Monday, June 7, 2010

Give the kids a knife or two

Melissa and Doug 31 Piece Cutting Food BoxWe try to involve the kids as much as is practical in unpacking and preparing our summer produce. The more they interact with the food, the more likely they are to eat it when served, and I'll take any advantage I can get! At four and two, they aren't quite ready to be handed a knife to help chop. But they can--and do--play with their wooden fruit and vegetable cutting sets while we chop away at the real food. Way more fun than regular wooden play food, these veggies are "sliced" into segments and held together by velcro dots. The wooden knife makes a satisfying thwack thwack as they slice through the foods.

Plan Toy Fruit and Vegetable Play Set
We have two sets that we keep jumbled together. The Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box (above, $14 at has a mix of breads, veggies and fruits. The other, by PLAN Toys (left, $15 at, is all produce. The PLAN set is a little higher quality and just plain prettier. But the Melissa & Doug set is the winner for including a bigger variety of items and dividing each piece into more segments. It's far more fun--and realistic--to cut a carrot into four pieces than into two.

The Boy just wandered in and I asked him what he would tell people about his cutting sets: "I like them because they're fun! And because I can put them back together in different pieces." He's referring to their game of making Frankenstein veggies by velcro-ing the segments together in different combinations--one thing you definitely can't do with real produce!

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