ESL Grocery Shopping Vocabulary: Activities & Games

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning how to shop at the grocery store is a big part of using English in everyday life. This lesson reviews some categories of grocery shopping vocabulary and offers activities and games for you to practice with your students.

At the Grocery Store

Do you teach students for whom English is a second language? Then you already know how important it is to help them develop vocabulary, especially vocabulary connected to everyday life.

Teaching students how to shop at grocery stores can help them become more independent. After all, people who know how to navigate grocery stores are better equipped to feed and take care of themselves! This lesson offers some common categories of grocery store vocabulary, along with suggestions for activities and games that can help your students start using the new words they have learned.

Grocery Shopping Vocabulary

When deciding on actual words to teach your ESL students, it can be helpful to think in terms of major categories. This will help you organize vocabulary in a way that makes it easier for students to remember. Some helpful categories of grocery store vocabulary include produce, proteins like fish or meat and non-food items.


Teaching your students to navigate a produce section means teaching them the English words for fruits and vegetables, like apples, grapes, celery and potatoes, to name a few. You can also teach students how different groupings of produce are described, as in a 'head' of lettuce or a 'bunch' of bananas. Finally, more advanced students can learn about weights and measures in produce. For example, they may need 'eight ounces' of mushrooms or 'a pound' of peaches for a recipe.

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