Pretend Food Made with Sponges

“Sponge” cake, anyone? Playing pretend restaurant is one of R’s (4 yrs) favourite imaginative games. Sometimes he will “cook” up some fabulous concoction using old expired ingredients from the pantry, other times he uses our plastic play food. Last week, we thought it would be fun to create our own play food using sponges.  This was a very simple project using supplies we already had on hand, and we spent the morning “baking” a sponge cake and making “toast”.

 Our most delicious “sponge” cake and toast!

The beauty of this project is that you don’t need too many supplies – just a sponge, some paint and a paintbrush, and a pair of scissors or a knife to cut the sponge. We also used some tissue paper (not pictured) to make a cherry on top of our cake.

We began by drawing a triangle shape on the top to represent a piece of cake and, using a knife, I cut a triangle from the sponge. Our sponge was one of those great big thick ones you use for washing the car, which worked perfectly to make a nice high piece of cake. I cut the triangle piece of sponge in half  horizontally to represent the top and bottom half of the piece of cake but in hindsight I wouldn’t bother with that next time.

After I had cut out the sponge, R got to work painting and decorating. He painted a white line through the middle to represent cream, and he added some purple “icing” on top. He then scrunched up a small piece of red tissue paper to make a cherry. Finally, he added some more “cream” with some added touches of white paint. Delicious!

There are so many things you could use to decorate the top of the cake – glitter, sparkly cut out shapes that you can buy from the craft store, or even little dots of paint all over the top to look like sprinkles.

The rounded ends of our sponge really lent themselves well to making toast. I used a knife to cut a couple of slices of toast and R painted the “crusts” brown.

We don’t have any brown paint so R had fun mixing black and orange to make a toasty brown colour. He loves mixing colours and all of our painting sessions tend to end up as a colour mixing experiment.

Once R had finished decorating the food, we set them aside to dry. Then it was time for a very elegant afternoon tea! Sponge cake anyone?

You simply must bring out the good silverware for an afternoon tea party, right? How very civilized! We still have quite a lot of sponge left over so we think we might make some cheese next (the sponge is the right colour and it has all those holes!) What types of food would you make?

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  1. What a great idea!! Just shared it on my Facebook page. I love it!

    • Thank you so much for the kind comment Carrie, and for sharing!

  2. What an amazing and fun activity for children! Seems like your son really enjoyed himself!

    • Thanks Sharon! Yes, he loved this one, especially choosing all the colours and decorations for the cake.

  3. I just think this is so clever. Cam and I must make some sponge cakes. She would just love to serve it in her outdoor café.

    • Thank you Jackie! I adore your outdoor cafe (saw it on Instagram, I think?). It looks like such a fun place to play.

  4. Brilliant and inexpensive idea! Will probably impress my toddler nephews! They love playing with pretend food!

  5. This is such a fun way to play with pretend food.

  6. Sooo clever! That sponge cake looks so good :-) I bet my kids will love this, pinning! Thanks Ness!

  7. They turned out really great, didn’t they? What a fun little project. It’s always more fun when the kids can get involved and make something, isn’t it? I know with Jack, he is more likely to play with a fire extinguisher or knight’s bow and arrow he has made himself from a toilet roll than with a toy one. He just loves that he made it.

    And yes, with cake that good, it definitely warrants bringing out the good silverware :)

  8. This is the coolest thing I have seen in a while Ness.
    Love it

  9. Love this!! What a fabulous idea! :)

  10. What a super fun idea!! The cake looks fantastic. Clever you.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!!


  11. So much fun and so realistic looking as well! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Have pinned :)

    • Also featuring this on Tuesday Tots this week

  12. I posted before but don’t think it worked.

    It looks so real that I almost drooled when I first saw it and then I realised it was actually made out of a wash sponge. You’re so clever!

  13. This is so great! I love that they can make something AND play with it! I think I need to pick up a few of those sponges!

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