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Shopping with Mama & Activity Sheet

Team GCM Member, Sara, is teaching her twin girls about money and math by having their own grocery store at home! This activity is simple and can become hilarious in no time! Once your at-home grocery store has closed up shop, use our Grocery List math activity sheet to keep the fun going!


  • Lay out no more than 5-10 pantry items. Pick pantry items (cans, pasta, and rice). Pick some of their favorite snacks as well and fruits. 
  • With sticky notes, label everything under $1.00. (Pro-tip: Make their favorite snacks cost more than staple dinner items like eggs, pasta, and rice)
  • Give them a small shopping bag and spare change (see below for age-specific guidelines)
  • Have them check out one item at a time, counting the coins to pay for the item, then counting how much money they have left as they continue their shopping. 
  • At the end (once they’ve used all their money), have them show you all their items picked and ask them if they bought you enough for “dinner.” (If only Nutella and candy were bought, challenge them to tell you if that will even feed your belly enough.) 

Age-Specific Tips: 

10 Months- 1 Year: Use Play money. The “transaction” portion of giving you money and putting an item in their bag is a great “cause and effect” exercise and an important building block before doing sequences (math skill)

2-3 Years: Work with play money and give them 5 play coins. Price all 7 items at one cent. Practice counting to 5 to buy their items in the store and see what they choose. Ask them “How much money do you have? What else can you buy? What do you need to put back?” 

4 Years: Challenge them with 10-20 pennies. Label all 7-10 items under 20 cents. Practice counting and challenge them to see what they can afford after each item checked out. 

5 Years: Introduce pennies in the first round of shopping, then Nickels (count by 5), then dimes (count by 10), then 1 quarter with pennies (to practice counting from 25 and up). Once they are comfortable with all 4 rounds, mix and match. This age is wonderful in seeing their little brains begin to count from the highest number and up,  “bargain shop” for dinner items instead of choosing candy and save the change for the next round of shopping to see if they can afford their favorite snack item. Don’t be afraid to act like a little kid and “demand snack and dinner” and see what they tell you! You might be surprised at how they echo your messaging whenever you’re at the store!

Click the image to download and share your kiddo’s creations with the hashtag #GCMatHomeTeam GCM Creator: Sara & Lauren