By 2nd grade, the novelty of a trip to the grocery store has worn off for many kids. However, children this age generally aren’t old enough to stay home by themselves so you may find yourself taking them shopping. Fortunately, the experience can be fun and educational. A grocery store is full of food, but it’s also full of numbers, thus giving your child an opportunity to improve 2nd grade math with games. Here are four such activities that will make your next shopping trip an adventure for your child:
1. Most expensive, least expensive
2nd grade math doesn’t include much work with decimals yet, but it does teach kids about money. All over the grocery store, from the aisles to the produce department to the deli counter, prices of items are displayed. Challenge your child to pick something from your grocery list, then ask what are the most expensive and least expensive options. This easy game strengthens your child’s comparative number skills, offers an introductory lesson on decimals, and gets your child to think about quantity (“This box of Pop-Tarts costs more but comes with 16 instead.”) and early multiplication and division concepts (“There are twice as many Pop-Tarts in this box, but it doesn’t cost twice as much as the smaller box.”).
2. Coupon counting
Are you clipping and using coupons? Have your second-grader be responsible for this task the next time you go to the store. Direct him to not only find the item you have the coupon for but also keep track of how much you are saving with each discount. Most coupons save money in 5- or 10-cent increments, so this is a great way for your child to mentally add 5s and 10s and improve 2nd grade math.
3. Rounding and adding
Likely, you’ve rounded items on a grocery list to the nearest dollar to get an idea of how much you will pay when you get to the cash register. Next time at the store, let your child do this. 2nd grade math usually includes rounding to the nearest 100, and you can help reinforce this concept at the store (“This box of Pop-Tarts is $3.59; we can round that to $4.”). Ask your child to add every rounded number and keep a running total, and see how close he is to the final amount (before tax, of course) when you check out. There will be plenty of math if you are shopping with a full list, and addition becomes more challenging if you are at Costco or Sam’s Club.
4. Walking cash register
Similar to the previous game, your child will keep track of how much you are spending, but will do so to the exact amount. Bring a calculator or let her use your phone to add (and/or subtract if you are using coupons). The mere act of punching in numbers and seeing them add up will be beneficial to her math skills development.
What activities have you tried with your child at the grocery store to improve 2nd grade math?