A few years ago, my 3-year-old daughter learned how to read numerous food names through a cutting and pretend shopping activity (pictures on my Instagram post here). Since my daughter is learning Chinese and Korean as minority languages, we did the activities in these two languages. Through this versatile pretend food activity, she improved her vocabulary, grammar, negotiation skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and reading skills! Because she asked to play this again and again, I realized I should make a laminated printable of the foods so that the food is durable and that I can use them again with my younger child. I’m excited to share this educational pretend play food printable with you in English, Chinese, and Korean! Here’s how we used this interactive, hands-on food printable!
This post has Amazon affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for further details.
Pretend play food printable
The pretend play food printable has 7 pages of food organized by food color:
- 红 (hóng / red)
- 橙 (chéng / orange)
- 黄 (huáng / yellow)
- 绿 (lǜ / green)
- 蓝 (lán / blue)
- 紫 (zǐ / purple)
- 棕 (zōng / brown)
Basically, these printable flashcards are disguised as pretend play! Each word is clearly visible, and the definition is obvious by the shape of the food. Through pretend play, your kids are looking at the flashcards repeatedly and has a better chance at memorizing the words through frequent exposure.
What you need for the pretend play food printable activity:
Please review the Terms & Conditions before downloading any materials.
- Food template: free download in Chinese (simplified Chinese & traditional Chinese), Korean, and English available in the Printables Library for Subscribers (If you haven’t subscribed, no worries – it’s free and easy. Click here to subscribe!)
- Colorful paper
- Laminating pouches
- Bowls (pictured are Avanchy bowls and plates)
Toy pots/pans (We love this set from Melissa and Doug)
How to set up the printable pretend food activity:
- Print templates on colorful paper
- Laminate each sheet
- Cut outside of the black lines
Note: Cutting can be time consuming because of the irregular edges. Therefore, I recommend breaking up the cutting over a period of time. Please note that it could be too overwhelming for both you and your kids if you prepare and present it all at once. What we did was focus on one colored food at a time (eg, red then orange then yellow).
Language teaching tips
- If these most of these words are new to your child, introduce the words gradually. For example, for a few days, you can focus on the red foods only. The next week, add orange foods, etc.
- Present the flashcards in a systematic but intriguing manner
- I recommend presenting the flashcards on a tray with bowls and toy pots/pans as if you are serving food. If the set up is beautiful and enticing, then your child will naturally be curious! In the photo at the top of the post, I used a tray from our Melissa and Doug vehicles set. Other times, I use a divided serving platter from our kitchen. I vary it up so that it’s interesting for my daughter.
- Note that our bowls, pots, pans, and trays are plain. This way, the food and words stand out and do not compete with other designs.
Here are our Korean pretend food flashcards:
Here is an example from my Instagram page of how the pretend food flashcards can be presented in a beautiful tray for playful learning!
Educational play ideas:
- Cooking (we love our Melissa & Doug pots and pans)
- Eating (we love our Avanchy baby bamboo feeding set)
- Match with REAL food!!! It’s so important that kids develop strong understanding of items in real life!
- Match different language versions (eg, simplified and traditional Chinese, English and Chinese, Chinese & Korean)
- Sorting by food group
- Plant the food cards in a pretend garden
More hands-on learning activities
If your kids enjoyed the food printables, they will love our pretend play clothing printables! Click on the image below to check out the fun and educational clothing activity!
Happy playful learning, friends!