Learning through play: Restaurant theme.

My daughters are currently ages 2 and 6. My oldest is currently on her summer break before starting First Grade. Since we homeschool in or household it is hard to separate school from home life. I’ve been trying to keep both my kids learning and avoiding my oldest from the dreaded summer slide. Although since we do homeschool I wanted my daughter to still feel as if she had a summer break all while learning. Therefore we’ve adapted a play based approach.

My oldest often doesn’t feel like writing and reading. When I state it is time for writing and or to sit down and read a book she often gets frustrated and tells me it isn’t school time. Rather than skipping anything educational at all I’ve been asking her what she wants to play and then incorporating reading and writing within the activity her and her sister chooses. My daughters enjoy playing restaurant. We made our own menus and restaurant signs which gave my oldest an opportunity to practice her writing and to express her creative side at the same time. You could also write down customer orders as you play for more writing practice.

Besides writing and reading it is a great opportunity to talk about the concept of money and learn simple counting and math skills when the restaurant owner collects the money from the customer. Depending on the variety of play food you have on hand you can also incorporate color learning for younger children such as my two year old. I often ask her what color is the broccoli, banana, etc.

My oldest daughters menu.
My oldest daughters restaurant sign.
Open sign. I tried to get in as much reading as possible. As I asked my daughter to read each sign I made to me.
My restaurant sign.
I didn’t get all fancy with it. I just simply wrote my menu down on line paper by hand. I left out pictures because I wanted her to focus on reading and not rely on pictures for clues.
I added more menu items to the back upon her request because she wasn’t satisfied with the few options I had given her.
My oldest daughters fries made out of construction paper she made herself.
When finished with our menus and signs my daughter hung them on the dollhouse side of our play kitchen.
My youngest daughter was our first customer.

It is important to remember that learning doesn’t have to be perfectly structured and the best way to learn is through fun. Just enjoy the process. The whole point is for it to be fun and enjoyable that way the child is more willing to learn and their interest is better held. If your child doesn’t enjoy playing restaurant that is ok go with an activity that they do enjoy instead. The possibilities are endless.

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