Restaurant & Diner Dramatic Play Idea for Children

A simple restaurant dramatic play activity for your preschool children.Setting up a restaurant dramatic play center comes with endless possibilities.

There are so many “themes” and items you can add to this idea that you may need to break it up and implement these activity ideas on different weeks with breaks in between them so the children do not become overwhelmed.

Learn how to set up and start a restaurant dramatic play for the pre k children in your care with the learning ideas and materials below.


Setting Up Your Restaurant Dramatic Play Center:

Restaurant Food Items:

There are so many different multicultural play food kits out there that you could plan a Chinese food restaurant theme one week, an Indian food restaurant a few weeks after that, a pizza shop a different week, a Canadian/American restaurant another week, a Spanish style restaurant another week, etc.

You could also have a restaurant theme which offers two different varieties so the children can experiment with all different types of foods.

Don’t forget to check your local dollar store for items like these as well. You can find some great items at low cost to you.

Some teachers/caregivers like to plan their dramatic play culture themes around actual holidays like Chinese New Year etc., but that is not necessary unless the children in your area are familiar with those holidays and it’s a large part of their culture.

The point of a dramatic play center is to relax, have fun and plan around the children’s interests. So when you observe the children showing an interest in food, then that would be a perfect time to implement a dramatic play restaurant theme.


Other Items to Add to Your Restaurant Play:

To give the children the best experience out of this dramatic play activity as possible some great items to add in are:

  • a child sized table and chairs,
  • place mats,
  • children’s play dishes,
  • cutlery,
  • cooking utensils,
  • pots,
  • pans,
  • cups,
  • pitchers,
  • dish towels,
  • empty dish soap bottles,
  • aprons,
  • kitchen center, etc.

Anything you can think of to make this the preschoolers best cooking and dining experience they can give to themselves.
Many toy stores offer kids cooking play toys in different cultures. (Example: woks, chopsticks, casserole dishes, pizza pans, tawa’s, etc.)


Restaurant Visuals:

Children learn through so many areas and one important one is through their eyes. Preschool children observe so much more than we think they do.

They are always watching and listening to things and people around them. (We will get to listening in the next heading).

Look for real life pictures on the internet that you can print out and laminate which compliment your ‘restaurant’ programming idea.

You could also look for calendars with pictures you can use or magazines you can take pictures out of.

Don’t forget to laminate or MAC tac the pictures to protect them so you can use them for years to come.


Restaurant Sounds, Music – Audio:

For this dramatic play idea audio would be a great way to introduce the children to even more aspects of the culture you are focusing on.

For the Chinese food set up you could download and play, or buy a CD which has Chinese style music and/or talking on it and have it playing softly in the background.

You can do this with any and all of the set-ups mentioned above. There are many online music sites which offer a few free downloads a month or have deals of the month. Don’t forget to label your CD and keep it so you can use it for years to come.


Final Additions:

To add the final touches and make this restaurant dramatic play experience as real to life as possible you could also add receipt paper, child sized pencils, a calendar, cash register with play money, a clock, telephone, purses, wallets, and a few male and female dress-up clothes.

The children are going to have so much fun being able to be a part of their very own dining out experience.


Extended Play Idea:

Adding multicultural books to the library centre will give the children a deeper understanding of individuals in each culture, how they look, how they dress, and where they live.

Adding multicultural toy people to the toy shelf will give the children a chance to role play using a different method. There are some very detailed real-to-life toy people you can find which have a wide range of features from age, cultures, gender, disabilities, etc.