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10 Teachable Moments at a Restaurant

Enrich a delicious meal with these activities and suggestions.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Cognitive Skills
Vocabulary
Literacy
  1. Let her taste buds travel. Create a total cultural experience. Study a culture, its traditions, geography, and language, and then dine out at a restaurant from that land.
  2. Be a restaurant critic. A small notebook, a pen, and close observation skills are all your child will need to become a star reviewer. Check out the way critics craft their words in magazines or your local newspaper, then have him size up his meal.
  3. Make it come out even. Settling the bill is a practical skill that taps into several math concepts. Have your child figure out what percentage the tax is, calculate the tip, and double-check the change.
  4. Create fictional characters. Look around! What people do you see sitting nearby or filling orders? Use this cast of characters to build storytelling and creative expression skills.
  5. Take a bite out of the pyramid. Sketch or bring a copy of the MyPlate food guide. Have your child assess how her meal fits. Take this opportunity to start a conversation about the importance of nutritional balance.
  6. Collect language. Menus can offer excellent examples of descriptive language and new words. Give your child a small notebook to collect interesting ingredients, adjectives, and names, then encourage him to whip up his own inventive menu for an at-home project.
  7. The chef suggests . . . Leave your own menu closed. Instead, invite your child to make a few recommendations. As she rattles off entrees and descriptions, she's getting important practice in reading aloud.
  8. Play the game of "what is it?" "It's something you shake onto your food, and it's white in color." Salt! Boost descriptive skills by playing this simple game. Trade off who describes and who guesses.
  9. Guess the word. Have a few minutes? Pull out a piece of paper, and play a game of hangman. Pick a food-related, hard-to-spell word or famous phrase, and have your child guess the letters to fill in the blanks.
  10. Did you know . . . ? Start a collection of food trivia to break out while waiting in a restaurant. At home, have your child research food-based vocabulary words or science facts about the differences between a carbohydrate and a protein.

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