My father is making my daughter a small wooden kitchen for her second birthday next month and my mother crocheted her some food. I plan on buying her some food to go with it. I'm having the hardest time deciding - felt food or wooden food? Which is better and why do you think so? Experiences? HELP!
Wooden or felt?
We have a combination of both types at our house, but I also have a pretty wide age range of children.
In my experience, crocheted or knitted wool works best for younger children, b/c it's soft enough not to injure anyone if thrown (a typical toddler behavior) and can't be choked on or swallowed. We haven't had as much success with felted wool pieces, fwiw, b/c it doesn't hold up well to the rougher handling of toddlers, and parts can and have come off of our pieces (i.e. a felted piece of cake with felted beads hand-stitched on to it for decoration came apart within weeks.)
We love our wooden kitchen food, but much of what we have is pretty small in scale (smaller than I counted on when I purchased it, in fact), and many of the items made by Haba, for example, advise not to use with children under 3-4 specifically b/c of choking hazards. Also, these pieces HURT if hurled accidentally or on purpose!!
Last idea: we have a number of food pieces made from fabric and sewn via sewing machine (by me.) Sometimes I used wool felt fabric, and other times, cotton. I stuffed them with wool batting when necessary. I made a whole breakfast set this way: pancakes, butter, syrup, bacon, eggs, and green eggs and ham, lol. These have been among our most-used and durable food items! :)
It does thank you!!! My daughter will be turning two which is why I'm so indecisive. I know the 3+ is a CYA by the company but for legitimate reasons. Hmm....she's not really mouthing anymore and her play space is in our room so I'd be with her while playing so I'm not terribly worried. My machine is broken but Aunt Auddie has a serger... ;) I don't want to go overboard because I'm not sure how ready she'll be to actually play with the food appropriately. Lol, she'll love the kitchen just because she can play in the sink and turn the knobs! Thanks for the input. I need to ponder a little more I think.
Do you have any resources for patterns or photos of fabric food? I'm sure I could google it, but it's nice to see something others trust. Thanks!
I just made them up as I went, using real food as my "pattern." I'm sure I perused various online sources, but since this was almost 10 years ago, I don't have any current links to share; I'm sorry!
There is a thread somewhere on MDC on this same topic. We really prefer wooden fruit. Our felt never gets chosen and still looks ratty. Wood holds up better, can be cut more easily (cutting food is awesome), and is usually a better scale for small hands (felt is usually kind of bulky because of the sewing skill needed).
For small people, I think the Plan Toys sets are awesome. I'd start with the cutting set that has the tray and add a fruit or meat or the breakfast set (favorite). Tea set too, but for a slightly older child because some of the fun parts are small. Shop around. Price varies. Attractive design, wear really well, get played with constantly, and the scale is right.
Haba makes great things for older kids but the scale is even smaller (yeah pineapple in a tin).
A lot of people like Melissa and Doug but I don't. The design isn't very good and quality is lousy. And personally, I avoid toddler toys made in China and they've had a lot of recalls. Looks all chewed up and abused and we don't have pets!
I wouldn't worry too much about 3+ except for some of the Haba wooden pieces. If you read a review that something is really small, it is. The peas in a carrots in a tin that both kids adore is very small and I have to watch them both like a hawk. Better to have something like the pineapple.
I see you've already decided, (congrats!) but just in case anyone else is reading this who may have a similar quandry, I would like to second the wooden fruit that is designed for cutting. DS is 20 months and loves those toys. Although, the cloth food sounds awesome too! I'd like to make some for my little one sometime. I happened upon this food sewing project that seems kind of involved, but its very cool. You could just make the berries without the whole plant thing.