Educator’s Idea File: Shopping Activity for Kids

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2nd Grade Shopping Activity:

Every year Othello Community Hospital is the host of 2nd Graders during National Hospital Week. They get to see things of interest in several departments throughout the hospital and end with Kay Hougan-Jones, CDM, CFPP, Director of Dietary.Here is her report:

I ask them who is responsible for keeping them healthy. The correct answer, of course, is their self! They must make the smart choices to stay healthy: Washing Hands, Exercising, Getting Enough Sleep, Brushing Teeth, and Eating Healthy Snacks for Fuel. At the front of the room I have two banquet tables set up like a country store with a variety of snacks, and even comic books and toys. I have a shopping basket and a toy cash register. I ask the class if they like to go grocery shopping. I ask if they are allowed to put whatever they want into the shopping cart. Of course not! We discuss which items they may be told to put back on the shelf and why (too expensive, too much sugar, junk food, not on the list, etc.). This discussion allows further description of healthy snacks and the importance of the family budget. I ask, "Who thinks they are a good shopper?" I have the selected shopper come to the front. I proceed to put on my grocery apron as I switch to the role of grocery owner. Then I tell him, "Luis, you must pick out a snack for every day after school….how many is that, Class?" Five is correct. I tell the class that they must remain quiet and not help the shopper. I provide the child a shopping basket and urge him to make his five selections. I will also try to persuade him to pick out wrong items by saying such things as, "All my candy is half price today! Did you read this comic book yet? Perhaps your little sister would like these sparkly tattoos?" Some well-taught youngsters will completely ignore me and continue their task of choosing only healthy items, but some are persuaded to pick out other not-so-healthy things. After making their choices, I ring them up. Then I announce to the class, "Luis is done shopping, and now he is coming home to show Mom what he bought. And all of you are Mom!" Next I proceed to tell them that if they think Mom is pleased with a selection, they should put their thumb up and say, "Good Job, Luis!" But….if they are not happy with the choice, they should put their hands on their hips and say firmly, "Go put that back!" In this manner, all the class gets to participate and they have fun. As I pull the items out, I will ask, "What do you think, Mom?" I explain briefly why it was or wasn't a good choice. At the end I have the entire class clap for the shopper before he sits down. I point out to the students that I had intentionally tried to mislead the shopper and get him to make unhealthy choices. I tell them it is important that they remember they are in charge of their decisions that affect their health and not to let others make unhealthy choices for them. I ask them if they were afraid of hospitals anymore after the tour. We review some of the jobs they saw at the hospital which they may like to do one day. As they leave, I ask them to promise to make healthy choices and to try a new vegetable or fruit that week. The whole exercise takes about twenty minutes. I use empty cartons for milk and yogurt. I will also put bags of chips, pop and even a diet item in the store. The variety you come up with is only limited by the resources you have on hand and your imagination. I have used this for several years now. Each year I keep an eye open for the latest snack fad and the opportunity to explain why it is or isn't a healthy choice. We have approximately 22 groups of 2nd graders come through over the course of two weeks. It takes a chunk of my time, but I look forward to it every year!

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