Activity: The Market Maze
Best way to sell it to the kids: Tell them it's a grocery-store scavenger hunt! Shopping as an activity can be as long or as short as you want it to be. If you want to get out of the house and you've got time to kill, hit the stores. The kids will have fun, and you can work it to your advantage.
The plan: When it comes to grocery shopping, you need to get it done. And kids like it. The smaller ones enjoy sitting in those special seats in the shopping carts. Older kids like pushing the cart.
I realize it can be stressful for mom when they want to throw everything into the cart. To nip that in the bud, I tell my kids that I'm shopping from a list. I tell them what the items are. They can run ahead of me in the aisle to see if they can find them. To avoid meltdowns, I allow each kid to throw one item that's not on the list into the cart. Inevitably, they find something in the very first aisle and throw it in. Then, in the second aisle, they see something better and put the first thing back.
This process can go on, throughout the whole store. Yes, it stretches out the day and forces me to spend more time in the store, but it keeps them busy and happy. If they're desperate for more than one thing, I put it on next week's list. And I never spend more than an hour in any store with them. But it is a great way to spend time together '- and you can make it enjoyable. After all, there's always something you need from the store.
When it's warm, check out those great grocery stores that are more than grocery stores '- the ones that have cows or small petting zoos. On a cold or rainy day, go to an enclosed mall. When we do it, we walk, we eat, we wander. We make it an adventure.