Simple café role play

Fulll view of the kitchen and counter set-up, with play food; pans and utensils; and till. Title image.

One of my daughters favourite places to visit is a café – not a particular café, any one will do, so long as they have “a little treat” for her to munch on! And who can blame her?! Recently we had a couple of friends of hers over to play who I know also love a trip to the café, so I decided to make a simple café role play set up for the three of them to play with.

Kitchen and Counter Area

A chopping board and toy knife with a Velcro pepper and tomato on. Behind are three wooden baskets, with a variety of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat in them.
Firstly I set out T’s toy food along with her chopping board, as a food preparation area.


A toy pan containing carrots and some fish. Two utensils are alongside it.
I added a pan and utensils in case they wanted to cook any of the food. We don’t have a play kitchen, so we used our coffee table instead!


A toy till with the drawer open. Inside are a variety of copper and silver coins.
We also got out the till, so the customers could pay for their food! I prefer to use real coins rather than toy money.

Seating area

We moved T’s little desk and chairs out into the middle of the room to give it a café feel. Before they had started playing I’d made a little menu listing some of the items T has amongst her play food.

Simple menu with illustrations and names of food, including broccoli, burger and fish.
As you can see my daughter got to this before I had managed to photograph it!

Once the children had placed their ‘orders’, whoever was being the ‘café owner’ returned to the kitchen to prepare the food, before serving it at the table!

A plate of carrots and burger in the foreground, with a secret be plate and some teacups in the background.

The kids had great fun visiting their ‘café’! It’s such an easy set-up too; the only thing that needed any extra preparation was the menu which just took a few minutes. If you were to do a similar set up for older children (4-7), you could include more complex menu suggestions; prices on the menu to encourage them to find the right amount of money; and slips of paper for them to create receipts. They could also create their own menus for use in the café.

Full view of table, with plates of food; cups and saucers; and the menu

Role play is great for developing imagination, language and children’s understanding of the world around them. The till brings in a mathematical aspect by bringing in the language of number. Children also learn to identify numbers on the coins they use. The inclusion of the menu helps them to understand that print carries meaning, and when they are ready, they will also begin to recognise letters and words. Role play also benefits their social development, as they learn to play in groups (i.e. with, not just near, their peers), and as they listen and respond to what each other say.

Title image


11 Replies to “Simple café role play”

  1. Love this set of play foods!

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks, so do I! Some are Melissa & Doug and some are Tidlo. I’ve never liked plastic food, something about the texture and the smell!

  2. I used to love playing cafes as a kid and my little one loves it too. This is some lovely stuff you have here. I had pretend things when I was little! Toys have come such a long way 🙂 #friYAYlinky

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks! Yes there’s a lovely range of wooden play food available these days.

  3. This play set is awesome, very upscale looking. #EatSleepBlogRT

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks, a combination of the last couple of years of birthday and Christmas presents 🙂

  4. Oh this playset is FAB!! My children love role play, especially their little kitchen so I’m sure they would love this too! #eatsleepblogRT

  5. This is so cute! We often play this! Also I LOVE wooden play food!

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks! Such a fun game – we played it the rest of the week and it was first request when her friend next came to play!

  6. This a fabulous idea – used to love this with Pie. Can’t wait for Pudding to be old enough to really get in to the role play. Fab menu BTW! #eatsleepblogrt

    1. beccatooth says: Reply

      Thanks! We had a lot of fun 🙂

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