Winter Fun with the Hot Chocolate Café

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I surprised the kids this morning with a pretend Hot Chocolate Café.  So far, they’ve used it for several hours of creative play and it was so simple to put together, mostly with things I already had in our stash of art supplies, plus a quick and inexpensive trip to the craft store.

I got this wonderful idea from Preschool Playbook.  I used an old hot chocolate container and cut up pieces of a sheet of brown foam for the chocolate.  White pom- poms served as marshmallows.  A stack of cups, a handful of spoons and straws, a few items from our play kitchen and our toy cash register full of play money, and they were open for business.

It helps to have a college art major who lives in your basement when on winter break from college, because she can make you a really cool sign for your Hot Chocolate Café.  That would be my wonderful niece.

All three kids had a great time with this.  I’ve been reading a lot more lately about the importance of play in learning, not just for toddlers and preschoolers, but for kids of all ages, so I was glad to give my almost-7 year old the opportunity to spend a big chunk of his day today engaged in pretend play.

Serving hot chocolate to Daddy, one of their favorite "customers".

My two-year-old had fun pouring the “chocolate bits” from container to container and my four-year-old began to decorate the cups with bits of ribbon and tape and marker-drawings, making the project her own.

And, when we went out to the library, they couldn’t wait to get back and play with the Hot Chocolate Café some more.  We’ll leave it set up for a while, until I notice it’s no longer played with or get tired of picking up bits of “chocolate” from all over the house.  We already had to make a rule:  No feeding marshmallow pom-poms to the dog.  He does think they are food and he will eat them.