Play kitchens are the ultimate holiday kid gift, especially if you stock them with cool play food and pretend dishes.
If you’re giving a child a play kitchen, you’ll need to gather up some play food, dishes, and accessories to go along with it. You can buy some play food and dishes or get creative and make them all yourself.
Pretend food holders for a play kitchen:
- If you’re going to make and gather play food, you will need a place to store it. Really any container will work but stay clear of plastic. If you shouldn’t use it in your own kitchen, why have it in your child’s play kitchen? Any small wooden boxes, cardboard boxes, or even thrift store jewelry boxes will work.
- Gather old small canning jars, clean mayo and jelly jars, and so on. Glue cute handmade or computer made food labels on the jars.
- Make some small and inexpensive reusable cloth baggies with scrap fabric. You can even write on the baggie with a fabric pen. I.e. “Flour, beans, etc.”
- If you’re making some larger pretend food items you can put them in some small child-sized wooden crates.
- Cleaned out spice jars.
Great play kitchen food ideas that cost less:
Real food is actually the least expensive way to stock a play kitchen. It won’t work for all food items like eggs or fruit, but it does work for an amazing amount of dry goods. Head to your local grocer, hit the bulk section and look for…
- Dry pasta – get a thick shape that hold up, like pasta shells
- Hearty dry cereal that won’t crumble all at once
- Dried beans of all colors
- Popcorn kernels
- Colorful spices – you’ll want to put these in tiny spice jars with the lid glued on tight. They’re for fun and pretend, don’t let your little one shake spices all over of course
- Dried peas
Kids love this kind of stuff. I’m sure you can think of lots more. Just be sure to use common sense. If you have a little one, don’t buy any small choking hazard items. Remember to also save stuff like old egg cartons and smaller cereal boxes – both look great in play kitchens.
Pretend food you and your kids can make:
Play dough, or clay is an excellent play food medium because your child can make detailed food that lasts a long time, in an array of colors. If buying play dough, look for brands made with organic ingredients and vegetable colorants. You can also make some inexpensive homemade organic play dough yourself so you can be sure it’s safe.
Easy ideas of pretend food to make with play dough or clay include – small green peas, grapes, an apple, eggs, cookies (use cookie cutters), pancakes, and pretzels.
Felt is another excellent eco-friendly medium with which you can make every food item under the sun. It can be overwhelming to get started, so you can browse some pattern shops for ideas, or just gather inspiration to create your own food items. Check out the following links for ideas.
- Tea Set Felt Food PDF Pattern– Tray, Teapot, Teacup, Saucers, Sugar Cubes, Lemon Slices, Tea Bag, Napkins. PLUS a huge array of other felt food pattern goodies.
Visit my pal Marye at Planet Green for more excellent ideas – Make Your Little Chef Homemade Play Food.
Dishes and extras:
- It’s less expensive to get real dishes than toy kitchen dishes. Go to the thrift store and look around. You can probably find all the small plates, cups, pots, bowls, wooden spoons, cookie cutters, rolling pins and silverware a play kitchen will need. Usually for under $20. Plus it’s green to go used.
- You can also use your clay again and make some simple dishes and pots or simply raid your own cupboards for extra dishes you have.
- Make some inexpensive tiny cloth napkins with scrap fabric.