Thursday, January 14, 2010

Play Food: 5 Fun Pretend Play Roles

There are so many fun pretend play "roles" that can be taken when playing with toy food. Here are 5 ideas that will breathe new life into your child's play food fun! Play along parents! 1. Your Child as the Chef: Put all of your play food in baskets and bins and have your chef pick and choose the perfect ingredients for your superb meal! Make sure you have bowls, utensils, and a set of play food pots and pans. Have him/her tell you what they're cooking and how it tastes. You can even pretend your child is on a tv show teaching a cooking class. Some children find it easier to role play by wearing costumes. Our Chef Role Play Costume is perfect for this. Educational Value: This role play exposes children to the idea of occupations and professions. Talk about different occupations involving food: grocer, farmer, waiter etc.This is also a great opportunity to talk about different cooking processes: boiling, steaming, baking, frying etc. You can also introduce your child to different kinds of kitchen utensils to expand their vocabulary and understanding of the tools used by cooks and chefs. 2. Have Your Child Pretend to be the Parent: Kids love to pretend they are the Mom or Dad so play along and you can be the child! This can be so much fun because your child will likely imitate you and some funny things you say and do in the kitchen! A play kitchen lends itself perfectly to this because it has the stove, oven, sink and storage all in one place. Let your child get busy fussing over you and he/she will be just delighted doing so! Educational Value: Parents will see first hand their child's view of what being a parent looks like! Your child, of course, is demonstrating his skills in the kitchen - showing you his understanding of how to cook and prepare food for the family. Your child will feel so much pride in doing this for you. Make sure to praise their great effort and kindness :) They're also showing you that they understand how the oven, microwave, stove, pots, pans, and utensils work. 3. Play Waiter/Waitress: Sit down and let your child take your order - even if it's scribbled in crayon! He/she will have so much fun bringing your order to the table. Let him/her use paper dishes or a toy dish set for serving. Don't forget to pay and leave a big HUG tip for your special server :) Educational Value: Your child will have the opportunity to see what it's like to have a job and provide service to others. What does a waiter/waitress do? Help them think about that. There's also an important sequence of events that need to be followed: hand out menus, take order, serve food, clear table, leave bill. If it's not done in order it makes no sense! Have fun preparing for this role play by making up your own menu. You can cut out pictures from magazines or draw your own! You can also show your child how to set a table. You can draw a place setting on construction paper and have them set it to match. Your drawing becomes the place mat! 4. Pretend to Go Grocery Shopping: Start by making a list of everything you need. Then have your play food lined up, in baskets, or any way you can organize it so that you can shop! A shopping cart is ideal for this but you can use bags or small boxes for carrying groceries. Time to check out! Who's going to be the cashier? Now pack up your groceries and pay! Use real money, play money, or pretend money! Educational Value: Children are often unaware that planning takes place for an event like grocery shopping. Start from the beginning and go over the whole sequence with them: What have we run out of or need more of? We need to make a list. Let's go to the store. How do we find these things in the store? Let's put them in our cart. Don't forget we need a way to carry them home(bag/box). Now let's pay for our groceries. This is a great opportunity to teach counting and the value of money. 5. Pretend to be a Farmer: Turn your play area into a garden oasis! Use your imagination to create a fun area that's like a farm. Put down a tan blanket and pretend it's the soil. Take your play food fruits and vegetables and line them in row on the "soil." Get your picking baskets ready to be filled. Maybe dress up in "rugged" clothing, sunglasses, and a sun hat to really get into the role! Now pick those luscious fruits and veggies! Another option is to "bury" the fruits and vegetables as if they're seeds. Pretend to water them and have the sun shine on them. Watch them grow and then pick them. Educational Value: This role play lends itself to many other fun activities like planning a real garden in the spring. You can also talk about how seeds grow into plants and vegetables, the life cycle in general, and how plants grow. You can draw pictures of your favorite fruits and vegetables and make a collage of garden pictures to proudly display. That can be your indoor garden. It's also a great time to talk about nutrition, and which food are fruits or vegetables. Each of these activities can last for a half hour or longer, even with young children. Some children will enjoy it so much they'll be role playing for days! Enjoy these 5 ideas and add your own in comments :)

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Our daughter always enjoyed playing "drive-thru" she would open the windows of her play house, and we'd have to "motor" past and order burgers and fries from her shop. LOL! Great ideas for play listed.

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