Asda's 'Happy Little Helpers' Game Makes It Easier For Parents Of Kids With Autism To Do The Weekly Shop

It is being rolled out in Asda this week - for free!

A mum who created a shopping list game for her son who has autism has inspired Asda to roll it out nationwide.

Jenny Barnett, from Middlesborough, who is mum to five-year-old Charlie, knew how difficult shopping can be for parents, so she created a fun list using symbols of groceries like fruit, vegetables and biscuits in July 2017.

Barnett, who is an Asda colleague, has now had her game ’Happy Little Helpers’ rolled out in more than 300 Asda stores.

“By creating the shopping list, it takes the pressure away and helps children concentrate on a task which in turn, reduces stress,” said Barnett.

“I know how hard it is at times to go shopping with your children. When he was younger, Charlie used to throw himself to the floor when he was in a big shop – it was clearly too noisy and too crowded for him.”

Jenny Barnett and her son Charlie.
Jenny Barnett and her son Charlie.

Children visiting the store can use the Velcro-backed symbols to help their parents shop, making it easier for them to ignore distractions and ensure an (hopefully) stress-free experience.

“I’m over the moon that the ‘Happy Little Helpers’ initiative is being introduced into more than 300 stores,” said Barnett.

“It’s such a nice feeling that I can walk into an Asda miles away from Middlesbrough and see another child benefitting from my idea – it’s going to help so many children which is great.”


Between the 11-17 September, “community champions” in Asda stores will be holding in-store awareness events featuring information boards for parents on the initiative as well as ‘Happy Little Helper’ packs.

How the ‘Happy Littler Helpers’ shopping list works:

The ‘Happy Little Helpers’ game is designed to get kids involved with the weekly shop, by encouraging them to find shopping list items and pop them in the trolley.

The shopping lists are designed using durable Foamex material and Velcro-backed counters.

There is also a handy clip so that customers can hang them from their trolley. Though the activity was originally designed for children with autism, the activity is available to all children.

Parents select items needed from the products available on the shopping list and add them to the blank white squares.

The children find the items in store and add them to the basket. Once the item has been added to the basket, the child gets a smiley face next to that product.

If the item isn’t available the parent puts in a cross. The ‘Star’ counter is for a product of the parent or child’s choice.

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