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How to entertain your children at the grocery store

I wanted to talk about how to entertain your children at the grocery store.  I always recommend that, if possible, avoid grocery shopping with your kids, however that is not always possible.

How to entertain your children at the grocery store!

In fact, for many of us shopping with our kids is our only option. I wanted to share with you some ideas for ways to make your experience positive for both you and your children.

I always look for inexpensive ways to reward my son as we shop.  It is always amazing to me what entertains him and what simple steps I can do to “include” him in the process.

How to entertain your children at the grocery store:

1.  Make a shopping list for your child.  I always make a special list for my son to carry at the store.  He always wants my list so if he has his own it works out better for us.  I include a few of his favorite items on the list and give him a pencil/crayon to mark of the items as we put them in the cart.

2.  When possible, I allow him to push the child size carts.  When we shop at stores that have small child size carts, I let him push them.  He can be a bit of a daredevil with the carts, so I am sure that this is not on busy times of the day.

3.  Find inexpensive rewards for your children.  I know this may sound crazy, but my son loves to see the lobsters at the grocery stores.  If I strategically plan my list to “end” by the lobsters, then I am assured that he is going to behave while we shop so he can see them.  Sometimes we are really lucky, and the meat department will get them out for him to see up close.

4.  Another huge reward for my son is visiting the “fish aquariums”.  If the store where we are shopping has live fish aquariums this is another built in incentive for him.  What is great is to find out what time your store “feeds” as the fish are very active.

5.  Pack a treat in your purse.  To avoid spending in the checkout isle I pack a small treat or reward in my purse.  This could be a sucker, small box of nerds or crackers and juice box.  As we are heading to the checkout, I pull out my treat so that I have the precious few minutes I need while checking out.  Remember if you don’t keep score at checkout, you will possibly not do as well as you hoped.

6.  We love the Meijer $.01 pony rides!  After we check out at Meijer, we are sure to “ride” the pony for a penny!

7.  Use your shopping trip as a learning experience.  I take time show him a variety of food in the store as an opportunity to teach him about new foods.  I like to show him fruits and vegetables that he may have “seen” on a kid’s program and relate that to him.  Or we talk about how we could plant that food in our garden.  It is a great way to teach while you shop.

8.  If we are shopping at Target, I let him buy a popcorn/drink from the Target Cafe.  It is the best $1.00 I spend while shopping!  We swing in and pick it up and he eats for the entire trip.

I hope some of these ideas help you while you are out shopping with your children.  If you try to make your experience fun for both of you them in the end I promise not only, will you enjoy shopping with your children, but you will have a more pleasant experience.

If you teach your children at a young age about coupon, use and the techniques of stockpiling you will raise frugal children I promise.  My son already knows about coupons, rock bottom pricing and stockpiling.

Happy Shopping!

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  1. The goodie in the bag saved for check out time is a must- there aren't many things more stressful than check out line melt downs in the grocery store…
    I love the child's shopping list idea- I'm going to have to try that with my helper- now that I have a very capable teenager to babysit, I have arrived at that great stage of parenting when I don't have to bring all of my kids to the store every time, lol! I do like to bring 1 or 2 of them to have some Mom time, and I think I'll incorporate this list idea!

  2. Sounds like your grocery stores has a lot of cool stuff for kiddies (lobsters, fish tanks, 'pony' rides). Ours have very little in the way of exciting. Actually Wegmans has a little train in the sky near the milk section and that's a big hit.

    But I can't believe I have never packed a little snack just for the checkout line. Love the idea of whipping out a lollipop so I can actually watch the cashier scan my coupons 🙂

  3. I can’t wait to put some of these ideas to good use. I have a 10 yr old and a 7 yr old and they get really bored at the stores. I am looking forward to back to school when I can do my runs by myself again.

  4. My kids (6 and 9) love to help with the coupons!!! I give them each a coupon so they can go find an item. I always double check they picked up the item for the best deal, but they almost -I did say almost 😉 – look forward to shopping with me now!!

    1. My son wants his “own” coupon binder…he is 5. I think about what financial help this will be to him in the future…if I had only known…

  5. My kids love to see the lobsters too, only my son has a speech delay and he calls them “monsters.” I always promise him that we can visit the monsters before we leave. I usually pass out lollipops in the checkout line. It gives me that precious few minutes to get myself sorted and since I’m usually wearing the baby I need all of my hands! I really should let me kids incorporate helping out with the coupons. Maybe I could get one of those little brag book style albums and put a few coupons in it for them of the foods I’ll be buying for them. oooo…now I am excited. Thanks!

  6. Everyone knows that applying coupons can assist you to save money on groceries, as well as though a great deal of of us do use coupons, you will discover exceptionally couple of of us that in reality use them efficiently sufficient to make an enormous distinction.

  7. We also utilize the “car” carts they have at Meijers, its 1$ and she sits in it the entire time (my almost 4 year old) and enjoys the trip! I love the little carts at Kroger but ours rarely has them, or hides them… :O Great advice!

  8. Thanks for the great tips. I really hate having to spend money at the cash register for candy. But I think taking the children with occasionally is a good idea, to teach them to be frugal. Thanks again!

  9. Thanks for the lobster idea I will have to try that. Or my daughter likes to get pizza at Big Y and if I shop backwards that could be her reward at the end of shopping. Thanks for the ideas;)

  10. I have 2 year old twins so they can tolerate only very short trips. We shop most often at Kroger and the produce mgr gives them bananas to snack on as we shop~it’s a big help and they love all the attention. They push their little tikes carts here at home and tell me they’re going to ‘Kogers!’

  11. When the kids were real young I would make sure I had something in my purse for the check and my husband would be astounded. He would say how do you always have something to eat in your purse, and my response would be because you have to be prepared.

    I have given a lists to my kids too and when I went with cash and new I was limited I would have my oldest write the price down and add as we went. Not only kept her busy but was educational too.

    I will admit I often try not to take the kids with me because it is harder to concentrate and shop. School starts soon so I won’t have to “sneak” out anymore. LOL.

  12. these are great ideas. I have a 19 month old son who currently enjoys removing his clothing, shoes and socks while I’m shopping…lol! He does really well when he gets a treat from the deli/bakery…but I think the check out treat would be a great surprise for him:)

  13. Our local Safeway gives a free cookie at the bakery counter if you ask. My 3 year old starts asking as soon as we walk in the store! I usually keep it ’till the end, but it doesn’t always work. If you go to the deli counter they’ll also give you a sample if you ask.
    At Target sometimes I’ll get a box of animal cookies. The $1.19 is worth the peace of mind and my savings are always more than that! 🙂

  14. Our Fred Meyer stores have a freddy care where the kiddos can go and play while Mommy shops and it is free.

  15. Great ideas. I’m a single mom so I have no choice but to shop with kids. I try to do the shopping when the older 4 kids are in school so then I only have 1 with me. I give him a shopping pad and pen so he can draw my pictures and keep him busy. I also reward him at the end of shopping by stopping by the lobster tank. He loves that! I generally stop by the deli to pick up a small cup of popcorn chicken and he is a happy camper. Small price to pay for a happy kiddo during shopping.

  16. I love this article but my daughter just turned 3… some of these items are hard. I try to keep her busy with books, a snack, her juice, etc… but it doesn’t last long. When possible, I try to make sure she is not present when I am couponing because it is too hard on both of us.

    Thank you for the tips, I will try to keep them in mind as my daughter grows.

  17. Walmarts give out a free cookie in the bakery also. We save it for the end and if they have been good, we get a cookie. Also letting them play on the phone/ipod whatever helps some too. And I always let them pick out something, a treat for when we get home, as long as it is reasonably priced, perhaps a package of drink boxes or cookies or chocolate milk.

    I almost need two carts cause the baby can reach half the items in the cart and last week puked a little when after she chewed the corner off a cardboard cracker box. Ugh. It is hard, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

  18. my just turned 5 year old loves shopping with me… she even asks me to wait til she gets out of school… i cant tell you how much i love that… one trick i always use now is try to crab the car with the wheel(there is only two with one wheel even though they have two seats and two without), second is we i normally have a free coupon or really cheap snank and last is she loves animal ballons so i let her play with it in the store only( yes she knows we are putting it back before check out)

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