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This learning moment was a fun one for Maggie! Because I like to always get more than one subject in at a time, the first thing we spoke about was the different food groups. We thought back to what they had for lunch and realized I was successful in getting 4 out of the 5 food groups in. (I forgot the veggies!) The kids watched a YouTube video on the different food groups. (Lately we have really been liking the SciShow Kids channel for short and sweet educational videos.)

Since I knew that we were going grocery shopping this weekend, I put Maggie in charge of picking out what they would be eating for lunch next week. Like Snack Money Time, she could only plan to buy what she could afford, and this week I gave her a $15 budget. (We have spoken about sales tax before, but for the purpose of this activity, I did not have her keep sales tax in mind. At the end though, I did show her how sales tax was calculated and we added that in to find out what the real total would be.)

This was such a great real life learning moment because while she was scanning the advertisements, she was also looking for food items that could be eaten on more than 1 day in order to keep costs down. She also had to take into consideration the likes and dislikes of her siblings since she was planning their lunch meals too.

In order to make it a bit less daunting, I gave her the options from 3 stores that are near us. I wanted her to see the price differences between the 3. (She quickly realized why I choose to shop at one particular store over the others too!) “Mom! Blueberries are $1 more at Price Chopper than at Aldi!” “Mom! Why are cut up watermelons so much more expensive than a whole watermelon?” “Mom, this says I can buy 2 items and get 1 free, but it’s not showing me the price of the item. How is that fair?” All of these questions led to other mini learning moments. (You can find more about those moments here.)

While looking over the ads, Maggie cut out all of the items she thought she might want to have on the lunch menu. I suggested that she cut out all of the items she wanted without considering price at first, because I wanted to have the opportunity to talk about needs versus wants. To tie in our science lesson on the food groups, it was her goal to plan a balanced meal that included items from each group. Once cut out, she put the items in columns according to the store they were from.

To make sure she had enough fruit, Maggie wanted to know how much a pound was. We took this opportunity to use our food scale to give her a good idea of what a pound of fruit looks like. To her point, “a pound of fruit won’t feed us for too long, Mom!”

After sorting the products by store, she wrote each item down along with it’s price. She then practiced adding with decimals. She added the items together while making sure to keep place values lined up properly. (Prior to this learning moment, Maggie had not been exposed to the terms “tenths” and “hundredths”. This became another mini lesson. BTW, I LOVE unplanned mini lessons!)

Once Maggie added up all of her immediate wants, she quickly realized that she was over budget and had to look at each item carefully. It was then that she had to determine if it was a want versus a need. Maggie really had her heart set on getting apple cider and was pretty bummed to have to classify that as a want. What a great life lesson though… if you can’t afford it, you just can’t have it!

After getting extremely discouraged about being over her $15 budget, I asked her to take inventory of the items that we currently had in our fridge and pantry. She happily obliged and found that we already had the same type of cheese she had on her list. She was also able to make substitutions for the apples and blueberries on her list with frozen fruit we had in our freezer. Now it came time taking those items off of the list and practice subtracting with decimals.

After a ton of hard work and planning, Maggie was finally under her budget by $1.35. Boy, was she excited! She did ask me if I could buy the apple cider still. I assured her that if there was apple cider for less than $1.35 or if I was able to get the carrots cheaper than what she found, then I would take that into account and see what I could make happen.

Last but not least, Maggie tackled the meal planning portion one day at a time. With a print out of the food groups nearby, she created a menu for the week.

Maggie had so much fun being in charge of planning out next week’s lunches that she has asked to do it again. The funniest part… she asked me for a larger budget to work with!

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