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Play To Learn Diner Review: Break Schedule Time Activity (Free Printable)

educational activitiesRecently, we received the Guidecraft All in One Play Kitchen for our three children to experience. When I saw that this kitchen had a built-in clock with mobile hands, I knew it would be the perfect setting for the upcoming time addition activity I had planned. This activity is for children who already has the basics of telling time down and teaches them to work more comfortably with time (i.e. adding hours and minutes, translating what an analog clock says into digital time, etc . . . ).

To do this activity, you will need to print out the blank break schedule worksheet below and have a clock with hands that your child can move with his or her fingers. You can also have a dry erase board and dry erase markers or dry erase crayons on hand for an extra activity at the end, but this is optional.

TO PRINT: Click on image to enlarge. Then right-click on image and select print. Hit your browser's back button to return to this page.

After you have printed out the break schedule worksheet, fill in the 1st column with names of several people your child knows, including his or her own name. Then fill in the next four columns to create varying scenarios. The 2nd and 3rd columns are for when the employee is scheduled to arrive and leave work. The 4th column states how many hours the employee is scheduled to work. The 5th column states how long of a break that person should get that day. After 5 or 6 entries, you can start to leave the 5th column blank for your child to fill in. By the end of the activity, your child will likely be able to fill in all the columns.

Getting Started . . .

Explain to your child that he or she is the owner of the diner. In addition to cooking and serving food, the owner must make a break schedule that determines when each employee gets to take a break during their shift. To add a higher level of difficulty, you can tell your child that the breaks must not overlap with each other.

Examples of Questions I Asked . . .

If Jake works from 9am to 6pm, how many hours is he working? To help your child answer this, set the clock's hands to 9 o'clock. Then have your child count how many hours it takes to reach 6 0'clock and have your child verify that the number under the "Total Hours" column matches his or her answer.

If Jake gets a 1 hour break for working 9 hours, what time do you think he should take his break? Your child can choose any time within the shift for the most part. Have your child fill in the digital time in the column labeled "Begins".

If you want Jake to go on break at 12 o'clock and he gets a one hour break, what time should he come back from break? To help your child, set the clock's hands to 12 o'clock and ask your child to advance the hands one hour. Then have your child fill in the digital time in the column labeled "Ends".

After repeating the above exercises several times, if you feel your child is ready, try leaving the "Total Hours" column blank for your child to fill in. Then ask your child to fill in all the columns. He or she should be able to fill in the length of each break based on the previous entries in the break schedule. My son, who will be turning 7 in two months, very much enjoyed filling in the columns himself. This activity takes playing restaurant to a whole new level and helps him to see how math applies to real (and pretend) life situations. I also think he loved being "the boss".

For extra practice with writing words, numbers, and digital time . . .

Ask your child to write out the break schedule for all his or her employees to see on a dry erase board or on a blank piece of paper. You can vary what you ask your child to include. Since my son writes large, I only asked him to put the heading "Break Schedule", the employee name, and the time the employee should go on break. If your child writes smaller, you can also ask that he or she include the time the employee should come back from break or how long of a break that employee should receive.


More about the Guidecraft All in One Play Kitchen . . .

Although this kitchen has many parts, it probably only took an hour and a half for my husband to put together with a little help from me. If you are experienced with assembling RTA, then you should be able to build this alone aside from perhaps having someone hold the doors for you when attaching them. If you are not comfortable with assembling furniture, then having two people will help to speed things along. My husband was extremely impressed by how well the pieces were packed, as well as the sturdy construction. There were no problems with holes not lining up or doors not being square. The one thing that took us a long time was attaching all the hinges, since there were so many doors. The screws used to attach the hinges are tiny, so they are difficult to handle if you have larger hands.

Some of the features that I especially liked . . .
  • The stove top is not just painted on, but rather it is a thick durable plastic that is screwed on.
  • The faucet turns left and right just like on a real kitchen sink.
  • The oven has a rack that pulls out just like in a real oven.
  • This kitchen is attractive and the colors work for both girls and boys.
  • The dry erase board is perfect for leaving messages for your children or for them to write out their pretend menus.
  • This kitchen provides tons of hidden storage.
  • This kitchen is large enough for all 3 children to play at once.
  • This kitchen is tall, so it will provide many years of pretend play.
The only thing I would change about this kitchen is the size of the hooks on the back splash. They are very thick and none of our play utensils or pots and pans have holes large enough to hang properly on them.

One thing I want to point out is that, since we already had a kitchen in our play area, we ended up putting this kitchen in one of the bedrooms. Once I saw a toy kitchen online that was designed to also be a desk. This made me think, why not have this kitchen double as a dresser? I did not end up using it to house clothing, but I do have the right and middle bottom cabinets filled with toys. So, if you think you cannot find the room to add a toy kitchen such as this one, you could consider replacing an existing piece of furniture with the kitchen instead. The children are thrilled to have the kitchen to play with upstairs and I did not lose any storage space by adding it.

To learn more about this and other play kitchens, visit and Guidecraft on Facebook.

Thank you to Guidecraft for sending us a complimentary product sample to base this review upon.