Grocery Store Math for kids ages 2-6

Does bringing your kids to the grocery store feel like a chore?  Believe me, I get it.  It would be so much faster to get my shopping done alone than to bring along the crew and deal with four car seats, getting in and out of the van, and refereeing shopping cart squabbles.

But using up my precious “me” time by going to the grocery store is just not something I want to do.

Thankfully, my kids really like going to the grocery store. And today we made it special by throwing in some math fun.

math at the grocery store for kids ages 2-6 - the measured mom

 Because we’re focusing on the letter V for the sake of my Two, we did our grocery store math in the produce aisle. V is for vegetables!

grocery store math - the measured mom (1)

For this math lesson we headed to a higher-end grocery store that does a beautiful job of selling its produce.  They have a great variety of vegetables in lovely display.  (Our grocery store is close, and the price is right, but I cannot believe the broccoli they’re setting out these days.  I wouldn’t eat it, much less sell it.)

grocery store math - the measured mom (2)

Length: Which is longer, the cucumber or the carrot?

grocery store math - the measured mom (3)

Color: Find a vegetable the same color as the white asparagus.

grocery store math - the measured mom (5)

Size: What’s the largest vegetable  you can find? (I gave my son permission to hold up this eggplant – we were not handling all the produce. :))

grocery store math - the measured mom (6)

I told the kids to stand by the smallest vegetable they could find —  but I found the smallest!

grocery store math - the measured mom (4)

Weight / Estimation: Which feels heavier, the cauliflower or the lettuce?

grocery store math - the measured mom (7)


Measurement: We spent a lot of time weighing vegetables on the scale.  The concept of 16 ounces/pound is definitely too advanced for my kids, but they estimated the weight of the produce we weighed. (My Two always had the same guess: “Two! Because I’m two.” )  They had fun guessing which items weighed more.  The heaviest thing we could find was the cauliflower, at 2.5 lbs.

Extend the learning for older kids:  My oldest is just finishing kindergarten, but you could make the math more challenging depending on the age of your kids:

  • Give your child a shopping list with the number you need of each item. Have her make tally marks to indicate what you’ve put in your cart.
  •  Compare prices and determine which products cost more.
  • Figure out the unit price and determine what brand offers the best deal.

Keep the math lesson going at home: We were just grabbing some vegetables for a salad, but if you’ve got a big load of groceries you can learn a lot more at home.

Estimate which bag of groceries is heaviest.  Estimate how many items are in a bag.

Sort like items (sort by can or box, type of food, or even by beginning letter).  You can sort the items and have your child guess the sorting rule.

Graph how many items are in each group.

So do you ever throw some math fun into your grocery shopping?  For an active outdoor math game (with printable), check out An Outdoor Math Game for Preschoolers.

Follow me on Pinterest for more math ideas!

Follow The Measured Mom’s board Teaching Math on Pinterest.

© 2013 – 2014, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.


    • annageig says

      Yes – although sometimes I lack the energy and patience to do it! The kids have so much fun with it, I definitely need to do it more.

  1. says

    This is such a great practical way to teach math skills. My kids love when I let them come to the grocery with me, I don’t even think they would realize that I was doing a math lesson with them. Thanks for joining the After School Link up again.

    • annageig says

      Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love your sensory gardening post. My kids each have their own “plot” in my husband’s giant garden, but I had never thought of doing a sensory garden. Usually I’m just responsible for the indoor work (canning, freezing, preparing) – but maybe I should do this type of planting with them, too.

  2. Debbie @ says

    Great & practical ideas! Thanks for sharing at Titus 2 Tuesdays!

    • annageig says

      That sounds like something I will have to try in a few years, Ana. I visited your blog and am ashamed to say that sewing (beyond a button) is something I just can’t/don’t do. But you remind me that it’s important, and thankfully my mother is an extremely gifted seamstress who will be happy to teach my daughter – I will have to request some beginner lessons when we visit this summer.

  3. Keri says

    Great idea! I have done this with my oldest, but it was more of her keeping track of how much things cost on a piece of paper and letting me know how much we had spent. I never thought of doing it this way for my youngest though.
    Currently, he is just now learning basic Math. So far he has his numbers down, shapes & sizing. At the moment he is learning addition via: seatwork and some fun & free online learning games ( ), which he really seems to like. Anyways, Thanks for sharing! I really think he will also have fun with this idea too :)

  4. says

    What a great activity! I love incorporating learning into everyday life activities =)

    I featured you at TGIF this week! Thanks for linking up and sharing your creativity with all of us! Feel free to grab an I was featured button if you like.

    Hope to see you linked up again later today! Have a great weekend,
    Beth =)

    • annageig says

      The kids are definitely receptive to it — now if I can just find the patience when it’s the crazy family dinner hour and my four year old wants to watch every step of my meal prep! Right. at. my. elbow! With the crying toddler at my knee…


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