Play Food

There are so many reasons why play food is great.  First it’s something that the child has hopefully seen and possibly experienced first hand.

We’re talking imitation skills here.  Because a child usually has first hand experience watching his parents prepare food, he/she is able to have an idea of what to do with this food.  This is where pretend comes in.  First it will just be imitating the motor actions, but then it can turn into thematic play.

I like the food that you can cut because it also incorporates fine motor skills. Some of the ones I have purchased in the past have been hit or miss. Melissa and Doug Toys are always a good go to.

I also really like the Learning Resources play food because the quality is really good. I have the Farmer’s Market Sorting Colors set, and my students have loved it.  It’s not the cheap plastic that a lot of the play food turns out to be.

I’ll post some of my favorites below. These are toys that I either own, have had in my classroom in the past, or have personally played with, so I know that I like them.

So here’s my list of things to do with play food in random order (aka, however it comes to my mind)

  • Have a picnic
  • Feed stuffed animals or puppets
  • Play the “like it”/”don’t like it” game.  Make funny faces as your child “feeds” you, and over exaggerate when you like it or don’t like it.  Then do the same thing with the puppets
  • Match the pieces of food that go together
  • Match the food to pictures of the food
  • Categorize the food
  • Cut the food and prepare a meal
  • Be a waiter and take the child’s order or vice versa
  • Make a stew
  • Set the table before you eat
  • Have a tea party
  • Plant the food in a sandbox or sensory table
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Hide the food, and search for them like an Easter egg hunt using a grocery list

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