31 days of unplugged play: may I take your order?

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Welcome to day four of 31 Days of Unplugged Play. Today’s unplugged play idea is to play restaurant.

May I take your order?

Supplies and materials

  • play food (felt, wood, etc. – you could even draw some food on paper to pretend with)
  • paper to write or draw a menu for your child’s restaurant
  • a small box or other object to act as a table (we used our laundry baskets)
  • optional but fun:  chef’s hat, apron, kitchen towel, small notepad for taking orders, pretend money, play silks for tablecloths, etc.

Soups on!  Or pizza, pasta, animal crackers, or whatever your children are going to serve up in their restaurant today as we pretend to be chefs, waiters, customers, and restaurant critics.

Create a menu (written to practice some handwriting for older kids or drawn for pre-writers), gather some pretend play props, and let dinner be served!

Need a little more direction or a different take on this idea?

  1. Consider cooking for real with your child and letting them plan a family meal.  Set the table with a pretty table cloth and some nice dishes, plan the menu together, do the shopping and the preparation, and get dressed up and enjoy a fun family evening plus some time in the kitchen together.
  2. What about a themed pretend play restaurant?  Is this a Monster Dinner?  A Cowboy Cafe?  Benny’s Breakfast Buffet?  A special dolly or dinosaur tea party?  What silly themed menus and pretend play can your child come up with, perhaps with a few gentle prompts from you?

Looking ahead

Be on the lookout for popsicle or craft sticks, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, other small cardboard boxes, and orphaned socks for future unplugged play ideas that are coming soon.

Just joining us? Find 31 Days of Unplugged Play here.

Bon appetit!

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    This idea brought back so many memories of playing this with my kiddos when they were younger! Their favourite game was playing Drive Thru. Where they had coffee (warmish water) and donuts (animal crackers) for sale for us to drive up and order. Thanks for the reminder!
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: Hard, Sweaty, Fun: Organize Your Day for YOUR Happiness!

  2. Love this idea! My kids are constantly asking for my order and making me cakes and cookies out of blocks (and my pyrex lids)…although they don’t often offer me anything healthy to eat…it is mainly the baked goods variety :-)
    Heather´s latest post: {31 Days} Intentional Living – Day 4

  3. Oh, sweet memories!! Didn’t we all looooooove ‘playing restaurant’ as a kid?!?!
    This was a fave of mine. My kids don’t do it nearly as much as I did – they go in spurts – usually moreso when we have extended family visiting, out pop the little notepads and aprons.
    Kerry @ Made For Real´s latest post: Day 4


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