One of the most captivating activities for youngsters in our house is working with food – helping to prepare it and serve it, and of course, eating it. We let our 4 year old help out when we’re cutting vegetables by giving her a standard table knife (butter knife) and setting her up with a cutting board and a carrot or celery or other veggie, and she enjoys it immensely. But when we aren’t in cooking mode, having a play food set to work with will keep her busy for hours.
The folks over at Gummylump were kind enough to send me the Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box to review, and my daughter has been hooked on it ever since she opened it.
The Cutting Food Box has eight different food items that are ‘cuttable’, held together with velcro until the child begins the food prep. It also comes with a cutting board and wooden knife, and when the kids cut the veggies or bread, it makes a sort of crunching noise as the velcro parts, giving kids a little audible feedback in their play.
Included are a carrot, a cucumber, an apple, a bell pepper, two kinds of bread, a tomato, and slice of watermelon, all fitting together into a wooden crate. My daughter has been having loads of fun preparing treats for us all – taking our ‘orders’ as if in a restaurant, and then bringing us a plate filled with the food.
This play food set feels like it’s made to last, and at a price point well under $20, it’s sure to make a great holiday or birthday gift.
[Update: Gummylump has generously offered to give away a Cutting Food Box to one lucky Eco Child’s Play reader! To enter, leave a comment here with your favorite food-related activity for kids. We will pick one reader at random on Tuesday, December 29th.]
Thanks for all of your comments and entries in this contest! I used Random.org to pick a winner, and the winning comment is #39, Lauren.
I bought this exact set for my two kids a few years back and am very disappointed in it. ALL of the pieces are missing huge amounts of paint — it just flaked right off! The knife blake broke and turned into a dang “shiv” which then had to be tossed out. And lastly the cutting board snapped in two lengthwise. They have other wood toys that have held up wonderfully, but in my experience this set is not worth the money.
Derek Markham says
Odrade – How long was it before the pieces started flaking paint or breaking? Just curious – it’s hard to review a product over a long period, so I’m interested in knowing how long yours lasted.
Jennifer Lance says
Odrade, I agree. The set I bought for my daughter quickly quit going back together as the velcro collected dog hair, and our cutting board broke too. We have the same set at my preschool, and it has held up much better under more use, but perhaps less “abuse”.
What is the word on the quality of this company in general? I’ve only seen M&D items “Made in China.” I’m skeptical at best, but am interested in other’s views.
I am not so excited about Melissa&Doug products either. The only pieces I like are the wooden puzzles. I bought the music set and every single one of them ended up breaking and not even after a very long time. And I believe that wooden toys should last a long period of time (My son just got my little brothers´s building blocks for example) The paint also started flaking after a few days. I think the problem is that compared to companies like HABA they are using really cheap wood (like pine) which is usually very soft and once it´s dented the paint comes off. I had to take it from my son since he still put toys in his mouth once in a while. I think there are better wooden toys out there that are affordable but don´t seem to be made so poorly. My friend owns this set as well and she had the same problem with the velcro not working too well after a while.
I have this for my own kids and have not had any problem with the paint flaking at all. In fact, if you do have that problem, you should call Melissa & Doug directly to report this problem. Their phone number is on everything they sell.
We have sold thousands of the Melissa & Doug products over the years with very, very few complaints about quality. Any issues like that are always dealt with immediately and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Their brand has an excellent reputation and the reason is quality, price, and service.
You can even visit their web site and email directly to the owners – and they actually read them! http://www.MelissaAndDoug.com
Jennifer Lance says
I should also add, that we replaced our velcro slicing set with the M & D four food groups wooden food. My kids were begging for dramatic play food. Also, at my preschool the M & D slicing sushi set has held up better than the fruit and vegetable set.
My son has always wanted one of these. He’s always helping me in the kitchen. His favorite thing to do is shuck the corn, he prides himself on his silk removal process. I think I will have to get this for my little chef-in-training. Thanks for the review!
@ Derek – the paint flaked off within a year of having it and my kids were only 2 and 4 at the time.
@ Linda – sadly I’ve had other issues with some of M&D’s other products and I didn’t get replies to my emails or calls to them. Not impressed by their customer service which is too bad.
Our favorite food related activity is baking and decorating cookies together.
Leanne G says
My favorite food-related activity is playing restaurant w/ my son. He pretend to be the waiter and cook and bring me tea and sandwiches. I love it!
Stephanie V. says
My little guy loves making pancakes together – so cute!
tvollowitz at aol dot com
My girls LOVE to make “jewlery” with food. I let them string Fruit Loops and Cheerios onto red shoestring licorice, and they spend hours having so much fun.
Tracey Byram says
Liz and I have fun baking cookies together. She also likes making salad, scrambling eggs and setting the table.
We love to decorate cookies and make shapes out of pancakes for breakfast 🙂
Making cookies with the kids. And any thing in the food processor. The kids love taking turns spinning the food.
susan varney says
my grandson and i make numerous things pizza,cakes, and cookies
Thank you for the giveaway. I love picking up little food play items for my daughter to play with. Actually, I should say myself and my son since we love to play restaraunt with her as well!
marge mckoen says
my grandsons love to make popcorn garland
We like making salads with all sorts of interesting ingredients.
Kimberly L says
Making cookies together is our favorite food activity
Donna M. Clark says
We like stinging popcorn together, and making peanut butter pinecones for the birds in winter. Thank you for having this giveaway.
litefoot873 (@) hotmail.com
Annette E says
My daughter likes to help me make chocolate/peanut butter Chex mix.
Renee C says
I love baking with my son. He is good at stirring batter, and all the measuring helps teach him math!
Vicky H. says
It’s amusing to simply have a meal with my God-kids, especially with my God-nephew. He tries to feed other people and will eat things when we’re around that his mother struggles to get him to eat.
Paula Hafner says
My son likes to “dump” things into the bowl and stir when we bake. I measure and then let him put in the ingredients.
Michael Capp says
My daughter loves to help me bake by mixing everything and pouring in the ingredients!
Kristi C says
My son loves to help me fix breakfast every morning. His favorite part is cracking the eggs.
Mellissa C says
I love baking cookies with my kids and also playing pretend restaurant with them.
Denise B. says
Our daughter always helps me with whatever I’m cooking or baking. In between, she plays with her own cookware.
My grandson loves to be in the kitchen, his favorite is baking cookies.
My husband and I include our four-year-old in lots of real cooking activities. She loves to crack eggs, mix together ingredients, and peel vegetables. Under close supervision, she sometimes stirs stuff in saucepans on the stove. We love Mollie Katzen’s two vegetarian cookbooks for preschoolers (“Pretend Soup” and “Salad People”) and highly recommend them. They have healthy, delicious recipes and actually teach kids real cooking tasks (and safety!). Plus each recipe has two versions: a two-page text spread (for parents to read) and a two-page illustrated spread (great for pre-readers).
My oldest LOVES having tea parties with me. And when we’re in our actual kitchen, she enjoys helping her father make pancakes and helping me scramble eggs. (She likes her Playful Chef set a lot!)
We are generally big fans of Melissa and Doug products. We had mix and match magnetic animals that sustained a fair amount of wear, but the items that have resided in the kids’ play kitchen hold up pretty well. Any product where the pigment is not mixed into the medium it’s created from, (i.e. some plastics, some stained wood, etc.), has the potential for chipping. Some is expected… but not an overt amount
Our favorite food related activity is pudding painting. Also, we own many Melissa and Doug products and have never had a problem with the quality or durability.
Measuring out the ingredients… Wee Man loves to do the “prep”work….
Monique Rizzo says
We love to bake cookies together. Thanks for the chance.
Vicki Wurgler says
my grandson loves to help with the salad making-I buy the small presliced veggies and he loves to help!
Susan C says
Picking fruits and vegetables are my favorite thing to do with my grandchildren-especially strawberries!
smchester at gmail dot com
My kids love to play with their play kitchen set!
Derek Markham says
Congrats, Lauren, you’re the winner! Look for my email asking for your mailing address, and thanks for reading Eco Child’s Play!
Karen Gonyea says
My son loves helping me bake cookies 🙂
Julie Moe says
I love baking muffins with my son. He loves to eat them and help stir.
Jennifer S. says
Decorating Christmas cookies! It can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be!
My daughter is a bit young to do any real cooking but we do enjoy stirring cookie dough together. She loves being around the kitchen so I’m sure it won’t be hard to get her interested in the kitchen.
My kids love to bake.
Favorite food activity would have to be baking sugar cookies and decorating them.
i think baking homemade cookies while letting the kids measure and stir is so much fun!
Nicole D. says
My daughter loves to help me bake cookies. Eating them is her favorite part!
Ohhh! I SO want this! My daughter got a play kitchen for Christmas and her favorite is the peel-able and cuttable fruits that we got to go with the kitchen. She would LOVE this set!
Plus, my son loves to bake. His faviorite thing to make is cupcakes.
Thanks so much for the chance to win!
Gayle W. says
My daughter loves to help me cook anything! She’s at the age where she wants to help with everything – it’s so much fun! Her favorite thing to do is breaking the eggs though. 🙂
Ian Heimbigner says
I like the idea of hime being able to cut carrots and other veggies and fruits while I am cooking. what a wonderful toy. Melissa and Doug is an awesome alternative to Plastic.
Chandelle Binette says
My son would love the knife and the apples. I love Melissa and Doug but I dont have this set. I have the caterpilar the block wagon the music set the shape cube.
I would try the imagiplay or plan toys fruit and veggie sets. The wood is not treated, the glue is safe, the paint is not toxic, and there are no harmful finishes on them. They are excellent companies making products that truly last. They are not made in China and are created to be heirloom toys. Every single toy we have of theirs lasts! These two toys are really safe and the companies are dedicated to eco-friendly and kid safe toys, with no chemicals.
Kelly Ann T. says
My kids like to make things for the birds all winter long. We have strung popcorn and cranberries on string and then we hang it on the trees. We make seed covered pinecones with peanut butter and we make our own suet too.
My kids like helping with any kind of dessert. One fun thing they like to do is melt chocolate and spoon it into shapes on parchment, then drop on sprinkles and cool in the fridge. Easy and fun.
My favorite is making cookies with them
My daughter and I love making cookies and cupcakes!
Sheila Hickmon says
My daughter and I like to make cookies, thanks for the chance!
Tracy P says
We loving playing kitchen!
Laura DeLuca says
My kids and I love to make ice cream sundeas
Angie O says
The kids and I love to make homemade pizza! 🙂
We like popping popcorn together!
Sara Thompson says
My son and I love making chocolate chip cookies with each other!
My nephew LOOOOOOVES to play with his toy kitchen.
Sarah Mohr says
My son got a play kitchen from Santa and he LOVES it. He’s constantly pretending to cook things up for us. Thank goodness there aren’t any calories in his treats!
He also loves to bake with me in the “real” kitchen.
Heather Mitchell says
I let my daughters decorate family birthday cakes and they have so much fun!
We love making cookies together 🙂
My favorite activity is baking with my daughter. She enjoys the decorating especially with icing.
Jennifer Jozwiak says
When she’s older we’ll bake cookies together
Linda Kohler says
perfect for my preschool students!
Emily R. says
My kids got a toy kitchen for Christmas. They love to pretend to cook:)
Carmela P says
We really love baking simple sugar cookies to decorate with nuts and chocolate chips. Mandala cookies!! 😀
All three of my kids help me with cooking meals. My oldest daughter is really interested in cooking and I’m starting to teach her recipes. The younger two help with mixing, seasoning, etc.
Lily Kwan says
My favorite food-related activity for kids is going on picnics.
Leslie S. says
My kids love to help me bake.All 4 of them help me with cutting out cookie shapes and decorating the cookies.Thanks!
kathy pease says
we love baking cookies 🙂
My nephew and I love making cookies!!!!
Jane Hoh says
We enjoy making sandwiches with unusual items. Thank you for the opportunity to win this nice prize and Happy New Year to all your subscribers.
we love baking cookies and cupcakes together
tabatha richardson says
my daughter loves to help me bake and cut things up for me. I give her a plastic knife and let her cut things that will with a knife. (* cheese, grapes, and cucumbers*) after her hard work in the kitchen she goes play with hers and cooks for her babies.. Its so cute.