We have a hard time determining where to eat as a family. It is our form of entertainment on the weekends. However, we are very routine, and we get sick of eating the same thing over and over. One day, it was taking so long to decide where we were going to go, that we were walking the very thin line of whether we waited too long and J would have a disastrous meltdown. I decided that we were going to play restaurant at home. I'd be the hostess, waitress, and chef. I printed J a menu with a coloring page taken from the internet.
As part of the menu, I gave J a few choices. He had to select one of each group: protein, side/veggies, drink. His favorite menus at restaurants have pictures of the food, so I copied that for our menu. He and his daddy left the house and came in like they were entering the restaurant. I seated them and gave them the menu. J circled what he wanted to eat. I made it and served it.
Kids love to pretend! There's plenty of science in this game too. We talked about nutrition and a balanced meal, along with good choices to help our bodies grow big and strong (not just big). The menu activities can incorporate math games, ie. connect the dots, identifying patterns, etc. J loved this quick thrown together idea that it has become part of our normal week. Yesterday, he requested that he was the waiter and chef. Of course, I supervised him and suggested something that he can do with minimal help (chicken salad sandwiches). He mixed our canned chicken, which I opened, with 3 spoons of light mayonnaise and some cucumber pieces. We calculated how many pieces of bread we needed if mommy, daddy, and J all needed 2 slices each for their sandwiches. He also decided carrots would pair well with the sandwiches. This game also taught J that a lot goes into bringing food to the table and we should be respectful during dinner time.
I can't wait to add more to our game of restaurant. I think as he gets older, we'll start to associate a cost of dining at a restaurant and add money math to the game. ::squeal::