This is a typical conversation that we can get among mothers: Before having my little girl, I used to be a shopaholic.

Me too!

Having children does not mean that you should stop or reduce your shopping routines. In fact, shopping is a brilliant method to spend quality time with your family.

However, research has shown that children have different temperaments and short attention span.

shopping with kids

Therefore, it is quite typical for them to get restless and cranky even before you can enter the third shop.

Put an end to your child’s boredom by bringing an E-bag during the shopping trip. This is definitely a low-cost method as most of the materials in the E-bag can be easily found at home.

1. Be mummy’s Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)
Include a magnifying glass and a notebook in the E-bag, with your shopping list attached. Encourage your child to look out for those items in the list and use the magnifying glass to look at the price, texture, material and color.

Note it down on the notebook and make a comparison between the items. Suggest your child that this is a secret mission and he/she have to do it very discretely. Your child needs to collect at least twenty artifacts before he/she can show you the list for discussion.

magnifying glass activity with kids

2. Be mummy’s puppeteer
Include various shapes of balloons, pipe cleaners, socks, markers, fragment cloths, buttons, and blue tacks in the E-bag. These materials are very open-ended. Suggest to your child to create a special puppet so that he/she can have a special outdoor theater performance with you after the shopping trip.

Remind your child to work discretely and that you want to be surprised and only see the puppets during the performance itself. If your child is clueless on how to start, make a hand/finger puppet or balloon sculpture for him/her.

Use the marker to draw some funny facial features on the balloon. Slot your finger into the balloon like how a regular finger puppet is used. “This belongs to mummy. I want to call it Alvin! Can you make yours more creative than mine?”

3. Be mummy’s sculptor
Include all colors of origami papers and play dough in the E-bag. Let your child use their creativity and imagination by creating anything that interests them.

To keep them occupied, you can challenge your child to invent a personal pet so that he/she can bring it around for the shopping trip. Remind your child that if the pet is well-behaved, you can consider bringing ‘it’ for a walk by the park after the shopping trip.

4. Be mummy’s stylist
Include colorful pipe cleaners, straws, paper clips, yarns, crepe papers and apple wrappers in the E-bag. Suggest your child to create jewelries and accessories for you.

These materials are totally open-ended and your child would not get sick in experimenting and mix-matching with the different objects. Remind your child on how much you love presents and surprises; therefore he/she would have to work on it quietly.

5. Be mummy’s iPhone application: Pop the balloon!
All you need to include in the E-bag is just one type of material: balloons. You can simply find a billion and one ways to squash the balloon. To increase the level of difficulty, you can also tie the balloon to your child’s ankle or wrist with a rubber band.

One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you are not shopping at places with shelves of fragile items.

6. Be mummy’s fortune teller
Print/cut out pictures from a selected theme such as transportation, occupation and others. Paste these pictures on a plain piece of paper and keep the other side blank. Laminate the paper so that it can last longer.

Also remember to cut out the sharp edges so that it would not hurt your child.

Refer to these picture cards as ‘magic cards’ to your child. Include these magic cards, notebook, pencils, color pencils and other basic stationery in the E-bag. Give them some suggestions on how to play with the magic cards.

Firstly, a game of Pictionary could be played. Secondly, your child can refer to the magic card and create sentences or form short stories. Thirdly, you could make duplicate sets of the magic cards for a memory game where your child can play individually or with their siblings. Next, you can also come out with another version without color and use it as coloring cards.

If you realize it, all the mentioned items are very handy and portable, making it even easier to be carried around in any shopping trip. A small yet useful E-bag, indeed!

The everyday items are not only fun to play with, it allows your child to practice and improve on their current skills at the same time! Your children will be occupied at once and you can now shop till you drop! Enjoy your reunion with the shopping world.

Article by Izzah