Children love to mimic what they see adults do, whether it be using a cell phone or cooking dinner. Giving children artificial fruits and vegetables to play with helps them learn about healthy eating and about food preparation since they can copy what you do. There are several types of toy fruits and vegetables available so you can choose the ones that best fit your needs and budget.
Wooden Fruits and Vegetables
If you like to limit how much plastic your child plays with or you simply prefer the more natural look of wood, there are plenty of wooden foods for your child to play with. Wooden toys often cost more than plastic but are sometimes more durable so they may be more appropriate for children who play aggressively.
Plastic Fruits and Vegetables
Plastic fruits and veggies are usually brightly coloured and tend to look more like the real thing than wood, though they still look artificial. Many toy companies make fruits and vegetables, including green companies, who offer fruit and vegetable toys made from recycled plastic.
Artificial Fruits and Vegetables That Can Be "Cut"
For even more realistic play, consider artificial fruits and vegetables that come with a toy knife and are held together in sections by Velcro, allowing the child to learn to cut each food into pieces. Some sets also include a cutting board, but if not simply give your child a lightweight, shatterproof board or a place mat for cutting. You can find these fruits and vegetables in both plastic and wood.
Homemade Artificial Fruits and Vegetables
If you consider yourself crafty or are just feeling adventurous, you can make toy fruits and vegetables yourself from paper mache and colourful pieces of felt. Another option is to make the fruit and vegetable shapes with moulding clay that dries and hardens, then paint them.
Watch out for splinters on wooden fruits and veggies. Even high-quality products might splinter over time, especially if your child tends to put the foods in her mouth frequently. Also be sure that any wooden foods your child plays with are painted with lead-free paint.