After reading a book about preparing a meal or food, you and your child will create a grocery shopping list of ingredients to make the same or similar dish. By brainstorming and dictating a list, your child will see you model writing, may practice writing himself, and will become more aware of writing for meaningful purposes.
Learning Area(s): Reading and Writing; Physical Development
- Picture book/story about cooking (for example, Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert, Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle, or Five Little Monkeys Bake a Birthday Cake by Eileen Christelow)
- Optional: grocery store circular with pictures of foods
Together, read a picture book about baking or about making a meal. Explain to your child that together you will make a shopping list for the ingredients needed to make this food, for example, what to buy when making vegetable soup or pancakes. Consult your own recipe or the ingredients listed in the book.
Encourage your child to help you think of the needed ingredients (e.g., tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and potatoes for the soup, or flour, sugar, milk, and eggs for the pancakes), according to the story. Before writing an item on your shopping list, you can ask your child to listen to what sound the word begins with, for example, “Tomatoes, /t-t-t-/ tomatoes, what does that begin with?” Show your child how to write a list, and he can try to copy the list or create one of his own. Then head to the store and get ready to cook!
- Young children often love to help with cooking and baking projects. If the recipe in the book is not of interest, find another recipe that you and your child can cook together, including having him help you make a list of ingredients and shop for them before the cooking project.
- By adding pictures to the ingredients list, your child can actually participate in finding the needed items at the grocery store. You can also make ingredient cards by gluing a picture of the ingredient on an index card and labeling the name of the ingredient on the card. This allows the child to look for each ingredient by matching the index card ingredient to the actual store item.
- Helping to prepare a shopping list and then finding the items at the grocery store is a good way to keep your child engaged during errands and also encourages him to practice writing, letter identification, visual discrimination (comparing the look of different letters), and paying attention to environmental print (writing that he sees in the environment).