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Come and Play
ELC Play Food
Member Name: Sarahjh
ELC Play Food
Advantages: The plastic food is robust
The Early Learning Centre have an amazing range of toys to suit all age groups. Two of our older grandchildren have the ELC double swing in the back garden and they have had hours of pleasure swinging to and fro. Children learn so much by playing and it is intriguing to watch them as they act out certain roles during a play session. As grandparents we are lucky, we can join in with the playtime and go home after an hour or so! Dressing up and role play are always great favourites. The children love to play shops and of course we have to be the courteous customers.
The toddler loves the plastic supermarket trolley that we bought from Argos. If you are playing shops then it is essential to have plenty of stock for the customers to choose from. The youngsters are encouraged to interact and to investigate the stock, often there is also a period of reflection as they come across items of food that they have never seen before. The cupboards can be raided to some extent but then we need some play food. At the same time as we bought the shopping trolley we also purchased a set of plastic play food. The kids had great fun with it while it lasted but the plastic was thin and the pieces of food soon began to cave in. Given that the kids learn so much from playing shops we decided to buy another more robust set of play food.
I don't feel that it is essential to have boxed food in the play food sets. Our homes are filled with goods that are packed into small boxes that can be taped up safely and used in the games. After spotting the play food set on the Early Learning centre website I was determined to buy it. The set costs £12 and we thought that it offered decent value for money.
The boxed set of play food contains a mixture of healthy and not so healthy food. There are burgers, hot dogs, cupcakes and chocolate but they have balanced it out by adding a fish, some fruit and a few vegetables. The older children know the names of the foodstuff but the younger ones have fun as they pick the food up and try to tell you what it is. The set of play food is made from a sturdy plastic that bends but bounces back into place, it is strong enough to withstand tough exploration. The small parts don't have any sharp edges but any role play game that includes little ones really does need supervision.
I love the ice cream cones and the ice cream comes away from the top of the cone. The Early Learning centre have even decided to go up market and add a couple of mange tout peas! The two plastic eggs are quite realistic but I wondered if every child regularly enjoys an Avocado pear.
The food can be bought and fed to the hungry dollies and teddy bears that are ready and waiting. There are no sticky labels on any of the plastic pieces which is good. The food can also be used for dolls picnics, get the dolls teaset out and the plastic plates, take the whole thing out onto the grass and let them enjoy their play. This has to be one of the good things about small toys, they are transportable and can be enjoyed anywhere.
Though the food set from the Early Learning centre is plastic it is still tactile to some degree. Some of the pieces have rippled surfaces and others have `bumpy` finishes. Through time a child will come to recognise certain pieces by feel. There is scope to talk about the child's favourite foods, they may enjoy eating strawberries but loathe eating peas! Ask them to close their eyes and feel the pieces of food, in no time at all they will be able to identify the foods that they enjoy through shape.
The plastic play food is washable and it needs to be after it has been rammed into sticky little fingers and nibbled by gooey little mouths. If it is played with regularly then it is going to need to be cleaned quite often.
Children's games that involve interaction let them use their creative imagination and definitely encourage social skills. This play food set may be a few pounds dearer that others but the pieces are strong and well made.
Summary: A set of play food that offers hours of enjoyment