Pretend Play Restaurant with Real Food

Learning about ordering foods and how to pay

We enjoyed this activity while the pre-school was on summer break. If your kids don’t want to eat some lunch because they want to play more and hard to stop, this idea might help.

How we did

I named my imagination restaurant “Hop and Pop Cafe.” (As you may know, the Dr. Seuss book)

Then I made the menu with foods that we usually eat for lunch. I added some dessert too. (It was a vacation for kids!) I made the menu with prices on it so that we can play with play money. It might be a good practice to know how to use money and how to count. He had a toy cash register, so I set it up on our kitchen counter.

Pretend Play Restaurant with Real Food_Me
Menu Sample

I gave him 15 dollars (play money) to bring with him. If your kids are little and don’t know how to use money yet, I recommend you to give them play money with 1 or 5 dollar bills so that it is easier for kids to count at the end. I learned it because I gave my preschooler son 15 dollars play money with 10 and 5 dollars bills, and he got confused. I totally forgot that he didn’t know about money and subtraction yet.

Pretend Play Restaurant with Real Food_Menu and Ordering
Reading the menu for his lunch and choosing what he will order!

Then, play like you are the restaurant owner/chef/waiter, and your kid is your customer. My son really loved to pick what he wants to eat for lunch and felt like a grown-up.

Pretend Play Restaurant with Real Food_Eating and Paying
What he ordered. P&B Sandwich and apples! His milk order was on the house. He paid after he enjoyed the lunch.
Pretend Play Restaurant with Real Food_dessert
Eating his dessert!

The funny part for me was he acted like a grown-up while he was eating, and he ate all food and dessert!


What We Used

  • The name for the restaurant
  • The restaurant menu (I typed and printed out, but handwriting would be great and fun too!)
  • Play money (Toy money) with smaller bills (like 1 or 5 dollars bills)
  • Toy cash register (Optional)
  • Cooking lunch

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