Today’s Hint: How to Save on Play Food

Little kids love toy kitchens. And having toy food accessories around only makes the kitchen more realistic, and more fun for pretend play.

But buying toy food in the store can quickly add up (and toy coupons aren’t going to work to cut the costs). Today’s hint, however, is a way to save on fake food by transforming leftover food boxes (Stove Top stuffing boxes, for example) into real-looking food toys.

Play food boxes at the Children's Museum of Cleveland.

Play food boxes at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

I saw this clever trick at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, and according to the museum docents, here’s how the recycling works.

1.) Take the empty food boxes and fill them with paper to help prevent them from caving in during play. The museum staff fills the boxes that visitors donate with paper they would be recycling anyway.

2.) Cover the boxes with clear packing tape (this makes them easier to clean when a quick wipe down is needed, according to the museum workers), and then the boxes are ready for play.

The museum staff says the box toys generally last a few weeks before getting too dirty, and then they rotate new ones in.

Of course, if you’re crafty, you can get much more elaborate with do-it-yourself play food (just as you can with do-it-yourself play kitchens, as Heather Flett of the site Rookie Moms recently pointed out). You can make everything from ravioli to Cheez-Its out of materials like felt, as Ashley Hackshaw, who blogs at Lil Blue Boo, and Mrs. Hopscotch at the blog hellobee did.

You also can find loads more DIY play food inspiration on Pinterest boards like this one and this one. Finally, if your kids aren’t into play kitchens, you can transform the old boxes into non-food toys like little pianos and fire trucks with the help of stickers like those from Box Play for Kids.

What are your tricks for cutting play food prices?

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  1. says

    This is a great post!! There was a time when each one of our four children just loved play food!! I think it’s a fun way for children to pretend.

  2. says

    Great ideas! I will be doing this for my little ones when they are just a little bigger. Right now my toddler loves boxes just for putting in his mouth and the moment. It will be a great project for us both. Have shared on Twitter :)

  3. says

    Our children tend to go to the cupboards and till the cart or box or whatever they are using, with real food from there. Of course, then my food isn’t where i want it when it is time to make a meal. I love this simple way of making the boxes last longer. Thanks for sharing over at Toddler Idea Tuesday.


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