Family make tiny restaurant so kids can eat out
Like so many of us, the Paterson family were missing going for meals out while in lockdown.
They came up with a creative solution: to turn the children’s playhouse into a mini restaurant, so they could go ‘out’ to eat every Saturday.
They head out to the playhouse to enjoy delicious treats themed around a different location each week, so far tucking into Mexican food, Indian delights, pizza, and a fakeaway burger, all from the tiny playhouse – renamed the Teeny Tiny Restaurant – in their back garden in Perth, Scotland.
Dad, Gary and mum, Liz came up with the brainwave as a treat for their children, nine-year-old Violet and six-year-old Arthur, to give them something different to look forward to after a long week of home-schooling.
Each week Violet and Arthur help come up with a theme and transform their playhouse into a different establishment, complete with decorations, props and personalised place settings.
Liz rustles up a three-course dinner with whatever happens to be left in the fridge or freezer, while the kids raid the dressing up box for costumes and the whole family get involved making funny videos of the night for their friends and family to watch.
Gary, 40, and Liz, 37, who run a print agency together, use their skills and printing equipment to create realistic signage including what was needed to turn their kitchen into ‘McPaterson’s’ for the night, where the kids ordered burgers, chicken and chips all served in ‘McPatersons’ branded packaging to be delivered to their playhouse.
Gary said: ‘The idea was born after the children saw Liz and I concerned about our business after the lockdown was announced.
‘They were asking if we were okay and they were starting to worry too. We didn’t like this, so we wanted to do something fun with them.
‘Being honest though, it does also serve as a second purpose with an element of bribery for the them to do well during the weeks of home schooling too.
The videos just became part of the fun and we keep trying to better ourselves each week with the theme, props and dancing.
‘The kids are completely involved in every part of this. We all come up with silly ideas and then we eventually end up with the next weeks theme.
‘Some of the kid’s ideas would be impossible but it’s fantastic to see their imagination running wild with it.
‘They both help decide on the menu, based upon the theme, and then we all start thinking about how we can decorate the restaurant’ what they can wear, what props we have and then how we can shoot a little fun video.
‘Both Violet and Arthur help with the designs, doing some crafts and making the decorations with items we have in the house.
‘We can’t really go out and buy things so the need to be creative with what we have. It’s a great learning opportunity for them too.
‘We all help choose the theme based on what is in freezer and what’s likely to be left in the fridge at the weekend.
‘All the food is produced as cost-effective as possible. Liz is absolutely head chef in the house and she has taken inspiration for each night from various cookbooks and TV shows.’
The family plan to keep the Teeny Tiny Restaurant going as a weekly treat throughout lockdown and once it’s lifted.
‘Without question we will be opening the restaurant on Saturdays after the lockdown, perhaps once a month to keep as fun family night, although friends have been requesting a table,’ says Gary.
‘This all started as a bit of fun, but we would all miss The Teeny Tiny Restaurant if it closed now.’