Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

You can have all the fun of shopping in this simple gathering and pattern matching game. The children have to match the items on their shopping list to matching laminate cards and place them in their shopping bags. The element aids

  • language development by using verbal and visual stimuli to promote recognition of simple everyday objects.
  • pattern matching skills
  • reasoning skills
  • concentration

Equipment required

  • Background music
  • 16 shopping laminated shopping list cards
  • 64 shopping list item cards
  • 16 shopping bags
  • BlueTak

Link to resources

Training Videos

Talk One To One Intro-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Let’s Go Shopping-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


At least three weeks

How it works

Each child will have a shopping list containing four everyday items. The child and adult will wander around the room and collect the matching items on the cards, learning and saying the name of each item as they do so.

What to do in the class

In each bag, place one A4 shopping list card along with the four corresponding small cards with a small piece of bluetak on the back. Get the children (assisted by their carer) to put the four small cards up around the room, advise the parents to ensure that the four cards are spread around the room in order to give the ‘shopper’ a challenge. Get the child to swap their list with someone in the room so that they do not know where the item cards are.

Encourage the parents to help the child identify the matching card on the wall, learn the name if the item and place it in the bag. When all items have been found the parent and child should sit down to look at and discuss their shopping until everyone has found their items.

If your group is particularly quick at this exercise it can be repeated.

Adaptation for older/younger children

Not necessary

What to do in a nursery setting

Print around 20 flash cards of the same type (i.e 20 apples) for three different items. Ask the children to lay them all face up on the floor for you. Hold up an apple picture (A4 sized) and ask the children if they can all pick up a card with the same picture on it and hold it up. Repeat for the other items as many times as you like.


For those that finish the exercise and complete the shopping list, invite them to sit back in the centre of the room with their parents and talk about the items on the list. Do they like them, what are the words for them etc.

When you give out the shopping bags, make sure you also have one and put four pictures on the wall, that way if any of the parents are a bit slow at putting them up and all the others are finished, they always have someone to swap the shopping list with. Make sure parents swap their lists once the cards are up so that children don’t know where the objects they are finding are. If parents seem reluctant to start swapping, you can always stand in the middle of the room with a list and shout out “Is anyone ready to swap with me?”

Tell the parents that when they are finished to sit down and rematch the items against the card, discussing each item as they do so with their child, while the others are still searching for card. When they put the cards on the walls, tell them to stick one on each wall – north, south, east and west – so that they are spread out around the room.Also make sure that they don’t place them too high – they need to be at a small child’s eye height.

Ensure any backing music does not have too many vocals as these can be distraction. This activity is very easy to theme with different pictures. It’s good for parties and you can easily use pirate pictures or fairy ones. Supermarkets are selling smaller hessian bags for life for only a few pence which are ideal for this activity