Shopping Trip Number Hunt

Apr 11, 2012

A little while back, due to an over-enthusiastic run-in hug with Daddy (her fault, not his), my little 3 year old lost a tooth! *sob*
Thankfully she was less upset over it than I was and after receiving $5 from the Tooth Fairy I decided we'd turn this unfortunate event, into a fun Maths learning excursion.

I decided to help her learn her numbers, (one at a time) with a fun shopping trip to spend the $5. Due to her age we focused mainly on number recognition while also touching on money and very simple addition.

Ages: 2+
(See ideas at the bottom to Extend or Simplify to meet your child's needs)

game to help learn numbers, game using money, place value, addition game, shopping game
 As the focus of this trip was learning about the number 5, I gave her a $5 note (as opposed to, say 5, $1 coins) because it had the number 5 on it.

 We went to our local K-Mart as I knew that their price labels are very clear and easy to spot the numbers. Well, she found a 5 straight away (Therefore she could buy this, right?... nope) so we had the chance to talk about the preceding number and how that made it a different value, etc. This was practice recognising other numbers as well as learning about place value.

 It didn't take long for her to start spotting the 5's (on their own) all over the place

 But, what was she to buy? It was too hard to choose just 1 thing so this is where we brought the simple addition in. I exchanged her $5 note (we'd succeeded in learning to recognise the number 5 by now) for 5, $1 coins... allowing her the freedom to purchase more than one item.

This is where the simple addition came in. She finally decided on a $3 pack of markers and a $2 light-up pen. 3 and 2 together make 5! Using dollar coins for this allowed her to physically manipulate the coins to see how the addition worked and see exactly what she could buy.

Even months on from this activity, she will still inform me of any 5's she notices on price tags. They are everywhere! lol

Handy tips:

- You could use this for any number and play it while doing any kind of outing.

- Your child doesn't need to purchase anything. That just gave it more meaning and relevance for us, but you could always just play a game to see who could spot the most of a chosen number etc.

- Change the number each time you go out to learn all the numbers.

Repeat numerous times. Some children will need very few exposures to something before they have learnt and understood it, others will need the information reinforced many times before it's committed to memory. Each child is different so work to your child's abilities.

- To extend this activity, set your child different challenges with the money (eg, find me 2 items that add up to that amount etc) and start to focus more on addition and place value

- To simplify this activity, stick to one number and focus on helping your child to recognise it. Leave out any addition etc

Happy playing,
Debs :)

Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Love this idea! Just pinned it. Will try it with my little guy. :-)

  2. Great idea, Charlotte has just recieved $5 for Easter from her Grandma, we might have to hit the shops.

    1. Thanks Kylie. The key is finding a shop with larger, clear numbers. Much easier for them. Have fun! :)

  3. What a clever activity! I can't wait until we are at this stage and i can do something other than stop twin toddler tantrums in the shops!! I love the joy and wonder in your last pic!

    1. Thanks Jode. Perhaps have your twins see who can spot a number first or have them work together to spot the number before you do! (Less fighting between them that way lol).
      Yes, give a child a pen with a light on it and that's the results. haha

  4. very insightful post! glad that you were able to make the best out of it! what a valuable lesson to start teaching at a young age. thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday! {by the way, i think your money is so cool!}

    1. haha, thanks Andie. If they are willing and interested at any age then that's a good time to start :) (I think all money that isn't our money looks cool, lol.I wondered if by posting that pic people would notice we're from Australia)

  5. This is a fantastic learning opportunity! She is such a bright little girl to figure all of that out and pick such lovely items too. I have a child who is mentally handicapped {although a bit older} and I think doing this for her would also help her math skills. Stopping by from Tip Toe thru Tuesday!

    1. Thank you kindly, Kimberly. Your comment made me smile. This is a perfect activity to help with math skills.. and the more advanced the child, the bigger the number could be :) I hope you and your daughter have fun with it. Thanks for visiting. Debs :)

  6. Well this blog is reallyy useful for me keep it up Admin..... :D Pakistani Branded Dresses

  7. Realy nice blog. Here is the details of best college to study B.Sc Cardiac Care Technology Colleges in Bangalore. If you are looking for best colleges in Bangalore, please refer the below link. The link will help you to find best colleges in Bangalore.
    B.Sc Cardiac Care Technology Colleges In Bangalore

  8. GrueBleen – One of the best branding and marketing agency in Riyadh- Saudi Arabia. If you need the details, click the below link
    Branding Agency Riyadh
    Marketing Agency Riyadh


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.