Making models with food seems like an irreverent thing to do. However, it’s a very worthwhile activity. It’s fun and takes children into the kitchen to learn some valuable crafts for kids. It also encourages fussy eaters to try different recipes and new food. Simple crafts for kids can lay foundations for a genuine interest in cookery through the fun of food models.
Sandwiches are the perfect way to introduce new food to young children; they are more likely to try a new filling than a whole meal. An ideal way of tackling this is by making simple but interesting food models out of the sandwiches.
Use a novelty cookie cutter to transform the humble sandwich into a car, a heart shape or butterfly. This is a fun way for children to help prepare lunch. If they have problems with the cutter, try getting them to push a rolling pin over the top of the cutter.
Other fun ideas for sandwiches are ‘snails’. Fill the bread as usual and cut off the crusts. Now press the sandwich so it’s very thin using a rolling pin. Cut thin strips of sandwich and start to roll them so you create a decorative pin wheel effect. When you have almost reached the end, leave a little section unrolled and top with a wedge of cucumber to form the snails head!
Marzipan is cookery’s equivalent to play dough and a good example of bringing crafts for kids into the kitchen. Kids love the feel- and taste! They can have endless fun modelling it into some great shapes. They could try making a fruit basket with miniature bunches of grapes, apples and bananas. Little marzipan sculptures are ideal toppers for celebration cakes. They are also perfect presents for grandparents, especially if the models are presented in petit fours cases and a hand crafted gift box.
Sugar Mice are a delicacy usually enjoyed by children at Christmas but why wait until then? Although they look impressive, it’s one of the simplest recipes for children to try. Some crafts for kids need a lot of help but this is a chance for them to see a project through from start to sticky finish.
Start by gathering the ingredients.
- 1 egg white
- 450g/ 1lb icing sugar.
- Food colouring if required (red is a good colour, so you can have traditional pink mice).
- A few chocolate buttons for eyes, noses and ears.
- Strawberry shoelaces for tails.
Start by whisking the egg white until frothy. You won’t need to get the eggs stiff as you would with a meringue, so don’t worry, the children won’t lose interest!
Now you need to sieve the icing sugar carefully into the egg whites. Combine the two ingredients thoroughly so you end up with a stiff, smooth paste.
At this point you can also add food colouring. Choose any colour the kids fancy. You could try stirring it through lightly for a streaked, marble look. You may want to add some flavouring too. It’s best to go for a natural flavour or extract like vanilla, orange or almond.
Now the kids are ready to model their mice. Divide the mixture into about 14-16 portions. Pinch off 2 small pieces from each portion and set aside.
Now roll the portions into fat oval shapes with flattened bases. Make one end rounded but pinch the other end into a snout or nose shape.
Take a cocktail stick and pierce the rounded end of the mouse. Now insert a length of strawberry shoelace and push the mixture around the base to secure the tail.
Make similar holes near the snout area and insert shorter lengths of shoelaces for whiskers.
Make sure the chocolate buttons are chilled before you begin as they are much easier to work with. Splinter each button and use the dots of chocolate for the eyes and nose. Finally, use the two reserved pieces of mixture to craft two tiny ears.
Once the kids have finished making all their mice, place on a tray and leave the mice to harden somewhere warm and dry. This will take about a day. Once they are fully dried, they store well in an airtight container.
They are a delight to make and eat. Also, children enjoy giving the mice in decorative boxes as gifts.
Food modelling involves many valuable skills and crafts. Hopefully, it will begin a long and healthy interest in food and cooking. Crafts for kids should amuse and educate a child which makes food modelling an ideal activity.