Coffee Shop Role Play

Set up a coffee shop dramatic play scene for some great role-play, language development, story telling, money play and emergent writing! Fun, creative and educational too!

Pretend play scenarios are some of the richest and most enjoyable playtimes we have together and they can offer great opportunities to practise playful reading, writing and maths in a real life context. In my classroom while I was teaching we changed our role play area often, from a space rocket to a house, flower shop to an Indian takeaway! Whatever the real life setting, try and use as many real objects, images and implements as possible to create a true to life experience for acting out. 

We set up a little table and chairs with a tea towel table cloth, a vase of paper flowers, china plates and tiny cups, a toast rack, a ceramic tea pot, real coffee pot, paper napkins and our wooden cake set. Then we made some herbal tea, frothy milk with chocolate sprinkles and brought out some real cakes on a dish.

Cakie made a menu by using emergent writing marks, from left to right across the pages in zig-zags and squiggles, mimicking the style of adults. She narrated what it was she was writing as she did so, “cakes and hot chocolate and sandwiches and drinks.” The girls then took it in turns to be the waitress, holding a notepad to scribble down the orders, and going away to bring back the drinks and serve them up. Creating context-ricj scearios for “real writing” with a purpose, is a fundamentally important stage in the early literacy process and it shouldn’t be rushed or dismissed as unimportant. It’s how they come to understand the value and purpose behind words!

We enjoyed our real cakes, tea and hot milk and when Cakie decided it was closing time (we were kicked out without any warning!) we used our real coins and play till to count up the money we owed and pay up! Great for number recognition, counting and understanding about money.

This activity promotes: early literacy, early maths, recognising and naming coins, recognising numerals, counting up to a certain amount, pretend reading and writing, mark making, acting in role, taking on a character, storytelling, understanding of how cafes work, talking about the job of a waitress and chef

See our other role-play scenarios and their learning benefits here:
Shoe shop dramatic play
Doctor’s surgery dramatic play
Garden Centre pretend play
Play dough sweet shop role play
Play dough bakery role play
Post Office pretend play

What’s YOUR favourite to make in your home or classroom?
Cakie: 4.0
Pop: 2.6
Bean: 6 months


  1. Rosie says

    What a lovely idea! Do you plan these sorts of activities in advance? Or do you see what the day brings? I never seem to get ahead with any planned activities so it’s often just a case of making things up as we go along.