Somewhere during the course of the morning, I came up with a splendid little idea for school today. We're playing "restaurant".
It's something I did as a little girl, and I LOVED it. I'd get really into it, even stealing my mom's tea towel to throw over my arm when I was the "waiter". I never would have considered it educational when I was little, but the more I think about it now, the more I realize how much it is.
We've got a Play-Do Spaghetti Factory that was the basis of the menu. I wrote down the words: "spaghetti with meatballs" , "Linguini with vegetables", etc. on a piece of scrap paper and she copied them onto the real menu. She also used markers to decorate the menu. That would be handwriting practice, reading, and art.
We made up a price for each menu item - everything was under 20 cents, with cookies being on sale this week for 5 cents each. The "waitress" was in charge of making out the check, adding up the total for whatever the customer ordered. The customer was expected to count out exact change to cover the bill. There's math for the day - addition and practice with money.
We did a great job of staying in character. The "waitress" sat the customer, set the table, gave her the menu, took the order, turned into the cook long enough to make the Play-Do creation, and then served the customer, coming back to see if everything was alright, etc. The customer was careful to always say 'please' and 'thank you' and would call the waitress if needed. I consider that a great social studies lesson for this age.
We had a little talk about where all these yummy pasta dishes originated - Italy, and looked on a map to see it. I'm gonna call that history and culture.
There was even a little bit of science - the way the Play-do squisher uses gears to squeeze out the spaghetti, and also the identification of a couple dozen food items - nutrition studies and maybe a bit of home ec.
Total, it probably took an hour for each of us to play each part, with some 'just for fun' stuff thrown in. We hit every subject, did some relevant hands-on work, and had a great time.
Granted I could have gone to McDonald's in less time, and actually have food I could eat. But I never would have seen a plate of spaghetti with blue meatballs, and it wouldn't have been nearly so much fun. :o)