Pretend Play Restaurant

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Here’s a follow-up activity for using fake food…or real food! Create a pretend restaurant!

This was one of my absolute favorite games as a kid – my mom would let us be the waiters/waitresses for a typical weeknight dinner at home, and I remember it as being the coolest because there was actual, real food involved. My mom knew how the simplest things could make a kid feel special and important.

So, Pen Elaine and I created a restaurant together, and she absolutely loved the power of being the waitress, ha! First order of business, she named her restaurant so that we could decorate a sign to be hung on the door for Daddy to see when he got home from work for dinner. She, naturally, named her restaurant “Elsa’s Café.” She colored the poster with crayons, and we had some extra food stickers from a “Melissa and Doug” create-a-placemat set, which seemed appropriate. Then, I pulled out a pretty little notebook to function as the menu. Based on what we were having for dinner, I drew pictures with the words for the items available for dinner, plus I drew three different glasses filled with each drink option (water, tea, or milk). So, when Pen Elaine took Daddy’s order, as the waitress, she could circle what he chose. (She re-used this menu several times over the following week to take drink orders at lunch or other dinners, but oftentimes, she wanted to talk folks into whatever drink she really wanted to circle…”I think you want milk to drink…” She was a little confused about the waitress’s role to simply take orders and not actually give them.) For some added flair, Pen Elaine wore an apron as the waitress. Having such a special job made Pen Elaine extra enthusiastic with helping set the table and get dinner on the table. This is a very fun, easy activity that my mom passed down that is a favorite!

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