Taking your kids shopping can be easier and more fun than you think! In your mind you may picture children running around wild and picking just cookies and candy — but it doesn’t have to be that way!

The key to your shopping experience being a success is thinking ahead, talking with your children, and creating a memorable experience for them.

Taking kids to the grocery store:
• connects them with the foods they consume;
• creates a fun experience that can be extended into creating in the kitchen; and
• introduces the concept of understanding health and wellness.

When your children are very young, talking with them while you shop provides a great place to learn important words and colors. As your kids get older, you can make a game out of finding colorful foods for fun and health!

Here’s a great idea—Shop for the Rainbow—find every color and have conversations about different ways to eat them or make a meal with the colorful food.

Eating colorful foods helps our bodies get the nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and oils that we need for having a healthy mind, body and soul. Spinich, lettuce, avacados, peppers, zuccini, cucumbers, and green onions all are green and provide much needed natural ingredients that help us grow and maintain our health.

Starting in the vegetable and fruit section of the store is an easy way to get the game going quickly:
1. Start with the color red and look for all veggies or fruits that are red, pick three that you will eat! Did you find strawberries and tomatoes? If there are allergies to certain foods in your family, have a conversation regarding that and choose different ones.

2. After you find food in the color red, choose orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and maybe even pink!

3. Have your child arrange the choices in the grocery cart like a rainbow or however they would like.

Note: as your child(ren) get older, you will soon find them choosing the colorful foods and bringing them back to the basket with or without your assistance.

With the colorful food choices, you can talk about ideas on how you will grill, sauteé, or eat them fresh.

How can some of them be combined in a salad? How could they be arranged on a plate so other people in the family will notice the colors? How can certain foods that your child may not like the taste of but are good for them get put into a smoothie or a dish? Talking about what you are preparing from your food choices is just as important as the selection itself. It is through multi-sensory experiences that help us remember and make connections to what is important.

Once you’ve gone beyond the vegetables and fruit section, you can point out, or soon your children will point out, all the colors on packaging, milk products, bread and baked goods, drink products, and meat. Take into consideration what catches attention and at what level the items are placed. Primary colors on packaging, especially the color red is very attractive and appealing to most people. Make sure to read the labels so you aren’t just buying the packaging that looks good, you are also considering what products you purchase are good for you and your family.

In addition to choosing and planning the food and meals that you will be eating, grocery shopping provides a great opportunity to talk about what food and products cost. Talking about how you save and spend your money is very important to your childs health as well because as they grow up, they too will make sure to make money for the food they eat. Shopping is a wonderful way to create a budget and see how it gets spent.

What was your experience playing the Rainbow game? How have you enjoyed sharing grocery shopping with your children? Share in the comments below!