6 Easy Ways to Make Play Food for Your Kids

Do-It-Yourself Tips for Making Play Food for Kids

A picture of clay play food
This polymer clay food looks good enough to eat. Making your child's play food is simple and it will save you a small fortune over buying it from the toy store. Photo © PetitPlat / Stephanie Kilgast / Flickr

Kids love play food but even the cheapie sets are expensive. Bring out your child's imagination and learn how to make play food for your children with these unique do-it-yourself ideas:

Paper Play Food

Want play food in 5 minutes or less? Grab some construction paper and start cutting.

Make pizza with cheese, peppers, pepperoni and mushroom toppings. Serve up some toast with butter. Your food will be one dimensional but construction paper is a quick fix for play food on a rainy day when you're in a pinch.

Clay Play Food

Use multiple colors of modeling clay to shape a variety of "yummy" play foods. Veggies, cups of juice, hamburgers -- if you can think of it, you can mold it with modeling clay. You can even make your own modeling clay out of items you already have around the house.

Let the clay dry to have permanent play food. Or, put the clay away at the end of play time to make new foods together tomorrow.

Felt Play Food

Felt comes in many bright colors and it's also very inexpensive. Full sheets typically cost less than a dollar. You have two options with felt play food. Use teddy bear stuffing to give your play food shape, then seal the edges with fabric glue or sew them together using a needle and thread.

Cupcakes, sandwiches, pancakes, fruits and more are very easy to make with felt. You can make a complete set of play food for under $10. Plus, felt play food is durable and easy to clean.

Crochet Play Food

If you're handy with a hook and yarn, crochet your play food. It's more time consuming but if you love to crochet or simply want to learn how to crochet, this is a great quiet time project for you after the kids go to bed.

You can crochet ice cream cones, waffles, sushi, even a jar of peanut butter.

Use your favorite search engine to find free tutorials to crochet all sorts of play food.

Or check out Etsy. Master crocheters can crank out a piece of play food in less than an hour. Then they put them up for sale in their shop. Message one to find out if you can't get a price break on a small bundle of food.

Sponge Play Food

Turn squishy sponges into play food. Sponges can be painted or topped with fabric from old clothes for color.

Cakes, candies, breads and meats like meatloaf can be made in minutes from sponges. Sponges give you many play food options. To dress up your play food you can use a variety of media, such as old stuffed animals, towels and T-shirts.

Wooden Play Food

Wooden play food sets are cute and durable. They're also costly ... unless you make them yourself.

The good news is, this type of woodworking is a very easy DIY project. Since most of us don't have a saw handy, hit the woodworking or hobby shops online or in your city to find all sorts of wooden shapes like triangles for pizza, rectangles for cheese slices and toy wheels for doughnuts. Turn your play food project into an afternoon of crafting and you'll end up with some beautiful wooden pieces that your child will come to cherish as a keepsake.