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The Benefits Of Plastic Fruit And Vegetables

May 19, 2008
Go into any toy shop and you'll almost certainly see fake food. Whether it be plastic vegetables, plastic chickens, plastic platters of dinner or plastic bananas, you'll see it scattered everywhere. Sometimes this comes in net backs, alarmingly similar to those found in supermarkets, and sometimes you can buy it as part of a bigger set - either a shop till and basket, a miniature home cooker complete with plastic saucepans and a couple of spoons, and sometimes as part of a tea party. Should we be concerned about tempting, or confusing children with plastic food, or does this type of toy serve a greater purpose than simply lowering the cost of our grocery bill?

There are two things that you will notice about any of the plastic food you see. The first so that there are usually clear guidelines on age restrictions, usually suggesting that at least 18 months or even 3 years being the minimum age at which the child should be allowed to play with it, (and even then, of course it should still be supervised by a responsible adult). The second thing to notice is that you will never find small fruits and vegetables, such as peas or beans. This is for fairly obvious safety reasons - any plastic food must be large enough to prevent accidental swallowing. All plastic food is large and chunky and far too big to fit into a child's mouth, at least, not completely.

So what purpose, or purposes does it have, and why is it so popular? It could hardly be argued that it is an educational toy on the grounds that it helps children to recognise and learn the names of various foods, since the similarity between a plastic stick of broccoli and the real thing is about as recognisable as the similarity between a brussel sprout and a banana. It seems unlikely that children will learn the names of their fruit in any way other than seeing them in the shops as real fruit and vegetables, watching in the kitchen as they're prepared, or in the actual eating of them.

The real benefit of course is in the way they are used as props for role play. Children, particularly when either paired up with another child or as part of a group, will naturally tend towards role play games, and the props used to represent the adult world are essential ingredients to helping all member of the role play experience understand what is happening, and play their part more effectively.

So, if the game is 'shops' this will allow one child to play the role of shopkeeper, whilst the others will be customers; should it be a home based game, then perhaps one of them will be the parent in the kitchen (usually mummy!) whilst the other will be either a child or the other parent. The role play experiences are essential to help a child establish roles, identities, and understand how the world works from various perspectives. It also helps them to understand rules and social expectations in ways which they could not otherwise experience for themselves. In other words, a plastic cauliflower really can help a child learn about becoming a member of society.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, plastic food, kitchen sets, dolls, and used video games.
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