We know that for children play is not just a way to spend time and have fun – it’s an important purpose in cognitive development. Research shows that children learn best when they are active and engaged, and it’s been found to improve a number of critical skills like language, creativity, problem-solving, math, social skills, emotional regulation, motivation for learning, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Whoa! But how can you help your little ones play in an engaging way that will aid in all this development?
We got you covered! We took inspiration from our friends The Bumble Nums and created a playset all about their favorite thing – food! With The Bumble Nums Restaurant Play Set, you’ll have all the items (or should we say ingredients?) you’ll need for engaging, interactive, and informative play.
First things first! Download and print out The Bumble Nums Restaurant Play Set. In this package you’ll find:
- A decorative restaurant banner
- Open & closed signs
- Welcome & ‘wait to be seated’ signs
- A worksheet to help facilitate your play
- Labels for different roles
- Order forms
- Play money
- Play food cutouts
- Play table setting cutouts
If you are able, you might like to laminate some items once they are printed and cut out to improve their wear and tear.
Once you have all your pieces you can set up your play station! We have a worksheet that will help decide certain parts of your restaurant play space. You can work through the questions on the worksheet and assign roles for each player.
You can decide together where the different aspects of the restaurant will be and put the play pieces in place.
You can place the signs at the front door of the pretend restaurant.
Have the table setting on the table, and the food in the back ready to be brought out to eat.
The menus and order forms are ready to go by the table.
You can decide how much money each customer gets and if they get any coupons! Remember to leave some of the play money with the restaurant so they can give change, too!
Now we are ready to play! There is so much that little ones can learn from creative and dramatic play like this.
- Planning skills in setting up the play restaurant and asking them to predict what might happen.
- Writing skills in making a menu or taking orders.
- Reading skills from reading the signs and menu.
- Math skills from adding up total costs, giving change, and adjusting for coupons.
- Problem solving skills when issues might arise, like food arriving cold or not what was ordered.
- Social and language skills as they act out their roles.
Some children may need support when engaging in this type of play and that is totally okay! We can help by verbalizing an appropriate thought process or help them go through the motions of play. The best thing an adult can do to support this is to engage with the kids by jumping in and playing along. You can add more ideas to play or give a child an opportunity to expand the play by making leading suggestions such as “Now we should….”
Afterwards you can further promote academic skills by having children narrate (either verbally or in writing) what happened in their play using sequencing words such as “first, then, next, and last”. Encourage them to answer questions and describe the items in play.
We hope you give The Bumble Nums Restaurant Play Set a try at home or in your classroom. The opportunities for learning through play are limitless – we just need to give support and guide children in a fun and engaging way – and with a printable play set like this we have a big head start to create a dramatic play space to explore and learn in!
We have a smaller scale restaurant pretend play for you if creating an entire dramatic play station is out of reach. Our Restaurant Pretend Play Order Forms are super fun and will encourage lots of fun and educational pretend play. They would also make a great addition to this whole printable package!
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