Playing "Restaurant" is one of June's favorite pretend games. It's also a great way to get out of the usual lunch funk that tends to happen after days and days of the same routine.
Pretend Play- Restaurant
Here's how to play!
First, write up a menu. This doesn't have to look professional but you can do this on the computer if you want it to look real. I just folded a piece of cardstock paper and wrote with a highlighter.
For lunch, we typically do a protein, a dairy, and a grain. We also usually do a vegetable or fruit but she had carrot sticks as a snack before we played restaurant. Give them some options in each category, make each choice a healthy one so they don't end up with bacon, icecream, and Doritos as their lunch (I would totally pick that if it was an option). And include a dessert choice as well. I wanted her to have yogurt so I gave her two flavor options.
Set up the table with a tablecloth (in our case, napkins), plates, and cups. I used my daughter's tea party set. Prepare a pitcher of icewater and have it ready to go.
Lead her to her seat, pull the chair out for her, and call her ma'am when you talk to her. (If you have a boy, obviously do this but call him "sir"). "Welcome to Mom's Diner! Here's your menu...can I start you off with a cup of water?" Then pour them a little cup of water.
"May I take your order?" I had to read the choices to her since she can't read yet. She chose the ham, string cheese, and crackers.
"Right away ma'am!"
Assemble her choices on her plate and deliver them to her table. Keep an eye on her and periodically check to see how everything is and refill her cup.
Once she's done, offer a dessert menu. Bring her dessert in a cute little bowl and thank her for coming to Mom's Diner!
You can also expand this pretend play to include a bill at the end of service. Help her count out some pretend money to pay for lunch. This is a great way to get some basic math lessons mixed in with her pretend play.
Hope this makes lunch time a little more fun and educational! It's also great for picky eaters, something about it makes them more willing to eat foods they normally wouldn't.