Pantry Shopping

The kids initiated a creative 'work' for their school several months ago, which has led to quite a bit of food showing up in unexpected places!

like here....

                                                                   and here....

Introducing the 'shopping game'. Like I said, this was NOT my idea at all. Before the money game ever made it's appearance, we had this work on our shelves. The first thing to happen was for at least two, if not three, of the kids to go find anything, from a baby doll stroller (top pick!) to a Disney Princess tea cart, and load it up with groceries. Not pretend groceries, mind you - real food! My pantry and fridge were open territory for them to buy whatever they wanted. The freezer was put off limits rather quickly, though - no thawing out meat allowed during this game!

I had found this great magnetic money from the Dollar Tree, which was initially used with the small slips of paper shown below and a magnetic cookie sheet. The point then was for the person using it, mainly Hoss at the time, to draw a slip of paper which had a random amount of money shown, and use the money to show the amount. He enjoyed it, but the grocery shopping became much more appealing.     

I made some very simple slips of paper - 'receipts'. These were used to write down what they were 'buying' and how much it would cost. I tried to keep the prices pretty much realistic, but occasionally I would have to work around what they had left in the bowl (as in, if something realistically would cost $3, but they are out of the $1 bills, I would ask for $5 instead). When I started out, I geared it toward Hoss and was surprised when Miss Priss wanted to join in - I should have expected that, though. 

In the beginning, Hoss had to write down what he was buying, then I would write down what I wanted him to 'pay' me, and he would find the correct amount and lay it beside or on top of the food. Miss Priss would only have to find the correct coins - I would write down what she was buying, how much it cost, and break it down for her so that she could learn the correct names for the coins. 

Now, thanks to the money game and practice with the shopping game, we have moved up to the level that Miss Priss can write what she is buying (good hand writing practice and a touch of easy spelling practice), I write how much it costs, and will FIRST tell her how much it is going to cost. Then, if she can figure out which coins to use to make the exact amount, we move on. If she can't quite figure out what coins she needs, I will tell her all of them at the same time, and she has to remember all quantities of each coin and lay them out correctly (instead of saying 3 dimes, then waiting until she finds them to tell her the next amount, I will say 5 dimes and 2 nickels and 8 pennies, for example).     

Hoss writes everything he is buying on his receipt, I tell him how much each 
thing is going to cost - or write all the amounts on his receipt quickly - and then he lays everything out and shows me when he is finished. I would like to move him up to adding it all up, telling me how much he needs total, and teach him to make change so he knows how to give a larger amount and how much he should get back. This is a time consuming game, however, so we can't play it as often as I'd like - the last time I got too distracted with this game when all the kids were awake (including Buddy Boy) my computer lost 7 buttons of the keyboard, all thanks to Buddy Boy's curiosity getting the best of him!

I took a few shots of Hoss and Miss Priss playing in tandem today, with Miss Priss using the magnet money, and Hoss using our money game tray for his money.

Like I said, it is a little time consuming. If you have little ones, I would suggest maybe using it as something good to do during nap time, or when there is more than one adult in the house to keep the others busy. That being said, it is a GREAT work for patience and concentration, due to the many different areas included - loading the groceries, waiting patiently for your turn if there are several players, writing out EVERYTHING, and finding the exact amount of money needed, and then they get to go put everything back up where it belongs!

I enjoy seeing them enjoy it, and look forward to being able to use it in real life one day, taking individual trips to the store with them, and letting them use what they have learned to make decisions.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our little game! I am interested to see if anyone else has ever done something similar to this (I'm sure someone has), and how you set this type of work up in your house.      

Look me up on facebook at No Greater Honors for sharing great ideas and funny things that happen in our day! 


  1. Shopping with real food sounds like fun for the kids! I'm sure mine would love a version of this since they love to take all of the spices out of out pull-out spice rack. Thanks for sharing with us on Share It Saturday!

    1. Hahahaha! I have caught mine a time or two doing that, and sometimes I try to gently discourage it, because I could just see a pile of cinnamon or pepper flying through the air and exploding all over the floor if something gets shaken the wrong way. And we do have one stroller that smells strongly of vanilla (they decided to buy vanilla extract that day!) I will say, though - sometimes the most bought items are the ones that they think they can sneak bites of while 'shopping'! :) after all - they are still kids!


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I would love to hear what you think of this post! I do pray it has been a blessing, and would be honored to hear your ideas and suggestions!

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