Fun Printable Pretend Play Food in English, Chinese, and Korean

Pretend Play Food: Free Printable in English, Chinese, and Korean

A few years ago, I made these pretend play food printables for my kids in English, Chinese, and Korean, our family’s 3 languages. Over the years, these food printables have given both my daughter and son hours of fun learning!

Making a sandwich with pretend play food printables - learning toys for kids!
My kids made me a sandwich with their pretend play food printables!

10 educational ways to learn with play food!

Here are just a few ways that our kids have played with our food printables in English, Chinese, and Korean!

  1. Match with REAL food!!! It’s so important that kids develop strong understanding of items in real life!
  2. Shopping – practice grocery store vocabulary
  3. Cooking with pots and pans
  4. Eating
  5. Match different language versions (eg, simplified and traditional Chinese; English and Chinese; Chinese and Korean)
  6. Sort food by color
  7. Compare more healthy food versus less healthy
  8. Sort by food group (fruit, vegetables, protein, grains, desserts)
  9. Plant the play food printables in a pretend garden
  10. Discuss food allergies and symptoms

Of course, the best way to learn about real food is through shopping, cooking, and eating! (And of course gardening if you have that opportunity.) The multi-sensorial experience of the kitchen is always a fun way to bond and boost language for any family.

However, my pretend play food “flashcards” help us create a print-rich environment, especially for our minority languages. On each play food, the names are clearly visible, and the definition is obvious by the shape of the food.

Sorting vegetables and fruit with pretend play food - Chinese and Korean

Today, the pretend play food is still a big hit for 8-year-old big sister and 5-year-old little brother! I’m excited to share the printables with you in English, Chinese, and Korean!

From paper craft to reusable printable pretend play food

When my daughter was 3, the play food printables stemmed from a cutting and pasting food craft that I created when I noticed her curiosity about food!

Teaching my child Chinese: cutting out different food organized by color

At that time, I used this activity to teach my daughter food names in Chinese. At the top of each page was a sentence for her to practice reading Chinese characters.

Since we try to follow the one person, one language method, our nanny helped her with learning Korean translations and reading simple Korean words.

Cutting out different food organized by color; labels are in Chinese and Korean
Cutting out food label with Chinese and Korean names

At that time, my daughter was obsessed with cutting, and this was a wonderful opportunity to practice scissor skills with various shapes!

Teaching my child Chinese: cutting out different food organized by color

When she started to use the paper food cut outs for pretend shopping, I realized that I should create a more durable version of this activity!

The laminated food printables have lasted over 5 years while encouraging my children to play and speak their minority languages!

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Red, green, and orange peppers in Chinese and Korean with free printable flashcards for kids
Matching red, green, and orange peppers with Chinese and Korean food flashcards

Download printable play food

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Common food names in Chinese and Korean

Here are Chinese and Korean translations for each of the foods on the printables. Carrots, corn, and peppers are repeated a few times since these foods naturally come in different colors. All of these translations are included with Pinyin and Zhuyin in the printable file.

Red-colored food in Chinese and Korean with free printable flashcards for kids
Learning about red-colored food

Red-colored food

  • Apple: 苹果 / 蘋果 (Píngguǒ), 사과
  • Cherry: 樱桃 / 櫻桃 (Yīngtáo), 체리
  • Hot pepper: 辣椒 (Làjiāo), 칠레 고추
  • Red pepper: 红椒 / 紅椒 (Hóng jiāo), 피망
  • Strawberry: 草莓 (Cǎoméi), 딸기
  • Tomato: 西红柿 (Xīhóngshì), 토마토
  • Watermelon: 西瓜 (Xīguā), 수박
Eating oranges while reviewing the translations in Chinese and Korean
Multi-sensory learning: eating oranges while reviewing translations in Chinese and Korean

Orange-colored food

  • Carrot: 胡萝卜 (胡蘿蔔 Húluóbo), 당근
  • Clementine: 橘子 (Júzi), 귤
  • Orange: 橙子 (Chéngzi), 오렌지
  • Pepper: 胡椒 (Hújiāo), 피망
  • Pumpkin: 南瓜 (Nánguā), 호박
  • Yam: 甘薯 / 甘藷 (Gānshǔ), 고구마
Carved Chinese and Korean names for banana with printable food flashcards
Tactile learning: feeling carved Chinese and Korean banana names (香蕉, 바나나)

Yellow-colored food

  • Banana: 香蕉 (Xiāngjiāo), 바나나
  • Carrot: 胡萝卜 / 胡蘿蔔 (Húluóbo), 당근
  • Cheese: 奶酪 (Nǎilào), 치즈
  • Corn: 玉米 (Yùmǐ), 옥수수
  • Lemon: 柠檬 / 檸檬 (Níngméng), 레몬
  • Pear: 梨子 (Lízi), 배
Learning about green-colored food in Mandarin Chinese and Korean
Learning about green-colored food (cucumbers, lime) in Mandarin Chinese and Korean

Green-colored food

  • Broccoli: 西兰花 / 西蘭花 (Xī lánhuā), 브로콜리
  • Cucumber: 黄瓜 / 黃瓜 (Huángguā), 오이
  • Edamame: 毛豆 (Máodòu), 에다마메
  • Green pepper: 青椒 (Qīngjiāo), 피망
  • Lime: 酸橙 (Suān chéng), 라임
  • Peas: 豌豆 (Wāndòu), 완두콩
  • Spinach: 菠菜 (Bōcài), 시금치

Blue-colored food

  • Blueberry: 蓝莓 / 藍莓 (Lánméi), 블루 베리
  • Fish: 鱼 / 魚 (Yú), 생선
  • Popsicle: 冰棒 (Bīngbàng), 아이스 팝

Purple-colored food

  • Carrot: 胡萝卜 / 胡蘿蔔 (Húluóbo), 당근
  • Corn: 玉米 (Yùmǐ), 옥수수
  • Eggplant: 茄子 (Qiézi), 가지
  • Grape: 葡萄 (Pútáo), 포도
  • Plum: 李子 (Lǐzǐ), 자두

Brown-colored food (some of these can also be white)

  • Bread: 面包 / 麵包 (Miànbāo), 빵
  • Chicken: 鸡腿 / 雞腿 (Jītuǐ), 닭고기
  • Cookie: 饼干 / 餅乾 (Bǐnggān), 크래커
  • Hamburger: 汉堡 / 漢堡 (Hànbǎo), 햄버거
  • Ice cream: 冰淇淋 (Bīngqílín), 아이스크림
  • Potato: 土豆 (Tǔdòu), 감자
Matching pretend food with real food - Chinese and Korean learning toys for kids
Matching play food printables (Chinese and Korean) to real food

Other supplies for the printable play food

  1. Colorful paper
  2. White paper
  3. Printer
  4. Laminator
  5. Laminating pouches
  6. Scissors
  7. Divided tray – we repurposed a tray that came with our Melissa and Doug vehicles set; we’ve also used a divided serving platter
  8. Plain bowls and plates – we use the Avanchy baby food set that my kids use for play since it’s too small for eating
  9. Toy pots/pans – we love this Melissa and Doug set!

*If you’re planning to laminate, cardstock paper is not recommended because it would be too thick and difficult to cut.

Pretend Play Food: Free Printable in English, Chinese, and Korean
Pretend cooking Chinese and Korean play food printables with realistic toy pots/pans and plate (similar here)

How to set up the printable pretend food activity

  1. Print templates on paper; page numbers follows rainbow order as explained with the translations
  2. Laminate each sheet
  3. Cut outside of the black lines

Due to the irregular edges of the play food, we recommend spreading out the cutting over a few days. For example, cut and focus on red-colored food. Then prepare orange food, yellow food, etc.

Sorting vegetables and fruit with pretend play food - Chinese and Korean
Sorting vegetables and fruit with pretend Korean and Chinese play food

Language teaching tips

  • Introduce new words gradually by comparing with read food and/or realistic drawings of related food.
    • For example, focus on red foods only; then add orange foods when the child seems familiar with most red foods.
    • Have your child touch, smell, and taste the real food while showing them the play food printable.
  • Present the food flashcards as an invitation to play
    • Display play food on a tray with bowls and toy pots/pans as if you are serving a nice meal!  If the set up is attractive and enticing, your child will naturally be curious!
    • Kids will likely have their own ideas, so consider their plan, too.
    • Note that our bowls, pots, pans, and trays are all plain.  This allows the food and words to stand out.
  • Through pretend play, kids are naturally looking at the flashcards repeatedly. Therefore, they have a better chance at memorizing Chinese characters, Korean words, and English names (depending on language version) through frequent exposure.

Get the printable play food in English, Chinese, and Korean!

Printable bilingual play food! Chinese, Korean, English learning toys for kids

More hands-on learning activities

If your kids enjoyed the food printables, they will love our pretend play clothing printables in English, Chinese, and Korean!

Clothing Printable Flashcards - Chinese, Korean, English

Fun and useful resources for learning about food

Happy playful learning, friends!


  1. Hi, I am a subscriber but I can’t find the email with the password. I tried unsubscribe and re-subscribe, I still don’t receive the welcome email with the password. Please help. Thank you.
    (By the way, really love your free printables and all your wonderful ideas).

  2. Hi, I am a subscriber but I can’t find the email with the password.I did not receive the welcome email with the password.
    Please help. Thank you.

  3. Hi Betty,

    I love this post and I made some for my kids. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I would say lime is 青柠 instead of 酸橙 🙂

  4. Hi love these ideas to – and looking forward to trying with my kids, I have just subscribed to your website but for some reason I still can’t get access to it. What can I do?

  5. Thanks for getting back to me, I didn’t receive a welcome letter and have checked all my folders.
    Please help. Thanks

    1. Hi Eliana, the Welcome Letter was resent on Jan 26th. Can you please check your spam and/or promotions folders? Sometimes the emails get filtered to the wrong folder. Hope that helps.

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