Bon appétit!

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By Jenni Tavenerearly years teacher and writer

Prepare a multicultural café in your role-play area where the children can explore a wonderful selection of food and drink

Role-play café

Culture café

Turn the role-play area into a café with two or three separate areas, for example, a food preparation area where the cooks can prepare real or pretend food; a seating area for diners and a payment area for the waiters and waitresses.

Encourage the children to change the menu to reflect British food and food from other cultures that may be familiar to the children in your setting, for example, Italian, Chinese, Polish or Indian. If possible, display packets and tins of foods from other cultures in the cooks’ area.

Decorate the dining area with pretty tablecloths, napkins, a pretend candle and real or pretend flowers. Create a reception area by displaying a sign saying ‘Please wait to be seated’ or ‘Please pay here’. Position a toy till or toy credit-card machine nearby and provide the customers with coins or pretend cards to swipe through the machine. Display picture and story books featuring food that is grown or eaten in other countries.

Suggested resources

Role-play area; ‘Culture café’ sign; toy cooking appliances; plastic pots, pans and whisks; wooden spoons; white shirt or chef’s outfit; packets and tins of foods from a variety of cultures; toy cutlery; waiters’ and waitresses’ aprons with notebook and pencil; child-made menus; tables and chairs; pretty tablecloths; napkins; pretend candle; real or pretend flowers; café signs; toy till or toy credit-card machine with coins or pretend cards; picture and story books such as Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlain (Barefoot Books) and Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Brown (Walker Books).

1 Fun food

Make pretend food for the culture café

Creative Development

Exploring Media and Materials

Development matters: begin to be interested in and describe the texture of things (30-50 months); work creatively on a large or small scale (40-60 months).

Early learning goal: explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two or three dimensions.

What you need

Group size: small groups.

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