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Please Wait to Be Seated


chart paper
three small round tables
nine chairs
three small round tablecloths
real silverware (one fork and one spoon at each place setting)
paper or cloth napkins, paper plates, and paper or plastic cups
cash register
pretend money
cardstock paper
three clipboards and three pencils
child-sized aprons


1. Create a real restaurant in your own classroom!
2. Ask the children to talk about places they have eaten at. Ask specific
questions such as, “Did you sit down and have a waiter take your order?” and
“Did you go to a salad bar to get your food?”
3. Ask the children which type of restaurant they liked best. Keep track of their
answers on a chart. Explain that they will be making their own in the
4. Decide what kind of food to serve at the restaurant. Since you will actually be
serving real food, steer the children in the direction of something that can be
prepared in your classroom. For example, they could make pizza and salad
for a pizza restaurant.
5. Choose items to feature on the menu, keeping the choices down to one or
two items.
6. Have the children use cardstock paper and markers to create menus. Make at
least one menu for each table. If time permits, make one menu for each seat.
7. Choose a name for the restaurant and make a sign to post on the door.
8. Choose spot to set up the restaurant. Place the small round tables and chairs
in the area. Put a tablecloth and a vase with plastic flowers on each table.
9. Ask the children to set each place with a plate, spoon, fork, and cup.
10. Place the small rectangular table with a cash register on it at the entrance.
Put pretend money in the cash register. Place the menus on the table.
11. Ask the children to use cardstock paper and markers to make invitations
asking their parents to visit their new restaurant. Since you will actually be
cooking or preparing food, choose a special day for the restaurant to be
12. On the day the restaurant will open, spend the morning cooking whatever
type of food the children chose. Make something to drink, too!
13. As people begin to arrive at the restaurant, let the children take turns seating
them. Make sure the children give each patron a menu.
14. The children can don the aprons and pretend to be wait staff. They can use
clipboards and pencils to “write down” what the patrons want.
15. As orders arrive, ladle out the food and help the children take it to the tables.
16. Provide each patron with pretend money so they can pay for their meal as
they leave. Encourage the children to take turns working at the cash register.
17. As the patrons are done eating, have the children take turns clearing the
tables. Put out a basin or tub to place the dirty dishes and throw away all
disposable items immediately so they will not be accidentally used again.
18. Continue serving the patrons as they arrive until it is time to close your
restaurant for the day!

Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia Of Learning Center Activities For Children 3 to 6

Dramatic Play/Pretend & Play/House Corner




The Arts: Dramatic Arts




3 through 4 Years Old


Large Group

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