Lately we’ve been looking at play kitchens as an ultimate holiday kid gift. They’re perfect for boys and girls, can be very eco-friendly, and are loads of fun. So far we’ve looked at…
Now, if you’re giving a child a play kitchen, you’ll need some play food, dishes, and accessories to go along with it. You can buy all of these items, make some of them, or even make all of them. If you make play food and dishes, it’ll keep your costs down, plus it’s fun to be creative.
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 I’d 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.
- Get some cool dry goods holders (shown above) for a play kitchen – not too expensive and super cute. Glue a cute handmade or computer made food label on the outside of the jar.
- Gather old small canning jars, clean mayo and jelly jars, and so on.
- 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. 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 and stay away from anything too messy. 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:
Clay is an excellent play food medium because you can make detailed food that lasts a long time, in any color you like, and you can get non-toxic organic play dough or make some natural play dough yourself so it’s green and safe. In fact, even if you don’t make baked clay foods, it’s smart to keep some soft dough in your child’s play kitchen anyhow, then your little one can make any food item. Some good long-lasting clay food ideas include…
Easy ideas include – small green peas, grapes, an apple, eggs, cookies (use cookie cutters), pancakes, and pretzels. For harder ideas, or to gather more inspiration visit The Clay Store. They have a ton of tutorials on making clay miniatures – many great looking realistic food items. Just make them bigger using your clay. Pizza, chicken, hot cocoa, sub sandwiches and more!
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. Good links for ideas include…
- 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.
- Lots o’ felt food patterns – many are very unique.
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.
Later we’ll see some eco-friendly food and dishes you can buy for your child’s play kitchen, but it’s so easy, fun and less expensive to DIY, that I like to share these ideas first.