New Sprouts Picnic Set Review

29 Jul

Today, my children have played with the Learning Resources New Sprouts Picnic set. It is a very complete play food set for 2 small people; plastic basket, 2 plates, 2 hamburgers, 2 watermelon wedges, 2 cupcakes and 2 condiment bottles. The manufacturer’s recommended age group is from 2 years old upwards, so it’s safe for toddlers as well as older children.

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My kids aren’t really into hamburgers; on first sight, they decided the burger patties were giant cookies! However, for pretend eating, they’re happy to stack the patties in the bun halves. The condiment bottles were much admired for the ketchup and mustard strings – when you tip the bottles upside down, the string slides out; when you turn the bottle back up and hold the string up, the string slides back in. As the bottles aren’t actually labelled, my daughter promptly repurposed them as icing for the “cookies” and cupcakes!

A neat feature of the plates is: they’re divided into thirds, with raised borders. For an older child, this might be an opportune maths lesson – division and fractions. For a younger child, it simply means any play food sits easily and doesn’t fall off as soon as you pick up a plate. (The photos, below, show some Learning Resources play food and some of our own play food pieces.)

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I love how versatile the picnic pieces are. While a child’s imagination knows no limits, it can only be helped by the simple shapes and lack of rigid direction. Kids don’t need play instructions – they know instinctively! It’s also great that there’s 2 of everything. Whether you’re playing with a sibling or a friend, or you’re hosting a teddy bear tea party, the extra serving encourages sharing without squabbles.

The basket itself is ideal for storing the set neatly. Plastic is, of course, easy to clean and durable for both indoor and outdoor play. I think this will have real longevity and is a super cute imaginative play set.

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To keep the picnic role-play fresh, I might add some of my own play food, in due course. (This is a great tip for any toy losing that nouveau sparkle – mix in one new item and the entire thing becomes “new” again e.g. a dress for a doll or a prop for dressing up clothes.) In the meantime, I would definitely recommend the New Sprouts Picnic set for ages 3-7. Younger children must be careful around the condiment bottle strings.

The New Sprouts Picnic set is available on Amazon UK at £18.66 (correct as of July 29, 2014) or direct from Learning Resources at £23.94 (inc VAT).

Free amigurumi play food knitting and crochet pattern designs by FC Knits: Mini Gingerbread Man, Play Food Cherry Cake Slice and Play Food Sandwich.

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