Playing make-believe is attractive and fun for kids, but not only: it also helps them try to interact with others and understand the world around them.
Toy kitchens and their sets – pots and pans, cutlery and plates, tea set, food – are key toys because, as open-ended toys, they encourage imaginative and pretend play.
For this reason, as soon as I could, I set up a toy kitchenette in a corner of my kitchen, enriching it over the time with cookery utensils and food play sets, some received as a gift, some purchased, mostly crafted by myself mixing different techniques (crochet, sewing, salt dough modelling) and using different materials (cotton yarn, T-shirt yarn, fabric, felt).
I crafted for my girl a diversified set of toy food (her big brother enjoys playing with it too!): pizza, typical Italian first courses, second courses and desserts. For most they are Italian treats, but I’m biased 😉. I liked the idea that my sweetie could familiarize – through play – with traditional Italian food that I often prepare for dinner, because at home “we eat as we speak” – translating and inverting a popular Italian saying 😊.
Sew-crochet Play Food SET
Two Autumns ago, many times my daughter saw me very busy with yarns, fabrics and coloured felt, until one day I presented to her a set of toy food for her lovely little play kitchen. It included: pizza slices, pizza to compose, “uovo al tegamino” (fried egg), meatballs, sausages, a “crostatina” (tartlet) and a slice of chocolate cake. They were greeted with a loud “WOW!”
A few weeks later her kitchen got another Italian play-food set, completely made of salt dough. “What are, mommy, these square objects, rolls, tiny balls, flat things?” my daughter told me when we were salt dough modelling one morning.
All those “strange objects”, with mommy’s help, turned into: a slice of crostata, a cupcake, a slice of sponge cake, a doughnut, cubes of brownie, and also ravioli, gnocchi and even a piece of lasagna!
Here my salt dough recipe.
- 1 part of cooking salt
- ½ part of plain flour
- ½ part of cold water
- Mix the salt and flour together, add small amounts of water at time and knead
- Keep adding water and knead until the dough stays together and it is not too sticky.
- You can start modelling whatever you want straightway!
- Bake for about 1.5 hr – 2hr at 120°C, until dry and hard. Once cooled, you can keep your salt-dough sculptures in their natural shade, otherwise try to colour them using tempera paint to make them more realistic!
Children menu template – an easy papercraft project
Have a seat on your kids’ restaurant and enjoy pretend-playing with them. “Are you angry, mommy?”, “What do you prefer: ravioli, gnocchi or lasagne?”, “Would you like a pizza?”, “What do you like as a second course?”, “Fancy a dessert?” and so on…
When we play, we often use a personalised food list menu, that I crafted for my little one with text and images. Icons are useful for pre-schoolers; school age kids can read the menu items instead. Moreover, mine is bilingual, English and Italian.
Watch this video to learn how to make an easy mini-book from a single sheet of paper without using glue nor staples. You just need scissors!
Here for you a free printable empty menu to fill with your very own delicatessen!
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2 thoughts on “Playing make-believe – play food for toy kitchen”
The egg looks amazing, it’s very ingenious 😉👍. We will be your first students if you decide to teach small groups 😘🤗
Thank you! I will let you know!!!
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