Amongst many typical parental words of guidance is, ‘Don’t play with your food’. So, asking, “What is a Good Age for Play Food Fun?”, may seem like a contradiction sure to leave your home in a mess and your child with sticky fingers and a mask of many foods.  Fortunately, there are more than enough benefits to play food that are sure to impress your taste buds and leave you salivating for more. But just what are these benefits and what is the right age to introduce fantastic foods to a palette pleasing playtime.

If you fancy being the one receiving the tip at the end of your meal, clean off your plates and keep reading; Jaques of London have a feast of prizes awaiting in our picnic week competition.


What Age is Right for Play Food?

When it comes to enjoying the fun of play, all children develop at their own pace, whilst building their own specific interests, even from the earliest ages. However, when it comes to pretend play, toddlers are always keen to experiment once their reasoning and motor skill development has reached a suitable phase of complexity. This is where play food is so beneficial for growing children.

Here at Jaques, we are Montessori toy manic and believe that the best early learning experiences are developed through guided experimentation with play. Roleplaying is ideal for this purpose, as youngsters are provided with the tools of imagination, intrigue, and self-discovery. After all, you don’t want too many chefs spoiling the broth.  

You should always ensure that the size of the play food your children enjoy does not present any dangerous choking hazards – after all, being play food, they are likely to fancy the occasional nibble. With this foody faux pas out of the way, children should be ready for play food by the age of 2. Perhaps a pretend party cake would make the ideal birthday gift for a 2-year-old looking to become the next great little chef.


Why Wooden Play Food is Better

Knowing when to bring tasty treats to playtime is only the first course. There are so many choices when it comes to filling the roleplay kitchen. But as keen cooks ourselves, we stand by our own traditional recipes and when it comes to play food, wood is always the top of our list of ingredients.

So, why are our cupboards bursting with wooden wonders?

When compared to plastic play food, wooden play food is sure to go well beyond the typical sell by date. Plastic play food is easily chewed and crushed by overly eager chefs, whilst their timeless nature means they are a cuisine meant to last for generations.

Wooden foods can also be ideal for teething, with non-toxic finishes utilised to ensure that playtime won’t be accompanied by post meal belly aches.


The Benefits of Play Food

Introducing healthy foods to children can be a nonstop battle. If you are tired of saying, “Just try a little bit”, play food may be the solution to your 5-a-day dilemmas. Vegetable play foods and fruit play foods are a wonderful way to make healthy eating more approachable to your child, making it easier for them to cast aside chocolate and give a hug to healthy eating.

Fun with play food is also a fantastic opportunity to set eating standards for your child and let them engage with the idea of mealtimes in a more exciting and intriguing manner. Developing comfort around normal daily activities will also allow your child to grow confidence in their interaction with real life things.

Of course, no chef would be complete without a super speedy chopping action. Fortunately, play food is sure to sharpen any motor skills in time for tea. Whether slicing through pizza play foods or cracking open the cans of our play food tins set, experimenting with scullery skills and pantry play is eatery excellence when it comes to training dexterity and getting nimble fingers working overtime.

As you can see, there are many play food delights that would love to find their home in the far reaches of your kitchen cupboards. Fortunately, Jaques of London are celebrating picnic week with a host of hunger crushing delights to thrill any diner. For your chance to win a selection of wonderful wooden play foods, please book your table at our Jaques of London Competition Page.

Healthy bodies and healthy brains love to work in tandem. So, once your daily dose of fruit and veg has been enjoyed, be sure to take advantage of the brain fuel on offer in our Mini Minds Hub – Fabulous free family resources for all generations.

Prepare to play shop-keep and the next time a customer asks, “What is a Good Age for Play Food?”, you are sure to be the master of meals, the don of dinners and the superhero of snacks.

Kate Luke
Head Of Brand
After graduating with a 2.1 Music degree, Kate pursued a career in the Music Industry, becoming a professional West End vocalist and a fully qualified Music Teacher, School Choir Leader and Songwriter. As one of Jaques of London’s Creative Editors, her specialism surrounds building confidence and expression through music & play—drawing upon her qualifications in Music Psychology & Child Development. As well as this, she is an accomplished blog writer and published journalist who enjoys promoting the importance of Montessori learning for all ages.
Ben Williamson
Creative Writer
Ben is passionate about Montessori learning for children and has written for many parenting publications to bring the magic of real play to families in the UK. After graduating in 2009, his career has enabled him to work in areas such as Child Development and Psychology. As a great believer that learning starts at home, he combines his experience with his own parenting style to help bring other families together.
Jess Casson
Marketing Assistant
Jess graduated from the University of York in 2022 with a degree in Sociology and Criminology; kickstarting her career in the creative marketing industry through content creation and social media management. One of these roles involved creating content for a children's holiday camp, which alongside a knowledge of Montessori Teaching, formed an interest in childhood development. Utilising her expertise in both these fields has allowed her to promote and share her passions with the online community while exploring her talent for writing and establishing collaborations.
Laura Henderson
Interior Designer
Interior Designer, Laura Henderson, lives in Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Taking a timeless approach to her designs and drawing on her love of colour, antiques, art, modernist furniture and photography she delivers luxurious compositions and peaceful sanctuaries within every space. Her previous experience in furniture design plays an integral role in the development of each of her projects, as does the time she spends getting to know her clients. She uses this to achieve beautiful, practical, reimagined layouts, resulting in projects that enhance a client’s lifestyle, reflecting their individual passions. To learn more see her website

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