Organizing Groceries in Bags

By Courtney Tabor-... on Oct 12, 2016

One of the key components of independent living as an adult is grocery shopping. Bagging groceries at the end of a shopping trip can be especially challenging for individuals with vision impairments. Specific instruction in this activity can help students prepare to do this activity as adults in their own daily lives. It is also a valuable transferrable skill for employment. Although this activity centers specifically around bagging grocery items, it also helps students to learn skills such as sorting, organization, planning, concept development (i.e. what does a box of spaghetti look like?), and problem solving.


  • Multiple grocery bags—paper, plastic, or cloth
  • Various types of grocery items—canned goods, produce, snacks, beverages, etc.


  1. Place all grocery items on a table or other flat surface. It may be helpful to organize items so that canned goods are together, produce is together, etc.
  2. Allow student to explore each of the items for identification. Allow student to get a sense of the weights and sizes of the items.
  3. Ask student to place items into bags so that bags could be reliably lifted and transferred without damage of any items.
  4. Provide guidance to student on sorting items, which items can or cannot be packed together, which items should go on the bottom and which on top, etc.
  5. Talk about which items might need to be kept cold and why.


  • Increase or decrease number of items to bag based on a student’s needs.
  • For students who could benefit from an additional challenge, do not organize grocery items before the activity. Rather, place items in a box or cart to mimic a shopping cart. Encourage student to organize the items on the table in a way that would enable them to be packed easily. This is an important additional consideration when unloading a cart onto the conveyer belt in a grocery store checkout line.
  • To do this activity in the community for more real-world application, try talking with a local grocery store who may be willing to let you practice at a checkout counter during a time of day that is not busy, or when some registers are closed or not in use.

Collage of bagging groceries

Read more about: Transition

Total Life Learning by Wendy Bridgeo,‎ Beth Caruso,‎ & Mary Zatta

Cover of Total Life Learning

The Total Life Learning curriculum was developed for students ages 3 to 22 who are blind, visually impaired including those students who have additional disabilities or are deafblind. The focus is on the development of life and career goals that enable student to maximize independence, self-determination, employability, and participation in the community.