Head on over to Pinterest and search for "Felt Food." Here, I'll do it for you. Isn't it Adorable? I love the donuts with sprinkles. And the sandwich fixings. And the eggs and bacon. And the full on Chinese takeout meal! It looks so real!
And... time consuming. I'd have to get out my needle and thread, good scissors, and embroidery stuff, figure out how to print the patterns, and spend hours cutting and sewing (by hand, since my sewing machines - yes, plural! - are broken.) With my two year old in full on "I Hate Bedtime" mode, I couldn't expect to start such a project until 9 pm. And the sad fact is, I've realized that by that time of night I have no energy left for crafting. None. And if I did, I'd probably be sacrificing my exercise time, which I'm slowly realizing as I approach 39 is really quite critical.
But here was my realization the other day: the Kids Won't Care!
They'd dragged out the kitchen toys and had been concocting a variety of gourmet meals. Eventually they began fighting over a pizza crust (which was currently being used as a taco shell.) A pizza crust, I suddenly realized, I'd made for my now six-year-old son when he was barely two. And by "made," I mean "cut out of a single sheet of felt."
"Hey," I said. "I think I could make some more of those. I might even have the felt downstairs in the craft room!"
A quick search turned up enough felt - probably from that very same project - to make two or three pizza crusts / tortillas, plus some more pepperoni (or ketchup, or tomatoes), bacon (both Canadian and standard), lettuce, cheese, slices of bread, and a variety of squares, triangles, and amorphous blobs that can, at the child's whim, serve as peanut butter, chicken nuggets, dipping sauce, or who knows what. I don't. But they do, and they Love it. (Sometimes it won't even be food. I found several of my four-year-old's miniature dolls and animals using my cheese and Canadian bacon as blankets that first evening!)
I think I invested 20 to 30 minutes in the project - with all three kids in attendance. I didn't trace anything except for the pizza and Canadian bacon circles (I used a plate and cup respectively.) My son wanted pizza slices, and being out of full sheets of felt I found the biggest scrap available and cut a triangle closer to right than isosceles - he didn't care. I've probably already spent longer photographing and typing this post than tracing the circles and cutting them out. Half of it is already lost. I'll be picking up slices of random food for months, and possibly years. Often I will curse it - because toys with lots of bits are as annoying to mothers as they are thrilling to kids. And sometimes I will lose my temper and toss out that danged chicken nugget instead of looking for whatever passes for food storage today. And that's OK, because it came out of a sheet of $0.35 felt and took about a minute to create.
In the meantime I will be served dozens of sandwiches and burritos, and the kids will be having a blast using their imaginations.
And That is a successful project.
A Good hand-made toy is one that they play with.
A Great hand-made toy is one that they play with longer than it took you to make it!