In general, I like to do Weaving in Third Grade as a main focus, but you still have to continue with knitting (including purling), crochet, and hand sewing to keep those skills coming along. I think making foods is perfect! You can give children patterns or have them invent their own. If you're also dyeing wool or yarn with natural dyes, you can experiment to see what dyestuff makes the perfect color for your egg yolk or pickle or sandwich bread, etc. You can stretch the unit out for weeks or keep it short, and the theme allows for the perfect blend of patterns to follow and design-your-own creativity.
Another fantastic thing about making a series of food items in Third Grade in particular is that then they are available for the Currency block when you want children to practice using money. They could use their variety of little play foods to set up a shop and put prices of everything. You can do this in the classroom or at home. Then their friends, parents, or siblings are pretending to shop and the student is having to count money and make change for them. Here's a list I wrote of Suggested Money Activities (PDF).
Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Go to Market
by Maj Lindman
This morning I remembered that one of my knitting books has several easy food patterns. It is Kids Can Knit: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Knitter by Carolyn Clewer. The Fried Egg (project #7, page 58) is used to help children learn to increase and decrese, and the String of Silly Sausages (project #9, page 72) is used to help them see how different stitches result in different texures. What a brilliant idea! There are six sausages; they are single rib, stockinette, double rib, garter stitch, seed stitch, and ridged.
Kids Can Knit: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Knitter
by Carolyn Clewer
Here is the link to my Sewing Foods for the Play Kitchen post full of photographs of the foods I made for Zac's third birthday. They are all really simple and inspired by photos I saw on Pinterest; I didn't use any patterns.
Wet felted balls, of course, could also be simple (oranges, blueberries). Children could even sew or crochet little mats to display the foods in their shop on.
Although I know that needle-felted foods are VERY tempting, third grade is too young. Too young. Too young. It's too young. Really. Suzanne Down suggests starting with needle felting in sixth grade and, having tried it over and over with younger students who begged me, I agree with her 100%.
This is the list of patterns I put together years ago for parents who are making foods for their children to play with. So you could sit alongside your child and make play foods too. Some of them might be easy enough for the child, depending on his/her skill level. But I think the most fun thing would be to let them invent their own patterns and follow their own ideas!
Free Crochet Fruit & Vegetable Patterns
Free Knitted Food Patterns
- banana (without the face)
- Oreo cookie
- broccoli and carrot
- butternut squash
- grilled cheese sandwich
- chocolate chip cookie
- corn on the cob
- doughnut and bagel
- Christmas figgy pudding
- fortune cookie (knitted, then felted)
- fried egg
- peach (without the face)
- kale leaf
- Easter hot cross bun
- lemon and lime (without the face)
- pear (without the face)
- tomato, cucumber, and lettuce wrap
- sausage links (without the faces)
- two peas in a pod
- wedding cake
- whole egg in shell (knitted, then felted)
- eggplant, cucumber, banana, carrot, and orange (PDF)
I just checked this list (it's an old list from my website) to make sure there aren't any broken links and removed the ones that had gone bad. Sometimes it's sad to see them go... like it's too bad "pieknits.com" is no longer a website! If you have new links I should add, please let me know!
And, if you (as the adult) want to sew some drool-worthly felt desserts that are gorgeous and complicated, I highly recommend Favorite Felt Sweets.
Favorite Felt Sweets
This book has been translated from Japanese into English and it is simply divine. All patterns are clearly explained (in English) and the patterns are full-size, which I love in a sewing book. Here is the list of all 106 sweets included
- Sponge Cakes:
fruit shortcake, decorated square cake, chocolate cake in a basket, black tea chiffon cake
Petit Fours [sic]:
cream puff, strawberry tartlet, baked cheesecake, napoleon, caramel banana square, blackcurrant mousse, classic chocolate cake, no-bake cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, green tea square, chestnut cake, chestnut and green tea pinwheel, floral crepe parcel, heart shaped tartlet, diamond shaped peach tartlet, mixed berry pie
Pound Cake Slices:
marbled cake, green tea cake, fruit cake
Cigar Cookies & Baumkuchen:
cigar cookies, baumkuchen
Almond Florentines & Madeleines:
almond florentines, madeleines
Cookies (12 unnamed designs)
plain swirl, choc swirl, choc icing, nut twist
strawberry pinwheel, green tea pinwheel
pancake with vanilla cream filling, pancake with chocolate cream filling, pancake with strawberry cream filling
Kohaku Manju two different red and white celebratory buns, Ichigo Daifuku strawberry pounded-rice cake, Kuri Monaka wafer sandwich with sweet bean and chestnut filling, Uguisu Mochi two different soy flour dusted rice cakes, Taiyaki fish-shaped waffle, Take-iri Mizu Yokan bean jelly in bamboo stalk
Traditional Japanese Cakes for Each Month:
Jan - Hanabira-mochi flower petal fold sandwich
Feb - Fuku-masu square rice cake with sweet miso filling
Mar - Kobai red plum blossom
Apr - Hana-goromo layered kimono
May - Shobu iris
Jun - Ajisai hydrangea
Jul - Anzu apricot
Aug - Nadeshiko pink
Sep - Kaki persimmon
Oct - Kiku chryanthemum
Nov - Yuki-usagi snow rabbit
Dec - Yuzu citron
Chinese Serving Mat pattern with embroidered design
moon cake, steamed peach bun, chinese fried pretzels, sesame rice balls, steamed flower bun, fortune cookies
chocolate gift basket cake, christmas cookies (10 unnamed designs)
dark chocolate, chocolate mint, heart motif white chcolate, strawberry filled white chocolate, chocolate truffle, chocolate berry cream, milk chocolate maple cream, dark chocolate caramel, walnut cream, chocolate dipped candied orange peel, coffee square, hostess cupcake, bittersweet chocolate with maple cream, mocha meringue drop
Treats in Containers:
french fries, sugar candies, custard, ice cream (the old school kind that comes in paper cup and you pull off the paper lid and eat it with a stick), smiley chocolates in a box
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