SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) It’s common to ask kids to stop “playing with their food,” however, when playtime rolls around, food and fun go hand in hand.
Role-playing games involving grocery stores, cooking, restaurants, and other food-centric activities and scenarios, can be excellent opportunities to teach kids about flavors, colors and numbers. They can also model how to interact in common social situations and help kids develop a healthy relationship with food. With that in mind, here are a few toys and games to try with little foodies:
1. Run an Ice Cream Cart: Learning is sweet when pretending to run an ice cream cart. The Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart from LeapFrog, for ages 2 years and up, lets kids create a variety of imaginative and tasty-looking ice cream combinations using four flavors of ice cream, three toppings and three syrup flavors. Kids can use the magic scooper to build customer orders, which will recognize the colors and flavors, then press the pump to add pretend syrup while counting to ten. By choosing from six animal order cards and following the instructions, kids can build memory and sequencing skills. They’ll have fun ringing the bell to let “customers” know their order’s up! Then, when they’re ready to move to a new location, they can store the accessories and push the cart around to hear upbeat songs and music.
2. Throw a party: Have your child throw a “dinner party” and invite all their stuffed animals to attend. Pretend to prepare a big festive meal, going through the steps of cooking each dish. Then, set the table and sit down to dinner with your “guests.”
3. Go on a Picnic: Learn about colors, shapes, manners and more while on a pretend picnic with the Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket for ages 6 months and older. Kids can lift the lid to hear cheerful phrases and unpack the 15 play pieces, including colorful plates, forks, cups and food. The interactive shape sorter on the lid recognizes and says the shape and color of each food piece. Kids will hear polite food requests and learning songs by pressing the butterfly button, and get rewarding responses that encourage good manners when they drop the correct food in the basket.
4. Run a Farm: One of the best ways to familiarize kids with where food comes from is to play farm. Incorporate a lightweight watering can, along with toy foods, into the game and pretend to do chores like watering plants, harvesting crops and gathering eggs.
5. Go Shopping: Kids can take turns being the shopper or the store clerk when playing with the Count-Along Basket & Scanner, designed for ages 2 years and up. Featuring play food, shopping lists and an interactive scanner that recognizes each food piece, kids can carry the shopping basket or expand it into a rolling shopping cart, switching between three interactive play modes to learn all about food groups, names of food, colors, shapes and numbers.
Food is a central part of life, providing nourishment and an opportunity to gather with loved ones. That’s why it’s so important to make sure it’s part of playtime too.