How to Make Play Food for Kids

Creative ways to start "cooking" with the little ones.

July 15, 2020
By: Caylin Harris

Related To:

Play With Your Food!

One of the best ways to foster kids’ love of cooking is to give them play food for imaginary cooking. This easy activity uses little leftover bits of craft materials and a little imagination to transform a cardboard egg carton otherwise bound for your recycling bin into playful faux food. Not only does making toys save money, it stimulates little imaginations — so start “baking” cookies and cakes and “churning” ice cream.

What You’ll Need

  • Egg carton
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Large pom-poms
  • Small pom-pom
  • Felt
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Toothpick
  • Tissue paper
  • Washi tape
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum foil

Step One for Cookies: Cut the Carton Domes

Start by cutting down the egg cup part of the carton down, so you’re left with only the circular domed tops.

Step Two for Cookies: Paint on the Dough

Paint a light tan or whatever color you want for the dough base of your cookie. Set aside to dry completely.

Step Three for Cookies: Add the Chips and Decorations

Add the chips with a darker shade of brown paint (or let kids color on rainbow sprinkles).

Step Four for Cookies: Make a Baking Sheet

To make the cookie sheet cut a piece of cardboard and cover with aluminum foil, sealing the seams in the back with some hot glue.

Step One for Ice Cream: Prep the Carton "Cone"

Cut the center piece (the separating cardboard section between eggs) out of the carton.

Step Two for Ice Cream: Paint the Cone

Paint it a light tan and let it dry completely. With a thinner brush, paint lines going diagonally across the cone surface. Paint crisscrossing lines to form the waffle cone patterns.

Step Three for Ice Cream: Make the Scoops

Take a large pom-pom and glue ice cream colored felt around it to create a scoop of ice cream. Repeat with different colors — simulating favorite flavors — until you have enough “scoops” to fill the cone.

Step Four for Ice Cream: Fill the Cones

Tuck the scoops into the cone and top with a red pom-pom to be the cherry on top.

Step One for Mini Cakes: “Frost” the Cake

Cut one egg cup out of the carton. Flip upside down and paint it white (or any frosting color you’d like). Let it dry completely. In a complementary paint color, decorate with paint. Let it dry completely.

Step Two for Mini Cakes: Make a Birthday “Candle”

Use a small piece of yellow and red tissue paper and glue to the top of a toothpick or wooden skewer. Wind washi tape around the bottom of the tissue paper and then around the rest of the stick to create your candle.

Step Three for Mini Cakes: Top the Cake

Punch the skewer into the top of your egg carton cake to make a candle-topped cake.

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