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Thursday 24 May 2018

Setting up a Betty's Café Afternoon Tea Role Play area & Tuff tray

Ever since I walked into my local Betty's Café Tea Rooms as a young 20 something and asked for a Dizzee Rascal instead of a Fat Rascal, I've had a bit of a love - hate relationship with the place...

Bettys cafe tearoom role play area

Most recently because I LOVE the cakes, but I'm dairy and soya free so I can't eat them anymore. Arthur, however, can eat them...and does eat them as often as he is allowed! He has a BIG interest in Betty's Café Tea Rooms at the moment and likes to play and pretend that he works there...anything he can find that look like a counter, or a till and hes straight into Betty's mode, "hello, what would you like?"

The best way for a child to learn is through play, especially when the theme is something that they are really interested in, so with that in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks turning our (still unfurnished!) playroom extension into a Betty's Café Tea Room...

Setting up a Betty's Café Afternoon Tea Role Play area & Tuff tray

Afternoon tea cafe tuff tray

If you would like to head straight over to the YouTube video and have a look at the role play area whilst I talk about the setup, show you a quick demo of our play in action and talk about how to use the area you can find it here: (don't forget to pop over to my YouTube channel 'Sarah - Arthurwears'  to subscribe for future learning through play videos and demonstrations)

Would you like to read my post on more easy home made role play food from every day items? This post includes a video demonstration too. Don't forget to pop back and finish reading this post when you're done! 

afternoon tea cafe tuff spot tuff tray

The first step to making this Betty's Café Tea Rooms Role play area authentic for Arthur was to make some pretend cakes and deserts for him to sell and serve:

Betty's cafe tearoom role play fondant fancies

These were made from some recycled sponge ( I used black as that's what I already had, but if you were buying especially I would choose a cream or yellow sponge and cut into squares using scissors), pink and cream felt, cotton stitching and some white tippex!

How to make Betty's Café Pretend Fondant Fancy:

How to make Betty's cafe tearoom role play fondant fancies

Follow the image steps above to make your Betty's fondant fancy. Place the sponge inside the felt and stitch the corner edge together using cotton and a needle. Snip off the excess as shown so that you can sew up the entire edge. Repeat this for all 4 edges. When all edges are sewn, turn the felt inside out to hide the stitching and place the sponge back inside. Use tippex, white paint or nail varnish to paint on the small flowers to make this look like a real Betty's Café Tea Rooms Fondant Fancy!

We made 4 of these, 2 pink and 2 cream so that they would fit in a gift box just like at the real Betty's.

How to make a Betty's Café pretend Fat Rascal:

How to make Betty's cafe tearoom role play fat rascal

For this one I used oven bake polymer clay which I bought from Amazon here

First I mixed the different colours together as shown to make the golden tan coloured dough before pressing this into a miniature Fat Rascal shape. I used the tools provided in the set to make marks and creases in the Fat Rascal to give the effect of real baked dough. I then used some black polymer clay to add tiny currants, some red polymer clay for the 2 cherries and some cream coloured polymer clay to make the almond mouth. This was placed on some baking paper on a tray and over baked at 120 degrees for 20 minutes to harden it. I then painted the cherries with clear nail varnish to give them a glacé cherry shine!

How to make a Bettys Café pretend Fresh Fruit Tart and Gateau:

How to make Betty's cafe tearoom role play cakes

Again, these little role play beauties from the top of a Bettys Café afternoon tea were made using polymer clay as above. The fruit tart casing was made by rolling the clay into a ball, squashing it flat a little and they moulding it around the bottom of a wooden spoon handle to make a little well in the middle. I used the tools within the polymer clay kit to indent the edges before setting to work on the fruit! The blueberries are purple and black clay mixed together, rolled into tiny balls and then a tiny hole indentation made in the top using the small modelling clay tool. The strawberry was moulded around the end of a small tool and then I used a cocktail stick to make tiny little seed holes all around the strawberry. Add to the casing and voila! 
 The chocolate gateau uses two shades of brown clay - the lighter shade in the middle, and an oval on top for the Betty's logo. Both were baked in a 120 degree oven for 20 mins. I used a gold metallic pen to write the Betty's logo on the oval slice. 

How to make the Bettys Café pretend sandwich:

How to make Betty's cafe tearoom role play sandwich

If you pop over to my YouTube channel  you can see me talk about this one in more detail whilst opening up the sandwich. Briefly, the bread is a sponge cut diagonally, the crusts are made with brown felt tip and the ham and cheese are off cuts from the felt used to make the fondant fancies.

You can find out how to make pretend  battenberg cake and other role play food over in my blog post and video here: Easy home-made pretend role-play food from every day items.

Bettys Café Tea Rooms Role Play macaroons:

Betty's cafe tearoom role play macaroons

The macaroons I used here were from a set from Paperchase  although I am not sure they still sell them, here are some alternatives:

Our Bettys Café Tea Rooms Role Play area:

We were lucky enough to get our hands on some real menus, gift boxes and bags from Bettys Café Tea Rooms in order to make our role play area more authentic. I also had a silver tea set which Id bought from a charity shop and a plastic champagne glass which is safe for Arthur to use, alongside some realistic looking fruit and veg. Here are some photos for your inspiration:

Betty's cafe tearoom role play tuff spot table

Betty's cafe tearoom role play table

Betty's cafe tearoom role play area

Betty's cafe tearoom role play area

Betty's cafe tearoom afternoon tea role play area

The afternoon tea cake stand is available to buy from Amazon here:

Learning through play in the Betty's Café Tea Rooms Role Play area:

There are so many learning opportunities within a role play area - particularly one that involves a shop and a cafe!!

  • When you play alongside your child/children within a role play area you have the best opportunity to model and give new language in order to help develop language. Using new resources means that you can work on speaking and language skills just through talking about your area.
  • You can model the rules of conversation and help your child with conversational turn taking.
  • Buying items from the shop allows for a magnitude of number and counting activities, talking about 1 more, 1 less, counting out from a larger group and on to one correspondence.
  • You can introduce price labels for number recognition and calculations when finding a total.
  • Introduce real money to your till so that your children are given real experiences of handling money, paying for items and receiving change.
  • Encourage your child to use their imagination when taking on a role
  • Give your child a notebook and a pen to write down their orders
  • Allow children to make their own price labels, cake signs and shop signs to encourage mark making
  • Read the menu together. Make a child friendly menu with pictures and large labels to read themselves.

Extension activities in the Betty's Café Tea Rooms Role Play area:

There are a few activities we are going to be doing to tie in with our learning in the Betty's Café Tea Rooms Role Play area - I will be popping a video of some of these up on our YouTube channel over the next few weeks:

  1. Making a real cup of tea - great for following instructions and recounting
  2. Baking a real cake for the role play area - baking is great for maths, number, measure, noticing differences and changes and using the senses.
  3. Taking a trip to the real Betty's
  4. Perfecting our 'spreading' skills when making a sandwich
Can you think of anything else we can try??

Here are my own little rascals eating their real, and not so real Betty's food:

Fancy seeing how our playroom looks now that we have set it all up ready for open ended, child-led learning through play? 

Sarah x 

Disclosure - some of these Amazon links are affiliate links. This means that it wont cost you any more money, but if you buy any products through these links then I will receive a small amount of commission from Amazon which goes towards the running costs of this blog.

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