A popular independent writing activity in Room 1 is ‘The Shopping List’, so popular in fact, the kids ask during choosing time if they can write one (instead of playing families in the Home Corner or designing a gigantic road out of the big wooden blocks for their cars to zoom along).
There are several reasons why I love this activity:
- It has real life applications.
- It’s easy to feel like a successful writer.
- There are lots of possibilities for extension.
- It really is independent.
- And it all belongs in a nifty teeny-tiny shopping basket.
Now - why the kids like it:
- They get to take their list home and tell Mum and Dad what to buy.
- They can talk to each other about their food preferences. (Who doesn’t like talking about food?)
- They feel successful creating something that they have seen adults writing.
A shopping list in progress.
‘The Shopping List’ consists of around 30 laminated cards and photocopied shopping list outlines from Sparklebox (pegged together with a large clip), all contained in that nifty teeny-tiny shopping basket.
I started by cutting out a variety of items out of the junk mailer from the supermarket. I tried to include; meats, fruit and vegetables, snack foods, dairy products, and body-care and cleaning products. Once I had enough, I cut squares of paper, making sure I could fit them easily in the laminating pouch (squares measuring 9cmX9cm were perfect). After gluing the pictures onto the squares I ruled lines across the bottom of the card and wrote the labels in my best handwriting.
You could do this on the computer, but I wanted to make sure that my writing used a ‘looped k’ and no flicks, as many fonts don’t have this I did it by hand. I also think to it is nice for the children to copy something where they can see that it is handwritten and the pictures are from real life.
To extend this activity:
- Ask the children to list foods for dinner, or lunch, or school.
- Get them to find and record certain groups of foods.
- Ask them to write foods to buy for special occasions, like a birthday party or a bbq.
- Instead of foods, use pictures of toys, and the kids can write a wish list (for themselves or gifts for someone else).
Now that they can write a shopping list, how can we get them to do the shopping for us?