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This functional life skills activity is perfect for any special education environment. This pack includes activities aimed at teaching students practical life skills promoting independent living. Any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade student with autism will love this true image of grocery shopping, while they practice skills ranging from money counting and calculating discounts to using coupons and check writing skills. Try this differentiated way of teaching in your sped classroom today.

The Tools You Need to Teach Grocery Shopping Life Skills

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For effective independence in the community, students need to know how
to determine if they have enough money to make purchases at stores.  The primary shopping site for adults is the grocery store.  This requires that they understand how to find the prices in the store, how to
navigate sales flyers and potentially to use coupons effectively.

I have had a number of personal and professional experiences with individuals with developmental disabilities who are living or learning to live independently or semi-independently who get to the counter at the grocery store and don’t know that they don’t have enough money to make their purchases.  For some individuals, this results in a variety of problem behavior stemming from frustration at having to give something up, difficulty deciding what to put back, and just plain embarrassment.

We have all had it happen to us at one point or another, but it’s usually the exception rather than the rule.  It’s one thing to get to the counter once in a while and not have enough money.  It’s another if that is what happens every time you go to the store.

In addition, many of us, and our students, need to get the most of our money at the grocery store.  That means being able to understand how to use sales flyers and make economical decisions.  For instance, is it cheaper to buy brand A with a coupon or Brand B that doesn’t have a coupon?  If item A is on sale for buy one get one free (BOGO), is now a good time to stock up on it and buy 2 to take advantage of the sale?

So, I wanted to create a set of activities that were like real-life activities to practice.  It started with a sales flyer and coupon creation.  And then it kind of went out of control because I kept thinking of more skills that could be addressed with the materials and for students at different skill levels.  There are still so many things I can think to do with it, but I decided I finally had to finish it and post it.  If you have suggestions for a second volume or activities please let me know.  In the meantime, let me show what made it into this one.

To me, this is my favorite part of the whole set.  I’ve created a grocery store.  It uses a combination of real photos and clip art to create a produce stand, a dairy section, meat counter, bakery, dry goods and frozen food aisles.  There are prices for each item.  The grocery store can be put in page protectors in a binder and used like an easel, as I have in the above picture.  You could also put it in clear picture frames to allow them to stand up.  Or laminate the pages or put them in file folders.
There are 5 worksheets with pictures for students to find prices from the store.  They find single items with single regular prices for students who are just learning about prices.
There are 30 coupons for some of the items in the grocery store.  Using just the coupons, students can complete 120 task cards focused on determining prices and relevant information from the coupons.  In addition, task cards 1-6 are generic cards and could be used with local coupons for generalization and further practice.
In addition to the task cards, there is a page that can be put into a file folder.  You change out the coupon and the students answer questions about each coupon (e.g., expiration date).  This way the students can’t memorize the answers so the file folder can be used repeatedly and could also be used with local community coupons.
There is also a 3-page sales flyer with sales prices for some of the items in the store.  Some of the sale items and coupons overlap and others don’t.  There are 10 worksheets with 2 or 3 items that the students find the regular price from the store, find the sale price if it applies, and then any applicable coupons. Then they total the amount for that item and add up the totals of the items on the list.  They then can write a check and subtract it from a register.  On another worksheet with the same items, they circle the bills that could be used to give the clerk to pay for the items and then subtract from an amount giving to the clerk to determine change they would get back.  This helps them determine if they have enough money for the purchases.
Finally, using the store, the sales flyer, and the coupons, there are 15 pre-made shopping lists with 5 to 11 items on them.  The students determine the amount of each item based on the store, sales flyer and coupons and then add it up.  They can then write a check and subtract on a register from a balance you give them.  In addition to the pre-made shopping lists, there is a blank one so you can make your own from the materials in the pack or from your community.
And of course there are answer keys for everything.
This is 174 pages of grocery store goodness with the aim at increasing independence in the grocery store and community.  There are tons of things you can do as extension activities (that are provided as list with the product) to make sure that the skills students learn generalize to the real world.  This provides a variety of materials that can be used for teaching, for practice, and for independent work systems with the ability to differentiate across a wide variety of learners who are familiar with basic addition or learning to identify prices.
For more information, check out the preview in my TPT store!

Until next time,

3 thoughts on “The Tools You Need to Teach Grocery Shopping Life Skills”

  1. Thank you for enriching my students lives with the necessary tools needed to be independent and making my job easier using your awesome materials!!

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