This is a ridiculously basic how-to. Simply put, it is upcycling brightly colored, realistic images from food packaging into realistic looking, free, recycleable, toy foods for children to play with during imaginative food-related play (kitchen, restaurant, tea party, etc).
The main image is a selection of play food cards in my sons' toy kitchen. The second is a view of the kitchen, which is itself hacked from a modular shelving system (similar to the Ikea IVAR shelves, if you want to start from the same place I did), using a selection of found/recycled materials. The table that forms the "L" was being thrown out by a local daycare center and I rescued it with permission.
Step 1: Tool and Materials
- a pair of scissors sharp/strong enough to cut food packaging
- food packaging boxes with life-size or smaller images of food
Step 2: Cut Out Food
Cut into the box and cut a rough approximation of the shape you want. Make it bigger than you intend to. I usually go for roundish shapes because they fit well in play kitchenware and have no sharp corners.
Recycle the rest of the box.
Step 3: Trim to Size
Fairly carefully trim the shape to fit the plate/bowl/pot it will be used with. Round any corners for safety, if the shape is not essentially round.
Any scraps usually go right in the recycling bin.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Play until worn out, and make more, recycle the old ones!
If you want to make them last longer, These can easily be laminated, but the process renders them non-recyclable. Up to you!
- for homeschooling/unschooling, ingredients or nutritional info can be written on the backs of the cards, or info about where the foods come from
- Any brightly colored cardboard will work, and you can make soups, pancakes, toast, from plain cardboard colored with markers
- Paint/draw your own toy foods on any sturdy paper or small wood pieces (though, that kind of gets away from the upcycling intent of this instructable)