What better way for your child to learn about healthy eating than to play with it! By creating your very own Kid’s Restaurant, your child will learn to not only identify several different food items, but will learn that making good choices about the food he eats can be enjoyable, too!
To set up your own restaurant, have your child dress up in chef attire: either an apron or a Chef Role Play Costume will do the trick. Give him access to oven mitts and other appropriate kitchen items, such as plates and napkins.
Next, print out a menu(s). Laminate each one, or insert in a page protector. This will make it durable and allows you to use it multiple times.
[Click to download the Super Sandwich Menu, The Terrific Taco & Burrito Menu, and The Perfect Pizza Menu. These menus correlate with the following Felt Play Food Sets: Sandwich Set, Taco & Burrito Set, and Pizza Set.]
Using Dry-Erase Markers, ask your child to place a check mark or “X” beside each food item he would like. Encourage your child to identify each item he comes across either by sight or through reading the words beneath the items.
After placing his order, or if siblings or friends are over to play and he has taken their orders (this will aid in communication skills), have your child match the pictures of the food items he’s selected with the actual item in the Felt Play Food Set. Each time he picks up a new item, encourage him to identify it. Help him learn to follow instructions by showing him the correct order described on the menu.
After playing with his felt food, he can use these menus to decide what he wants for his “real” lunch or dinner. A great bonus to playing with your food is that when you get so excited about learning the ingredients, sometimes real-life imitates play!
How do you encourage healthy eating with your kids? Share your tips in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook!
Katie Heap is the author of Live Craft Eat–a place where she writes about her 3 loves: her family, her crafting endeavors, and learning to cook. Follow Live Craft Eat on Pinterest and Facebook as well.