I think all parents would agree that we want to teach our children valuable lessons. We want to teach them about responsible spending. We want to teach them about maintaining good health with smart dietary habits and staying physically fit. We want to spend time with them. We want to teach them to be kind to the environment. We want to teach them about life.
We’ve been doing an activity as a family that, in my opinion, incorporates all these things in one. It’s not glamorous, but it gets the job done:
A family field trip to the grocery store by foot/bike.
Yep, that’s it. Don’t laugh! In one simple hour and a half of walking to the grocery store and back with our children, we are able to reinforce many valuable habits and lessons that we want to instill in our kiddos.
- By walking/biking instead of driving, we’re not spending money on gas, we’re emitting less fumes into the air, and we’re promoting an active lifestyle… get your exercise in while running an errand!
- While at the grocery store, we do lessons on produce–identifying all the different types of vegetables and fruits, choosing healthy options, looking at ingredients, discussing why we shouldn’t choose certain options, etc.
- All at the same time, we’re able to get in a math lesson. “If the bananas cost $0.48 per pound, how much will it cost us to buy two pounds?” “If our bill comes to $18.47 and we pay with a $20 bill, how much money will we get back?” You could be at the grocery store for hours doing real-world math problems.
- And finally, putting our groceries in reusable bags teaches them to not be wasteful and be friendly to the environment, as well.
In our first time at the grocery store identifying root vegetables and doing math problems, I caught quite a few people looking at us and smiling. Not really sure what they were thinking. But as we were leaving, and DTG was unlocking the boys’ bikes from the bike rack, there was a man in a car by the curb waiting for his wife. He lowered the window and said to me, “You have a really beautiful family.” I thanked him and a minute later his wife came out and looked at us with such adoration. She said, “What a wonderful family outing,” with a big smile on her face. I said, “Yeah, thank you! It’s fun!”
We don’t do anything so that others notice it, but it certainly felt good to do something different and others to go out of their way to praise you for it. Since then we’ve done this several more times and it’s always just as fun and educational than the first.
I know many parents go to the grocery store with their kids all the time. Are you using it as a learning opportunity? Can you all get some exercise in by foregoing the car while you’re at it? You’ll be surprised at how RIGHT it feels.