Order Up!

order-upGet your piping hot hamburger, crispy crinkle fries, and ice cold soda served over the counter of this awesome 1950s diner! The cook is taking orders, and our fun matching game insures that your customers will get exactly what they like.

We read Hamburger Heaven by Wong Herbert Yee (Houghton Mifflin, 1999).
Every Friday after school, Pinky Pig works at Hamburger Heaven. She’s saving for a new clarinet. But slow business means that Pinky might soon be out of a job! Instead of despairing, she gets to work, asking different animals what they like to eat. She puts together a new menu and then papers the town with ads for Hamburger Heaven’s new offerings. That Friday, a huge line of customers is waiting to try burgers with pine needles, burgers with worms, burgers with beetles, burger with slugs, snails, stinkbugs, crickets…there’s something for everyone! Hamburger Heaven is back in business, and Pinky’s clarinet dream becomes a joyful reality.

You’ll need:

  • 3 paper bags
  • 3 small plastic cups (ours were 5oz)
  • Brown, yellow, and orange tissue paper
  • 2 drinking straws
  • 3 pieces of white card stock (approximately 4.25″ x 5.75″)
  • 3 jumbo craft sticks (mine were 8″ long)
  • Brown, green, orange, red, and tan construction paper
  • A 1950s diner (more on this later!)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

diner-food-setThis project consists of 3 paper bags, 3 sodas, 3 sets of fries, 3 burgers, and 3 “customer cards.” First, cut the paper bags down to 7″, then decorate the fronts with your restaurant’s logo. To make the soda, squish three, 9″ x 13″ pieces of tissue paper into 3 small plastic cups. Add a half of a drinking straw to each cup (our straws were 4′ long). For the fries, accordion fold 1″ x 3″ pieces of yellow construction paper. We’ll get to the burgers in just a moment.

In addition to the play food, this project is also a game in which you match individualized burgers to pictures of your customers. To make the “customer cards,” draw 3 creatures on 3 pieces of white card stock. Then tape each “customer card” to a jumbo craft stick, like so…

crab-customer-cardNow for the matching burger! Each burger consists of 6 pieces of construction paper: 2 brown buns, 1 slice of cheese, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tan burger patty, and 1 tomato slice. Since you’re making 3 burgers, you’ll need 3 sets of those 6 pieces.

six-burger-piecesTo customize the 3 burger patties, draw what each creature eats on a patty. For example, one of our creatures is a crab. Among other things, crabs eat fish parts and algae. So we drew them on the burger patty (here’s a creature diet information sheet we posted during story time to help kids).

customer-card-and-burgerUse tape loops to stack and secure your burgers (just make sure you can lift the bun a little and see what you drew on the burger patty). We used a brown marker to add some “sesame seeds” on the top of the bun as well. Grab your food, and your customer cards, and head for the diner!

front-of-dinerThis diner is Marissa in all her awesomeness. The front is a recycled box lid (first used for this ice skating story time). The diner door is a recycled box lid. The whole thing is covered with silver metallic poster board. Just look at her fantastic metal corrugations on the front! The vintage “Open” sign on a string! The oval door with diagonal push bars! This has to be one of my favorite Marissa creations (after the pig marching band of course).

Here’s what the diner looks like from the back. In the box on the left you can see the crinkle fries loaded into the “fry basket.” We prepped the fries in advance, refilling the fry basket, as needed, during the matching game.

back-of-dinerIf you don’t have time to make a diner, no worries. Use a tabletop, small desk, or even an overturned box! However, I do recommend including a counter bell (in the past, I’ve borrowed the bell from the library’s circulation desk). Since our bell was going to get repeatedly slammed by kids, I taped it to the counter. You might want to do the same.

Here’s how to play the matching game. Kids gave their grown-ups (or siblings) the 3 customer cards. Then they sat behind the diner counter, food at the ready. One by one, the customers “walked” up to the counter.

lion-customer-cardKids matched the customer to the appropriate burger, took a drink order (we offered cola, lemonade, or orange pop), and grabbed a generous serving of crinkle fries.

adding-crinkle-friesThey bagged everything, briskly dinged the bell, and shouted “Order up!” Once that customer had left, it was on to the next customer until every creature had been matched to a burger. Did we have fun? Oh yeah! In fact, we left the diner up for 20 minutes after story time for repeat customers. There was lots of enthusiastic bell dinging and BIG smiles!

smiling-cookWant to supersize that? Check out these giant burger relay races at our Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs story time!

Want Fries With That?

want fries with thatIt’s flippin’ fun! This fast food restaurant will have you grilling like a pro and serving up some tasty shakes to your customers.

serving upWe read Fast Food! Gulp! Gulp! by Bernard Waber (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2001). Welcome to fast food town, where meals can be eaten in under 30 seconds and the menu reads like a rhyming list of dreams for fast food fanatics. The book cavorts at a mad dash until…the cook up and quits. She heads to a health food place to enjoy life at a slower pace.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the whole shebang:

birds eye viewAnd a view from the front!

zipsBefore we get started, it’s important to note that we made two of everything food-related. 2 burgers with all the toppings, 2 servings of fries, 2 pickles, 2 shakes, 2 straws, and 2 bags for your customers to take their orders home!

For the restaurant part, you’ll need:

  • 1 large box (mine was 16.5″ x 12″ x 6″)
  • 1 smaller box (mine was 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½”)
  • 1, 6 – 8oz plastic cup
  • A selection of color masking tape
  • Strips of yellow and red cellophane
  • 4 jumbo craft sticks
  • 1 large strip of silver poster board (approximately 8″ x 1.25″)
  • A menu and sign template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 1 paper visor (I bought mine online at Discount School Supply)
  • 2 white paper bags
  • 1 small strip of silver poster board (approximately 7.75″ x 1″)
  • 1 sparkle stem
  • 1 square of silver poster board (approximately 2.5″ x 2.5″)
  • Scissors, tape, hot glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

For the food, you’ll need:

  • Felt for various “burger” colors: tan for buns, brown for patty, yellow for cheese, red for tomato, and green for lettuce
  • Multiple strips of yellow construction paper (approximately 0.5″ X 3.25″)
  • 2 pieces of green craft foam for pickles
  • 2, 6 – 8 oz. paper cups
  • A selection of dot stickers
  • 2 straws
  • 2 handfuls of polyester fill
  • 2 pipe cleaners, 1 brown & 1 pink

The first step is to decorate the large box and the small box with the color tape (I went for a single red line around the boxes). Then, you’ll want to hot glue the smaller box to the surface of the large box, right in a corner. Finish by hot gluing the plastic cup inside it.

box and cupDirectly behind the box goes the “grill.” First, tape your strips of yellow and red cellophane to the box’s surface. I had great success with twisting the strips of cellophane to add a little “flame” texture.

flame twistsThen I wrapped the craft sticks in black masking tape, and hot glued them on top of the cellophane. Some kids decided to leave the craft sticks brown, or just colored them with markers. It all looked great!

grillNext comes the milkshake faucet, which is the large strip of silver poster board, curved and taped inside the box.

faucetNow for signs! Color the menu and signs template and attach to the front (or the sides, depending on the size of your box).

menu and signsThe milkshake buttons go on the back of the small box, by the faucet. If your box is too small, you can attach them to the back of the larger box, or embed them in the top of the counter.

milkshake buttonsSince you’re already in a coloring frenzy, this is a good time to decorate your visor and your paper bags. To make the bags easier to open and close, I cut off the tops, resulting in a bag that was 6.5″ high.

Now for cooking implements! To make the french fry tongs, simply fold the small strip of silver poster board in half. To make the spatula, fold the sparkle stem in half and tape to the back of the silver poster board square. Flip it over, then bend the sparkle stem slightly upwards to finish. This spatula is kid-tested. It does flip the burgers!

spatulaWe prepped the burger materials in advance (and dotted the top bun with a brown Sharpie marker):

burger partsThen piled them up to create the ultimate burger!

burgerTo make crinkle fries, accordion-fold the strips of yellow construction paper and drop them in the plastic cup to “cook.” You’ll definitely want to “crinkle” the fries, otherwise the tongs won’t pick them up. And don’t forget the pickle (a pickle-shaped piece of green craft foam, with lines drawn in with markers).

pickleFinally, milkshakes. Start by decorating the paper cups with dot stickers. Then, shorten the drinking straws so they fit better in the cups. I cut 0.75″ off the top, and 1.25″ off the bottom of each straw. To create a flavored shake, roll the polyester foam between your palms (like you’re making a clay snake). Then wrap the pipe cleaner around it in a loose spiral, and drop it in the cup.

shake stepsPop in the straw and you’re done!

milkshakeWant to SUPERSIZE it? Sink your teeth into this gigantic burger story time! Or perhaps you’re looking to round out your meal with some fruits and veggies? Check out our fabulous produce stand.