Teaching 'recipes' to use on a trip to the supermarket

Here are a few "recipes" that show how the Home and School Institute uses a common community resource -- the grocery store. Says Dr. Dorothy Rich, president of the institute: "Don't worry about doing anything wrong and neither can your child. Be imaginative. Use your own ideas to make the activities even more enjoyable for your family." Making grocery lists

* For a pre-reader, cut the labels from four of five items you need to replace and glue these on a piece of cardboard. This is his "shopping list" -- he should look for these items in the store.

* Ask your child to take a poll on a food product the family is using. Help him take notes on why people like or dislike the product. Talk about the results at the dinner table.

* List the jobs that go into preparing a meal. Your list might look this: Planning the meal. Shopping for groceries. Preparing the food. Setting the table. Cleaning up afterward. Ask each family member to choose one job on the list. Estimate how long the job takes from start to finish (the total time it takes to do any job equals 100 percent). divide the list to see what part or percent of the total time each job takes. At the store

* Let your child call out the prices of items you place in the cart.

* Choose four or five product items to weigh -- onions, potatoes, peaches, apples, and so on. Help your child weigh each of the items separately. Which weighs the most? Which weighs the least?

* Help him choose a piece of fruit to take home and eat. Let him weigh it and estimate its cost, and then pay the cashier.

* Look at how items are placed on the shelves and in the display cases. Ask which kinds of items are together. Ask why he thinks these products are grouped in certain ways.

* If the store has a credit application, obtain one, and have your child fill it out -- just for practice. At home

* Starting with one shelf, talk about the best way to organize it. Which would be more helpful -- to organize cans by size? To put all the short ones together, all the vegetables together, all the boxes together? When you and your child have decided, do the work as a team.

* Save a week's worth of cereal boxes, soup cans, and laundry supplies. Together, look carefully at each container, reading the price aloud. Ask him to put all cans and containers that cost 50 cents or less in one pile, all those that cost from 51 cents to \$1 in another pile, and make a third pile of those costing more than \$1. Talk about the differences.

* Look at a food label together. Find the list of ingredients, and ask him to read them. Have him list the ingredients that do not sound like food -- sodium nitrite, ascorbic acid, etc. -- and talk about additives.Ask your child to count the food ingredients and then to count the nonfood ingredients on a label. After looking over several food products, ask your child to name the products that contain the most additives.

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