The humble toy kitchen that kids play with has come a long way with the food selection. While many of us grew up with the old standard toy foods such as cereal, eggs, fruit, and juices, diets and food choices have changed dramatically in the last few years.
Adults (and their children) now dine on more global foods such as charcuterie boards, sushi, dim sum, tacos, tortillas, fish cakes, and more. So it makes sense that their kids want to cook those types of foods in their play kitchens. Children grow up in a connected world – they can use foods to experience different cultures as well.
For brands, it’s a great opportunity to market to the parents of tomorrow’s shoppers – the kids. Marketers need to respond to all types of new trends and things that interest the consumers. Food clearly reflects consumers wants at the time.
The toy foods also help get kids interested in trying new foods, plus learn about the culture of the food. For example, a child who likes to play with the sushi kit might become curious about Japan and its culture.
Toy designers have been careful in how they present cultural foods. For example,
labels for the taco set are written in English and Spanish. And there is opportunity to explore all sorts of cultural and geographic foods. Food definitely helps us learn about the world.
My favorite toy – the toy cappuccino machine.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the types of foods that students eat.
- Show the websites of toy food companies.
- Short video about a play cappuccino machine: https://youtu.be/zMtS6CFvmjo
- Melissa and Doug: https://www.melissaanddoug.com/products/fill-fold-taco-tortilla-set
- Learning Resources: https://www.learningresources.com/noodle-knockout-8482-fine-motor-game
- Maisonette: https://www.maisonette.com/product/charcuterie-basket?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=wp_g_conv_ff_pmax_all_play_0&utm_content=g_conv_ff_0_pmax_all_play_0_0_0&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw2cWgBhDYARIsALggUhqN0W_GhU6Yc9mKLwlgmR7pKlu6drzy3SMphVufFwnAHwn-abC2zmQaAolGEALw_wcB
- Tender Leaf: https://www.tenderleaftoys.com/products/babyccino-maker
- Divide students into team. Have each team select a toy food group and prepare a marketing plan. Include sections on target market and promotional plans.
Source: Morales, C. (3 March 2023). In the toy kitchen, tacos, lumpia and charcuterie are on the menu. New York Times.