From Grocery Store to Kitchen

Include your children in everything from making choices in the grocery store to preparing dinner. Here are some simple tips on ways to include your child.


Is grocery shopping with kids on your list of fun things to do? Check out these tips from for ideas that can make grocery shopping with your children a fun and educational experience.

Plan Before you Go

  Talk about what to buy for healthy meals and snacks, then have kids make a list of what you need. For more information about making healthy meals at Try or some great main dishes even little ones will like. And the government has a great menu planning tool.

  Get everyone involved in checking store flyers for sales, or new and different healthy foods to try.

  Allow kids to pick a few items for school lunches and other meals.

At the Grocery Store
 - Let kids help. Give coupons to kids and ask them to find the foods. Or delegate part of the grocery shopping list and have kids locate the items. They can also help by crossing off items as you toss them in the cart. Stick to the list as much as possible to curb costs and set a good example. 
 - Make up math games. School-age kids can track grocery costs with a calculator. They can even guess how much they think you will spend in groceries before you start putting items in your buggy and then they can see how close they came to the final cost. In the produce section, ask kids to guess how much 6 apples might weigh, then weigh the fruit to see if they were close.
 - Play "I Spy." Ask kids to play detective, searching out certain items for you, such as Cereal with at least 4 grams of fiber and fewer than 8 grams of sugar per serving, pineapple canned in its own juice or whole-grain bread that costs $2.50 a loaf or less
 - Branch out. Find a new fruit or vegetable to try or have your child choose 3 different color apples and have a taste test at home.
 - Compare costs. Older children can compare costs by comparing smaller and larger packages of foods such as cereal and crackers to see what they think is the better value or compare the cost of national brands to store brand items for the best price.

AND when you get the food home,


Use these guidelines to plan fun and appropriate activities for children to help out in the kitchen.

Two-year-olds are learning to use the large muscles in their arms. They will enjoy activities such as:

  • scrubbing vegetables and fruits
  • wiping tables
  • dipping vegetables and fruits
  • tearing lettuce and salad greens
  • breaking bread for stuffing
  • snapping fresh beans


Three-year-olds are learning to use their hands. Try activities such as:

  • pouring liquids into a batter
  • mixing muffin batter
  • shaking a milk drink
  • spreading peanut butter on firm bread (This may be messy!)
  • kneading bread dough

Four- and five-year-olds are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers. Offer them experiences such as:

  • rolling bananas in cereal for a snack
  • juicing oranges, lemons, and limes
  • mashing soft fruits and vegetables
  • measuring dry and liquid ingredients
  • grinding cooked meat for a meat spread
  • beating eggs with an eggbeater

Six to eight year olds are ready to learn tasks such as:

  • cleaning surfaces before and after use.
  • gathering utensils and ingredients.
  • greasing or spraying baking pans.
  • light chopping.
  • peeling onions and garlic.
  • grating cheese.
  • opening cans.
  • kneading dough.
  • breaking eggs.
  • melting butter.
  • crushing crackers in a bag with a rolling pin.
  • washing dishes and putting away ingredients and utensils.

Nine to twelve year olds still need some adult supervision, but should be independent enough to do the following:

  • planning and preparing meals .
  • following a recipe.
  • reading and interpreting ingredient and food labels.
  • moderate chopping, dicing and cutting.
  • sautéing and pan frying.
  • steaming, broiling, boiling and baking.