Monkey Puzzle Cafe
In Nursery we almost always have a shop, cafe, or garden centre set up in which the children use 'money' (random handfuls of coins and notes) to purchase goods. An adult always spends time in the area with the children modelling the process of asking for a product, the vendor asking for an amount, handing over some money and being given change. Alongside the usual pleasantries and polite chit chat we all engage in when shopping or eating out of course.
We would like you to create a cafe for all the jungle animals to visit. As well as developing an awareness of coins and the concept of using money the children will practise applying their knowledge of before and after, and first and last.
The cafe will also allow for lots of emergent writing - the children draw and mark make to represent writing and numbers on menus, taking orders and signs around the cafe.
Creating your Cafe
Can you make or draw a sign for your Cafe? You will need menus and order forms (sticky post it notes might work well), an open and closed sign and, if you have one, a till. You will need labels for all of your display food - encourage your child to listen for initial sounds to help you to write labels for the bananas and apples, oranges and potatoes or whatever foods you can find to serve in your cafe.
Think together about easy ways to become different animal customers. Do you have different coloured hats or scarves you could wear for each animal? Perhaps you have a brightly coloured blanket that could be your parrot wings or a big jumper the colour of a lion or elephant?
Alternatively could you make headbands with the characters on them? See below for pictures that your child could help to cut out.
If you would like to print some masks for your characters they can be found following the link.
Using Money in the Cafe
Model the language and behaviour you would expect in a cafe. If you feel your child is ready to move on from using just random coins to purchase goods then empty the till of anything except 1p coins. Label the foods as costing small amounts (4p, 6p) and encourage your child to count accurately both as customer and cafe owner paying for each item ordered individually (so no need to start adding amounts just yet!).
First and Last
You can develop your child's listening skills whilst having fun playing in the cafe. Ask for items in a specific order. They may be 'writing' your order but this will be emergent marks and scribbles so they will rely on their memory to get your order correct.
Can they bring you an apple first, then a carrot, and last can they bring you an orange? Change the activity making it harder or easier depending on your child's confidence. Support them to ensure they achieve.
Before and After
Another, and quite tricky, aspect of language to begin to introduce. When asking for food as a customer can your child respond appropriately if you say, 'Before you bring me an apple please bring me a drink'. Or, 'I would like a pear after you have brought me a sandwich'.
To develop understanding of this concept use before and after as often as you can to indicate time periods through the day. Before we go to the park we are going to vacuum. After we have played in the garden we will start to make dinner.