Children's Fancy Dinner Party

This is for frugal family fun. Every summer when my children were home and wondering what to do, they would plan a family "restaurant dinner" night. They had to come up with the menu (something they could fix with very little help), cook the food, set up a fancy table, and even make menus. They had to plan everything right down to the shopping list. The menu was usually something inexpensive like spaghetti or meatloaf and would use things I normally bought. They would even use their blackboard to list the "specials" of the day.


At dinner time, my husband and I would be greeted at the door by our Maitre d' and escorted to our table. The table would have a tablecloth, candle, and our best dinnerware. We would be handed our menus with drink selections and the special of the day printed on them. We would be asked for our choice and the Maitre d' would write it down and we would be served. All this was great fun and it didn't matter what the children made since we all enjoyed it greatly. It gave the children hours of fun as they planned the meal and got everything ready. We did this once a week for the whole summer.

By Shirley Mann from Vermilion, OH

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May 19, 20100 found this helpful

WONDERFUL! That is one of the best ideas I've ever heard for summer activities...bravo.


With that activity, you taught them meal planning, shopping, food prep and serving portioning, presentation, clean up [gives them a realistic idea of what actually has to be done in real world to feed them].Of course they are learning about income, outgo, budgeting; the real cost of things. How to make sure each person is fed, to stretch resources.

They are learning to cook, to plan, to think ahead, all skills needed to maintain themselves in life, as well as a family. Not only that, they are learning how to be gracious hosts, and how to properly set a table, and create ambiance. Too cute.

I was raised in a from scratch family, and my Dad was sort of an inventor/entrepreneur, jack of everything.
What I learned in terms of seeing and understanding all the steps in making things has been invaluable to me. As a result, I know how to do so many things; the more you know, the greater your chances of solving problems with your own creativity.You are giving your children an education in more ways than one, believe me.


Great work, parents. Just great.

Some of my best summers were those where there wasn't that much to do, but enough available money
[just] to imagine and create.

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May 21, 20100 found this helpful

Really an excellent tip. Even canned tomato soup can be made fancy with canned, diced tomatoes, and grilled cheese using a slice each of American and Swiss cheese.
For the younger set, they can "cook" what they're good at. Even peanut butter sandwiches and milk can be special served with the good china.

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