Making homemade play food out of felt
Some of our homemade play food
This project ended up keeping my children busy for days on end this past winter! I normally don't even glance at the sales fliers for hobby stores, but last fall I made a trip for some sales and came home with various things like oven-bake clay and sheets of felt. The felt was 10 cents a sheet and I got a couple of almost every color. I wasn't sure if I had made a good decision or one I would later regret!
Since my kids love to sew, I got the idea for them to make homemade play food using the felt fabric I had bought. This worked even better than I could have hoped! (I had never used felt before, so I didn't know how great it could be for crafts.) Felt is fairly stiff so it lays flat and is easier for kids to handle. It also doesn't ravel, so it's easier and quicker for them to sew with it. And I had tons of colors for them to use!
I used Google to look up pictures of play food made from felt. We copied a couple of the ideas we saw there, but mostly the kids just came up with their own ideas. Yes, we ended up with some pink popcorn and a "sandwich cookie" with green filling... but more importantly we all had fun and even the littlest ones (almost-2 and almost-4) were participating.
My personal favorite was making felt pizza: brown or tan for the crust, a layer of red for the sauce, and a layer of white for the cheese. Then we cut toppings like green peppers, pepperoni, and black olive slices! Sewing it was a fun challenge for the kids, as they wanted it all to look perfect.
I require the older kids (say, ages 7+) to tie all their own knots and thread their needle. I helped for a while, but most of the time they were all at the kitchen table working mostly on their own.
I helped Moshe (3) make a cookie. He cut out all the sprinkles and pushed each one onto the needle as we sewed them to the top of his cookie. He had so much fun making this!
Having some real hot cocoa with the pretend food
The children have used the play food with the play kitchen we have, with baskets for "picnics", and with play money (or foreign currency) in a "store".
Eliyahu (7) made this store with some of the homemade felt food. (Notice the green "key lime cheesecake"?! It was a challenge at first for them to create a 3-dimensional piece of cheesecake.) There are price tags for each item, and he used his collection of foreign currency to allow his siblings to shop at his store.
If you have children ages 3+ (or love to do this kind of thing yourself!) I found this to be a great project with lasting entertainment value. :)