? Why do you think you were so close/so far from the correct answer?

Activity #3: Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

The grocery store scavenger hunt is one of my favourite learning activities because you can modify it for various ages and knowledge levels. Here are just a few ways to run your hunt.

Grocery Scavenger Hunt-Colours (Ages 2+)

Challenge your child to find several items that match the colours in a basic 8-pack of crayons (red, blue, yellow, green, orange, black, brown, purple). Older children can be challenged to find more unusual and hard-to-find colours like "magenta" or "vermillion."

Grocery Scavenger Hunt-Shapes (Ages 2+)

Though this type of hunt is geared more toward children working on kindergarten readiness skills, you can also use it with older children who are beginning to identify geometric shapes.

Grocery Scavenger Hunt-Food Groups (Ages 6+)

This type of hunt may require some pre-teaching to talk about the different food groups and build a healthy meal.

 Once your child has a good sense of what foods fall into each group, you can bring them to the store with you. It has a section for fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein and asks your child to find, write and draw four of each type of food.


What you'll need

Grocery store coupons and paper

What to do

  • Involve the family in making a shopping list. Mark checks or tallies next to each item to indicate the number needed. It helps children learn to collect data.
  • Involve the children in predicting how much you will need milk or juice for a week. You might decide to estimate by cups, explaining that 4 cups are equal to a quart and 4 quarts are equal to a gallon. Also, try estimating by litres. How does a litre compare to a gallon?
  • Choose coupons that match the items on the grocery list. Discuss how much money will be saved on various items by using coupons.

What you'll need

A grocery scale or your scale at home

What to do

  • Help your child examine the scale in the grocery store or the one you have at home. Explain that pounds are divided into smaller parts called ounces, and 16 ounces equal a pound.
  • Gather the product you are purchasing, and estimate the weight of each item before weighing it. If you need 1 pound of grapes, ask your child to place the first bunch of grapes on the weighing scale, and then estimate how many more or fewer grapes are needed to make exactly 1 pound.
  • Let your child hold an item in each hand and guess which item weighs more. Then use the scale to check.
  • Ask questions to encourage thinking about measurement and estimation. You might want to ask your child: How much do you think six apples will weigh? More than a pound, less than a pound, or equal to a pound? How much do the apples weigh? Do they weigh more or less than you estimated? Will six potatoes weigh more or less than the apples? How much do potatoes cost per pound? If they cost 10 cents per pound, what is the total cost?
  • Try weighing items using the metric system. How many grams does an apple weigh? How many kilograms does a sack of potatoes weigh? How does a kilogram compare to a pound?
  • Let your child experiment with the store scale by weighing different products.

What to do

  • Show your child the pictures of the shapes on this page (cone, cylinder, square boxes, and rectangular prism) before going to the store. It will help your child identify them when you get to the store.
  • Ask your child questions to generate interest in the shapes at the store. Which items are solid? Which are flat? 
  • Point out shapes and talk about their qualities and use in daily life. Look to see what shapes stack easily. Why do they? Try to find some cones. How many can you find? Look for stacks that look like a pyramid. Determine which solids take up a lot of space and which ones stack well. Discuss why space is important to the grocer and why the grocer cares about what stacks well. (More space allows for more products to be stored.)

What you'll need


What to do

  • Have your child estimate the total price of items in a shopping cart. An easy way to estimate totals is to assign an average price to each item. If you have ten items and the average price for each item is $2, the total price estimate would be about $20.
  • Using the estimated total, ask your child: If I have ten one-dollar bills, how many ones will I have to give the clerk? If I have a 20-dollar bill, how much change should I receive? If I get coins back, what coins will I get?
  • At the checkout counter, what is the actual cost? How does this compare to your estimate? When you pay for the items, will you get the change back?
  • Count the change with your child to make sure the change is correct.

What to do

  • After getting home from grocery shopping, have your child guess how many objects are in a bag. Ask: Is it full? Could it hold more? Could it tear if you put more in it? Are there more things in another bag of the same size? Why do some bags hold more or less than others?
  • Put several 1-pound items in a bag. Let your child pick it up. Estimate the weight and then count the items. Was your estimate close or not?
  • Estimate the weight of the bag of groceries. Does it weigh 5 pounds, 10 pounds, or more? How can you check your estimate? Now, compare one bag to another. Which is lighter or heavier? Why?

What you'll need

Paper, pencil, ruler, and computer

What to do

  • After getting home from grocery shopping, find one characteristic that is the same for some products. For example, some are boxes, and some are cans.
  • Put together all the items that have the same characteristic.
  • Find another way to group these items.
  • Continue sorting, finding as many different ways to group the items as you can.
  • Play "Guess My Rule." In this game, you sort the items and ask your child to guess your rule for sorting them. Then, reverse roles and let your child sort the items so that you can guess their rule.
  • Using paper, pencil, ruler, and computer, make a chart of how many items are in each category.

From Preschool To Teens, Here Are Some Ways You Can Incorporate Mathematics In Your Grocery Shopping Experience:


Use coupons to have young learners find items on the shelf. Of course, you can give them the general area or hints so you aren't stuck searching for items all day.

Shape Identification.

If you study shapes with your little ones, they can name all the shapes they see in the product isles. You can also ask them to find a cylinder shape or a cone-shaped item as you walk up and down the aisles.


After getting home from the grocery store, ask your child to group items together. For example, ask your child to put all the cylinders/cans together or place all the boxes in a row.

Let your child write down your grocery list as you tell them what your family needs from the store. While in the grocery store, your child can write down all the prices next to each item.

Addition Practice.

Have your child calculate the grocery item lists (manually or on a calculator) before getting to the cash register.


Tell your child what budget you have for your grocery list. Then, they subtract the actual amount of groceries from the budget amount to see how much money is left.


Select an item that is neatly arranged on the shelf. Next, have your child estimate how many of those items are on the shelf. Then, count the items to see how close they got to the correct answer.

Price Comparison.

Have your child compare the costs of different brand items. Older children should be calculating the cost and package size to compare which item will provide the best deal/value.


The fruit and vegetable section is perfect for calculating how much it costs to purchase items by weight.

At-Home Wrap-Up.

Kids at any age can help with putting away groceries. It helps children develop classifying and reasoning skills and examine data and information. It also gives them the responsibility of helping as a family member and practising being a servant.

Mathematics is part of everyday life. Although our kids may not need to know much about advanced calculus or the square root of pi, they need basic maths skills and can learn with real-life application.

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Grocery Store Maths Lesson Plans:

The Global Grocery List Internet Project

Students are given two weeks to make a trip to the grocery store. After collecting data from the store, students enter their prices into a classroom computer. Next, they create a spreadsheet with the data they collected. Finally, submitted spreadsheets are entered into a global database for food items. This lesson presents a very nice way of combining maths and computer skills.

A Visit To The Grocery Store

Using the Food Guide Pyramid, students write a menu, obtain needed recipes, make a grocery list, select appropriate coupons, and calculate the cost of each item - minus the amount of any coupons. Finally, they calculate the cost of the entire meal. This cross-curricular lesson teaches health, nutrition, and maths!

Coins To Bills!

Students practice using money at a grocery store. In this money lesson, students become familiar with grocery store ads and work in pairs to use these ads to select food items to purchase using money manipulatives. In addition, students practice being the customer and the salesperson.

Money Management: Grocery Shopping For A Family Profile

This outstanding lesson has students working together to plan a menu based on a specific family profile. The profile includes details about the family's makeup, financial resources, and dietary restrictions. Next, students shop for their fictional family learns about menu planning, waste management, and food groups. At the end of the project, students write in a journal about their experiences.


We've covered a few ways you can help your kids learn maths skills while grocery shopping in this article. Whether it's the number of items in each aisle or counting change at checkout, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and teach them something new! So try out some of these tips next time you're grocery shopping with your little ones and see how they react! They might be just as excited about maths as you are—or perhaps even more so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing food. Figuring outdistance, time and cost for travel. Understanding loans for cars, trucks, homes, schooling or other purposes. Understanding sports (being a player and team statistics)

Point out interesting signs and symbols, play eye spy, ask your child to find a picture, letter or number, write a shopping list together, and have your child cross off the items as you collect them. Going shopping helps kids learn that words and numbers are useful and meaningful.

Here are a lot of life skills for teens that you can work on when food shopping. As adults, food shopping is not an activity that we give a lot of thought to. But, it's something we know how to do. It's a life skill that is taught and learned.

Teaching mathematics methods include lecture, inductive, deductive, heuristic or discovery, analytic, synthetic, problem-solving, laboratory and project methods. Teachers may adopt any method according to the specific unit of the syllabus, available resources and number of students in a class.

Maths helps us have better problem-solving skills; we can think analytically and have better reasoning abilities. Analytical thinking means the ability to think critically. The reasoning is the ability to think logically. Therefore, analytical and reasoning skills are essential to help us solve problems.

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