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A24 - Shopping lists

10–30 minutes (flexible)

Age recommendation

Key words
writing, naming, lexicon acquisition

Languages of the original source
German. But this activity can be used in any language.

Materials needed

Aim of the activity

The aim of this activity is to integrate and support the development of writing skills in the family languages with writing exercises within everyday life.

Preparation for the activity

None – the activities create inspiration in the everyday activities in the family languages.


  • Write shopping lists with your children in the family languages. If your children are able to write the list, they can write while the parents look
    in the fridge and cupboards, 
    and tell the children what is needed.
    If the children are not able to write autonomously, 
    both children and parents can do the exercise together – find out what to buy and name
    and note it on the shopping list. It is important not to hurry to 
    avoid putting pressure on the child and discouraging them from writing.
  • Then children and parents can go shopping together and find and name the products on the list.
Tip | The activity also works well with other small writing tasks like entries in the
family’s diary, memory notes and recipes. Chat, writing emails, SMS messages and postcards to family and friends, who are speakers of the family languages. The children can write, with help and support from the parents. They can offer to pronounce and spell words and provide explanations for different letters and special characteristics of the family language.

Significant benefit of the activity

The significant benefit of this activity is the support of writing skills in the family languages. Typically writing abilities in the family languages need more specialised attention to be successfully acquired than the oral language skills. Writing is not used to the same extent as part of everyday communication as is oral communication. A second benefit of this activity is the connection to everyday tasks which parents and children can do together. Integrated in everyday activities the language learning process does not demand much extra effort or preparation for the parents or children.

Source of the activity

Resource and inspiration:
Amt für multikulturelle Angelegenheiten, Frankfurt am Main (Hrsg.) (2012): Mehrsprachigkeit. Aktionen und Projekte in der Schule. Zusammengestellt von Nicola Küpelikilinc und Meryem Taşan,