As little girls, my sister and I spent hours and hours mixing and cooking up delicious pretend meals. We'd invite our parents, our friends, and of course our favorite dolls (the ones in the photo above were lovingly saved from Grandma's attic) to elaborate tea parties and celebrations. We played with the same metal dishes and cardboard food that my mother played with when she was a girl.
Now my daughters are ages 2 and 4 ... and guess what they're getting for Christmas this year? My mother has divided her childhood play dishes and cooking tools into two batches, one for my sister and one for me to hand down to our daughters. I'm so excited to see them playing just like we did. (And, seriously, if they don't like it, *I'll* play with it!)
Some of Mom's original cardboard food from the 1940s and 1950s still exists, but I'm going to keep that safe as a memento. Instead, I'm making my own play food out of yarn and felt.
Play food is great for both girls and boys, and not just at the holidays, but any time of year. It might not be the flashiest gift at the birthday party, but it'll become some of the most - used toys in any child's room. In fact, there are TWO play food areas at our local Children's museum, and both areas are always really popular. In one, there's a little house and kitchen all set up, and in the other, there's a felt pizza-making station.
Be warned, if you decide to start making your own play foods, this is one of those crafting tangents that quickly grows into obsession. (Check out this felt play food post on a Craftster forum to see just how far it can go.) So far, I've scoped out sources for supplies, sites full of images and ideas, and PATTERNS. There are so many adorable PATTERNS.
Check out these cute foods from Craftsy members (click on any image to find out more. Lots of these have patterns, and some are even free.)
Whether you knit, crochet, sew, or none of the above, you can make play food! It's a colorful, cute, educational gift that any kid will love to receive. Even adults will love to find a cute crochet cookie or knit cupcake in their stockings!
Did you play tea party as a kid? What were your favorite foods or pretend parties to throw?