I have always admired the wooden play food sets compared to the plastic variety so was very pleased to receive this for my young son.
Melissa and Doug are a husband and wife team hailing from America who manufacture a wide range of childrens products. They are always of exceptional quality and style and this set is no exception.
Within this set you get a wooden basket to store the included wooden knife, and 7 pieces of wooden chopping fruit. The fruit can be chopped with the wooden knife into 17 pieces. The fruit is attached together with Velcro so you put the knife in between the velcroed pieces and chop. It makes a lovely crunching sound when you do the pretend chopping. My little one will play with this for hours. The storage basket is great to store them in so you don't lose the pieces.
The only issue I have found is that with extensive chopping, the paint need to the 'chop site' does tend to chip off which is quite disappointing, however I am not sure how this cold be remedied unless perhaps the knife was made of rubber and not wood.
I picked up our Melissa and Doug cutting food from a charity shop a few years ago. I suspect there may be a few items missing, however for £3 it was a great buy.
The set comes in a lovely wooden tray with a wooden knife and chopping board. There is also wooden food - a baguette, a slice of watermelon, a carrot, an apple, a carrot, a tomato and two slices of bread. All are very smoothly finished off and the food is nicely painted.
The best thing about this food is that you can "cut" it! The food is stuck together with Velcro and using the knife on the chopping board you can separate the segments of food. Each piece of food is realistically segmented, the baguette can be sliced into about five slices, the tomato into three, the carrot in two and the apple in half down the middle. I think this is a really clever idea and both my son and daughter love this, I think because it is so real - just like mummy does.
After being cut apart the vegetables can be stuck back together again ready for their next slicing. The only problem we have had is sometimes if the pieces of food are stuck back together with too much force it can be difficult for my children to get the knife in between the slices to cut them again. A little adult intention sorts this.
My children also like to be silly with this food and creat made-up food items using various different bits of food. I think it's quite sweet and we then give them silly name like "tapple" for a tomato and apple or "Baggot" for baguette joined with carrot. My son is coming three early next year and he still loves this food, my daughter who is five is just growing out of it, so it's had a few years of use between them. My friend son who is 18 months old loves to play with this when he comes around and as there are no small bits, all the food is chunky it's perfectly suitable for toddlers too, although they will need a bit of assistance.
I'm going to give this toy a five as it promotes coordination skills, helps them learn about cooking, can be create and is great fun to play with.
Last Christmas my eldest son who is three and a half years old received a few of the Melissa and Doug wooden cutting play food sets to go with his wooden cooker he got. One of the sets he received was the 'Cutting food set' that consists of bread, vegetables , chopping board and a wooden knife all a great starter for any little chef. On initial viewing of the wooden crate with the items in it I thought it looked lovely and one that was made of good quality. I was very pleased with it like the rest of the Melissa and Doug items my son got.
This particular set comes as most Melissa and Doug sets in a wooden style crate. The crate doesn't come with a lid and after a while I found we did away with the crate and stored all our wooden food together in a big basket. In the set there are eight items of food, a chopping board and a knife. The food is cut and play food so each items of food is made up of several pieces and can be fastened back together with its Velcro.
a green pepper,
a slice of melon,
a bread loaf
and three individual slices of square bread.
In total the set contains thirty one pieces so there is plenty to play with.
Each cut and play item is made up of a few pieces and stuck together with white velcro. Your child uses the wooden knife to slice through the velcro making a lovely crunching sound. We have found after a good six months of using the velcro has only worn a little and although you can tell it has been played with it still works and sticks back together perfectly. It did take my son a little while to get the hang of sticking the correct pieces back together but now he loves doing it, although he does get slightly annoyed with his two year old brother who enjoys making funny looking food!
All the items are made from good quality wood and have been painted with non toxic paint and finishes. The food has been painted in lovely bright colours making it quite easy to recognise what each food is meant to be. The food has been played with a lot by both my sons and minus a few scratches they look in great condition still. For me there is something about wooden toys for children I really like them and feel you can see the quality in them. Holding them in your hand they feel good and both my son's love them.
It does recommend for children thirty six months or over but I find my two year old son plays with them fine. The thing about wooden food is if they are handled roughly they do chip and wear down so I don't allow my youngest to play with them alone as he is known to be a little rough! But as there aren't any really small pieces I can't see why a younger child couldn't get the enjoyment out of the fun food.
As well as fun this set is also educational. For young children it is great for hand eye coordination, cutting the pieces up and putting them back together my youngest son is trying to get to grips with this. Moving on from hand eye coordination there is also ideas for using the food to teach your child colours, counting and eventually fractions, although I think even my eldest is a little young for this yet. On the back of the wooden crate are some ideas of things you as a parent can do with your child to help them along in an educational manor.
I have found with all the Melissa and Doug sets you get a high quality product for the money you pay. Currently it is on Amazon for £14 which is around the price I paid for it last year. It is well worth the money both my boys enjoy playing with it and I to enjoy playing with it with them! It is great for role play and looks realistic what more could you ask for really.
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I'd been looking for some decent wooden cutting food for my daughter as a Christmas present for a while, and while I was aware of this Melissa and Doug set I thought it was a bit pricey at the time and I wanted to find something a bit cheaper! However, my search was fruitless (excuse the pun) and I ended up buying this set from Ebay for £17.99 including delivery which was about the average price.
I knew it would be good quality because we already have a few Melissa and Doug items in the house and have been really pleased with them, so I knew it would be worth the money, but still £17.99 I thought was a high price to pay for a box of wooden vegetables!
When they arrived I was keen to open the box and have a look to see what you actually get for the money and see if I had been ripped off. You in fact get 8 different pieces of food for you to chop up, a wooden knife, a wooden chopping board, and a wooden crate to store them in. Each item is very high quality and really well made, the vegetables & fruit are painted with what seems to be non-chip paint, or that's how it seems because despite a lot of hammer from my 4 & 2 year olds they are still in the same condition. So I have been really pleased and impressed with the quality of the set.
The actual food you get includes:
3 slices of bread
1 courgette/cucumber (I can't tell but my daughter thinks it is definitely a courgette)
1 pepper (again I'm not sure if I have this right but this is what we call it, it could also be a green apple, or even a pear!)
1 slice of watermelon
These are all brightly coloured, chunky items and each are separated by the Velcro in different ways. For instance, the carrot you can slice across the length into 4 chunks, and the same with the courgette. The baguette and water melon are also divided up in a similar fashion. The apple you just slice in half, the pepper is split into 4 quarters, the tomato into 2 large sections with a smaller slice through the middle. The slices of bread are as you would expect a loaf of bread to be sliced.
So each item allows your child to develop their hand eye co-ordination in a different way, holding the vegetable or fruit differently and angling the knife differently. The more my daughters have played with the set, the more confident they have become in chopping up the food. My 2 year old especially because at first she could not get the hang of holding the food with one hand, and using the knife with the other, but as time goes on she is becoming much more skilled and only requires my assistance with the sliced bread.
The Velcro that holds the food items together is very strong and sometimes if you push the pieces together too hard, it can be difficult for a child to initially get the knife wedged in the gaps between the pieces of food to start chopping. So it is best to loosely fix them together, then the play experience your children will have will be a lot easier and more relaxing for you. The crunch noise it makes as you slice through the food sounds quite realistic and my kids seem to enjoy the noise as they merrily go about chopping up vegetables to make their own lunch with.
At first I thought this was going to be a dead loss with my kids because they didn't take to it at first, but after a few trial runs and me showing them what to do, it is definitely one of their more treasured toys. They love to get the wooden crate out and chop up all the food items; they usually end up dividing the pieces of food between their toys and then having some sort of tea party with their toy plates and cups. They also use the chopped up pieces to put into their toy pans and cook Mummy and Daddy some dinner.
My youngest daughter also received a play kitchen for Christmas, and I have often found random pieces of wooden food placed into the cupboards in her kitchen. So although this is initially a cutting set, it can also very easily be used in role playing games, and both my daughters have a lot of enjoyment from it.
The one drawback is that the children never piece the food back together again once they have finished playing. And I have noticed that on a fresh day, if the food is not back in its crate all magically pieced back together again they are not interested in playing with it; it is the initial cutting up of the food that sparks off their imagination.
So on a night when the little scamps are in bed I have to search around the house trying to locate all the pieces, fix them all back together again and position them back in the wooden crate. There is a potential for pieces to go missing, firstly because there are 29 chunks of food in total, once they are all chopped up, and also because children being children they tend to forget where they have left things. Sometimes things can be stuffed down the back of settees or in the bottom of a very deep and overfilled toy box...but fingers crossed; we have not lost anything so far!
I would definitely recommend this set if you are thinking of getting your child some play food. We have had plastic food in the past and the quality has been poor and the items have ended up getting squashed and damaged. But the quality of the wood with the Melissa and Doug set is excellent, and the cutting aspect of it only adds to the enjoyment of the toy as a whole. It is worth the price you pay, and will last a lot longer than plastic food.
This set is currently on Amazon for £13.49 with free delivery (Jan 2011). A bargain price!!