SET UP A ROLE PLAY HOT CHOCOLATE MARKET STALL
It won't be long before town centres start to switch on their Christmas lights and set up their festive mini-markets. We might have Halloween and Bonfire Night ahead of us but savvy parents are already thinking ahead and planning their Christmas shopping and meet-ups with Father Christmas. Before we know it, slips of paper will be sent home from school with the words 'Angel Number 3' written on them and it will be time to get the sewing machine out (or head to the dressing up section at the supermarket ... we won't judge). The Big Day is going to be here before we know it.
That said, we have a lovely autumn-themed half term activity to share with you today. If you're looking for a super sweet way of keeping your children entertained for a couple of hours while they're off school, how about encouraging them to set up their very own hot chocolate stall? It's great for learning and great for encouraging role play ... with a chocolate reward at the end of it all.
Here are out top tips for the ultimate children's hot chocolate stall.
A GORGEOUSLY RETRO MARKET STALL
First up, is our gorgeously retro Devon Market Stall. The pretty, painted stall with its tongue and groove finish and eye-catching red and white striped canopy is a young child's dream. We've dressed it up as a hot chocolate stall but the possibilities are endless: cake stall, grocery shop, florist, toy emporium, anything your child would like it to be. And because it's on castors, it can be easily wheeled to any room in the house, or even outdoors. It's really sturdy!
A SWEET AND SIMPLE HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE
Next, you need to perfect your hot chocolate recipe. Younger children might simply like frothy milk with a dusting of chocolate powder. For older children, while some hot chocolate packets might recommend mixing the powder with water, we think warm milk is always the tastier option. Add some real chocolate shavings for extra richness. And don't forget the squirty cream and marshmallows for the top.
If you have time, why not bake something yummy for the hot chocolate stall? We shared an easy flapjack recipe, recently. Or, how about chocolate orange stirring spoons? They're so simple to make. Melt some chocolate orange pieces in a bowl with a splash of cream. Pour a small amount on to a spoon along with some sprinkles and then leave in the fridge for an hour to set. Either stir them in to the hot chocolate to add a little more flavour or dip them in and suck the chocolate off the spoon. Delicious!
There's also an opportunity for a bit of handwriting practice. Every market stall needs signs explaining what can be bought. The Devon Market Stall has a chalkboard on its side for big announcements but little signs are also needed for the different items being sold on the stall. Our suggestions are: white chocolate spoons, straws, chocolate orange spoons, candy canes, mittens and marshmallow sticks. The roomy shelves on the stall mean that it can hold a fair amount of stock.
ROLE PLAY FUN
A stall or shop of any kind is great for encouraging role play between siblings or friends. They get to take it in turns to be the stall owner or customer. It's a lovely way for them to mimic real life situations: deciding what they want, placing their order, handing over their pretend money and then saying thank you. A wooden till would make a brilliant addition to the stall and prolong the fun.
Of course, what you want to end up with is lots of happy customers after hours of fun pretend play together. With hot chocolate and sweet treats on offer, we think that smiles are inevitable.
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