Encourage handwriting with a summer lunch menu

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

The idea came to me while I was busy making a list of what the kids needed for summer camp. Why not create a lunch menu they could order from?

It would be fun, yes, but with the added bonus that they would write their order down–thereby encouraging summer handwriting practice.

I had no idea I’d stumbled upon such a hit! Later in the week even the teachers at camp said, “So tell us about this lunch menu we heard about.”

Well, there wasn’t much to it–which is why I was actually able to pull it off! Here’s how you can create your own if you’re interested.

1. Make a blank template that the kids can fill out.

Yes, you could also do this on the computer, but I believe in just doing things now, so this is how mine ended up.

Then I used our printer to make enough copies for the entire week–one per day for each child.

2. Write down the lunch choices on a menu and post it somewhere for easy viewing.

I divided mine into categories. As the week passed and we ran out of items, I crossed them out. On other days I added new items on a post-it and stuck it on top of the menu.

3. Help kiddos when necessary.

Food is awfully motivating for a child, right? So “no lunch order, no lunch” created quite the motivation to get this project done daily. My two fluent readers and writers completed their order forms independently.

I worked with Elijah (my youngest) to complete his–we alternated with him tracing and writing and then reading out the letters to me.

4. Create an order form collection slot.

Kids placed orders in the assigned slot, then in the evenings after dinner one child would collect them and be my lunch box assembly line worker.

We did this for our camp week, but you could also do it for everyday lunch options, too!

Any other real-life ideas you use to encourage writing in the summer?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. I love these simple ideas to get kids involved in learning.
    Steph’s latest post: Being Truly Countercultural

  2. This is great! We have a few writing games. One is fill a bag with random toys and things, then take turns picking something out and writing it down. We do it in list form, so she’s also practicing writing numbers, and learning about putting the dot after the number in a list, like 1. 2. 3. etc.

    I’m going to try this one!

  3. This is a cute idea! I think we’re going to try this.
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  4. You’re officially a genius! Going to try this today!!
    Angela’s latest post: Choosing to Stay at Home.

  5. I love this idea Jamie. We are doing this today!!

  6. My kids will love this! Thanks for sharing. The only thing we sometimes do that practices writing is making cards for friends for relatives.
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    • We do this as well–I especially like it when it relates to writing thank you cards for gifts the kids have received. Seems to make it really relevant to them.

  7. This is a fantastic idea! I’m totally going to use this. Thank you! : )
    Dawn’s latest post: 7.22.12

  8. I LOVE this idea!
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  9. *YOINK* That’s the sound of me stealing your idea and applying it to my child-filled summer! Thanks!

  10. This is such a great idea! I’m always trying to think of creative and fun ways to work on handwriting with my little homeschoolers and this is something I have never thought of. Thanks for sharing! (Oh and I like that it’s all hand written, sometimes its just easier and more simple) =)

  11. Kate D. says:

    What a great practical activity! It is useful too, no last minute meal changes. After Kindergarten in public school where my son LOVED having a menu or packed lunch he’s been making charts on is own for home school using pictures and checklists. I like your system a lot! I think I’ll work toward my son making lunch for me and his sisters according to our menus once a week too!

  12. I LOVE this idea! Thank you! My daughter loves to make sings for her room (and everyone else’s) and has been writing letters to grandparents this summer and practicing typing by writing emails. 🙂
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  13. So cute! Great, easy idea.
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  14. Carrie S. says:

    I, too, LOVE this idea! Am making my template and menu offerings right now! Thanks for posting!

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