Kids will always love to play shop or dress-up and pretend they are a little older than they actually are. Nurture your child's imagination and social skills by helping them set up their own play restaurant. And whether they are playing with two or twenty friends, the most important thing they will need is a menu. Use websites such as Boowa & Kwala to make a menu or -- alternatively -- fill in a template from the Internet ready to print.
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Open your Internet browser and visit a menu-making website. Most websites will provide a menu template for you to write on and print. Some of the more popular and reputable sites include Word Templates, HP and the Boowa & Kwala webpage. See the Resources section for links.
Select a menu style with your children by clicking through the various designs and bringing up the previews. Ask your kids which design they like best and what colours would be best suited for their play restaurant. Not only will this allow you to play together but it also teaches them to make their own creative decisions.
Customise the menu if the website allows you to. Websites such as HP and Word Templates offer flat templates that cannot be changed until later -- Boowa & Kwala on the other hand lets you decorate your menu right on the site. Select a colour scheme by using the "Choose a Pattern..." menu, then click and drag any decorative symbols or stickers onto the page. Work with your kids to personalise the menu: the Boowa & Kwala website lets you choose from umbrellas, leaves, stars, kitchen items and other food icons.
Download the menu template if you cannot decorate it on the website. Save the menu file -- usually in Microsoft Word format -- to a secure folder and open it. Use Microsoft Word's "Insert" function to add Clip Art or personal pictures to the page.
Write onto the menu any dishes, drinks and prices for the play restaurant. Do this by either typing right onto the Word template or by using coloured pens and pencils to draw on the printout. Ask you kids what food they want to serve or what kind of meals they enjoy the most. Help them type, write and spell the foods and drinks.
Laminate the menu or menus if you want to use them again. Laminating the paper will also protect the menu from any real food that is being used in the game.
Tips and warnings
- Teach your children the value of money by letting them guess fair prices for the meals. You could use other menus as an example and compare their pocket money or allowance to the food prices. Remember, fun can be educational too.
- Turn the menu into a really fun exercise by cooking some of the meals on the menu. Things like cakes and savoury snacks are easy to make and can be eaten by the kids when they are playing.
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