Want Fries With That?

fast food gulp gulpIt’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!


Before 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 colored 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 colored 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 twists

Then 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!

spatula altWe 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!

milkshakeLooking to round out your meal with some fruits and veggies? Check out our fabulous produce stand here.

Farm Fresh

produce standInspire a love of fruits and vegetables with this snazzy little produce stand!

We read Market Day, written by Carol Foskett Cordsen and illustrated by Douglas B. Jones (Dutton Juvenile, 2008). When the Benson family oversleeps, they’re in such a rush to get their produce to market, they forget to feed the cow! The hungry cow solves the problem by following them to market, wreaking unintentional havoc along the way.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (I used a 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½” brown craft box)
  • 1 piece of 10.5″ x 4.5″ poster board for your roof, any color
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 1 tea tin (or another little box)
  • A selection of patterned paper
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 standard paper cup, any color
  • 1 corrugated cardboard base (approximately 14.5″ x 7.5″)
  • Hot glue
  • 2 jumbo craft sticks
  • 2 clothespins
  • 1 produce stand template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 1 red pipe cleaner
  • 2 green pipe cleaners
  • 2 beverage caps
  • Scissors, tape, and hole punch for construction
  • Markers for decoration
  • Scraps of tissue paper
  • Assorted pom-poms

First, pattern the box with colored masking tape (or markers).  Decorate the poster board “roof” with markers and fold lengthwise. Tape a piece of pattered paper around the tea tin. Snip a toilet paper tube into two pieces (one piece was 2.5,” the other was 1.5″). Cut the top part of the paper cup off, creating a “basket” out of the bottom, with 1.5″ sides.

Then bring everything to hot glue central.

Whip out your corrugated cardboard base and glue the box in the center, the tea tin on one side, the toilet paper tube pieces on the other side, and the paper cup in front of the tea tin.

produce stand pointersThen, hot glue the bottom of 2 craft sticks on either side of the box (sorry about the blah image, I thought it would be easier to demonstrate it this way).

craft stick supportsBlob hot glue on the tops of the craft sticks, then gently press the roof on.

roofFinish by hot gluing two clothespins on the front of the box to hold your “posters.”

clothespinsWhew! That’s quite a lot of hot gluing (especially since there were 24 kids at my story time that day)! To keep them busy, I handed out the produce stand template for coloring and cutting.

Next up, the hooks for the hanging baskets! Cut the red pipe cleaner into fourths. Then, fashion each piece into a hook like this:

pipe cleaner hookThen tape the top of each hook to the underside of the roof.

hook taped to roofUse the hole punch to punch out the black dots on each hanging item on the template (namely, two baskets, a bunch of bananas, and a bunch of peppers). Hang each item on a hook.

Now it’s time for other creative decorating details, such as:

  • Taping the template “trays” to the box “counter.”
  • Clipping the template “posters” to the clothespins on the front of the stand.
  • Taping the template flowers to green pipe cleaner pieces and tucking them in the toilet paper tube “vases” (you can put tissue paper in the vases too).
  • Filling the beverage caps with tissue paper & pom pom produce.
  • Filling the paper cup “basket” with pom pom produce.
  • Taping the template “Special!” sign somewhere. Perhaps on the paper cup basket?

I had some 3.5″ organza bags left over from another program, so I taped an extra hook to a craft stick roof support and hung 2 bags from it. Some kids started “shopping” for produce with the bags right away. Pretty cute!

organza bagNow for the FINAL challenge – the cash register! It’s a little tricky to fold, so some kids might need help. To begin, face the cash register towards you like this:

cash register step 1Then fold the “tab” downward.

cash register step 2Then fold the parts above and below the “base” downward.

cash register step 3Flip the register over, and tape the “tab” panel to the back of the sales panel (the sales panel is the one with “$3.00″ written on it).

cash register step 4Done!

cash register completeTape the register to the top of the tea tin and your produce stand is complete!