Who says food is just for eating? It can also be the basis of crafts, games, adventures and lots of fun ways to spend an afternoon—not to mention an opportunity to DIT (Do It Together!). Get kids involved in food prep, presentation, or straight up playing with their food (Oreo Tic Tac Toe, anyone?). They’ll build skills, have fun, and maybe even try a new food, too.

Summer is a time to try new things—and these games let you do just that, whether you’re creating a cooking contest or giving classic games a fun reboot by using snacks to play them. Either way, this is one time you’re SUPPOSED to play with your food! Try:


Food Games

Ingredient Adventure:Inspired by the TV game show Chopped, this challenge sees what everyone can create out of the same required ingredient, and judges decide what tastes best. Download our printable form and fill it in with the ingredient and menu ideas. We turned Strawberries, the entries could include: Strawberry, tomato, and mozzarella skewers, strawberry jam thumbprint cookies, strawberry smoothies and strawberry toast. But it could just as easily be squash (pizza, “noodles,” pie) or marshmallows; any ingredient you like!

Baking contests! Host a cupcake war for a playdate no one will ever forget. Get set up with all the toppings you can, put a tray of cupcakes in the oven, and once they cool, everyone decorates the craziest cupcakes they can. Points given for creativity, style, use of color, or whatever theme you want.

Food Tic Tac Toe: Just draw a hashmark on a paper tablecloth, placemat or brown craft ppaper. This one is played with different flavors of Oreos but you can also use grapes (red vs. green), nuts (almonds vs. cashews), or pretzels (sticks vs. twists)

Snack Checkers: Pull out—or draw—a checkerboard and use any of the pieces above to play. Added bonus: whenever you capture the other player’s pieces, you get to eat them!

Wafer Cookie Jenga: (just don’t eat any that fall on the ground!)

Letter of the Day: Pick a letter, then make or serve only items start with. (R for radishes, raspberries, ribs. We did this for Rachels birthday and served roast beef sandwiches on rye, red velvet doughnuts, rhubarb pie, and everything else beginning with her initial.

Blind Taste Tests: These can be fun at any level of difficulty!

—Easy: Let everyone know a category (like the variety of “chips” above), blindfold them and have them try to identify whatever it is you feed them. You can do this with anything from fruit to jellybeans.
—Intermediate: Pick a color (green for spinach, avocado, pistachio ice cream) and have them guess what they’re eating.)
—Advanced: No categories, no clues, just a blindfold and a taste of something edible on a spoon.



Food Fantasies

Food can bring a whole new element to dramatic play. Whether you’re using food for the basis of a staycation adventure or turning home into a restaurant, it’s a fun way to keep everyone busy and happy. Plus, cooking or making something is a really special way to spend time with one another and DIT (Do-It-Together), whether it’s about the recipe itself (maybe you spend each day one week learning a new recipe together, or teaching your kids  some old family favorites), or the time spent together making it (break out a box of cake mix and go to town!).  Let food inspire:

A staycation adventure! Choose a different food and different locale each week, and build a day around “visiting” that place—and eating the delicious foods found there. Take a trip to Greece and spend a day eating meze and painting “evil eye” rocks. Plan a stay-at-home holiday in France and start your day with croissants and French trivia. Turn your backyard into a Mexican fiesta with taco-making and Spanish lessons—the grownups can even get in on the action with a margarita bar at the end of the day.

Restaurant night: Turn your kitchen or backyard into a fancy restaurant for an evening—one created, managed, and run by your kids! Let them pick a cuisine idea (Italian, cookout, breakfast-for-dinner, at the beach), offer help where they need it with the food itself, and let the rest be a surprise. Decor, dress code, menu cards—step out of the way and let them give you the works!

Sports Snacks: If your family loves to watch or play sports, serve the food you’d enjoy there—hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjack for a baseball theme celebration, or “tee” sandwiches, an Arnold Palmer, and the golf cake from Celebrate Everything for golf.

Movie night: Let the kids pick a movie and make food to go with it—ratatouille for Ratatouille, coconut treats for Moana, or, for a treat that goes with any film, movie theater snacks–fill a popcorn box with popcorn and chocolate or chewy movie-theater candies. For how-to, click here.

Ice Cream Truck: Help kids make fruity popsicles, then let them sample their wares or share them with the neighbors while playing ice cream truck.

Ice Cream Bar: Set up a fun Ice Cream Bar with items you have around the kitchen. Think sweet and salty as a mix and see who can build the best sundae.

Juice Bar: Mix up the most delicious, unusual juices you can think of, then make them even fancier with fruit garnishes and summery straw toppers and set up a drink station.

Summer Straw Toppers: Download our sunny-day-themed templates, cut them out, and slide them onto paper straws to add extra sunshine to cool drinks. (Kids can draw their own versions to cut out, too.)



Candy Crafts

Everyone’s favorite sweets can be stylish, too, with make-your-own candy jewelry. These fun activities make gifts and arty accessories.

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Candy Necklace: Set out licorice ropes and gummy rings, then let kids design their own necklaces by looping them on and tying them up. You can also use Froot Loops cereal, life savers, candy straws cut into tube-shaped beads, or any other ring-shaped candy. (Love this craft? You can also do seasonal versions at Halloween!) And if you’re not into candy, the old standby of dried pasta shapes works, too.

Gummy Garlands: Using a needle and thread, string together gumdrops, Swedish fish (hanging down as pendants), or bubblegum to make a candy version of cranberry or popcorn garland. Then string them up as decor or wear as leis.

Candy Flowers: Stick the stem of a lollipop (Chupa Chups work well) through a cupcake wrapper and you’ve got ruffled “petals”, a candy center, and a lollipop stick “stem.”




Snack Shapes

The smart way to get kids to try new things? Bring out their inner artists by having them shape snacks to some of the following:

Fruit “Ice Cream Cones”: These are made of melons, pineapples, and berries cut with knives or cookie cutters.

I Heart You skewers: Cut cake and fruit into heart shapes and place them on fruit-and-cake dessert skewers to serve a side of love along with your dessert.

Sandwich Shapes: Cut PB&J (or whatever the favorite sandwich is this week) into stars, hearts, or any other shape for which you’ve got cookie cutters

Rice Krispies Treats stars: Bake the in a pan, and cut them into stars (or other shapes) while they’re still warm and soft.

Say Hello with Jell-o: Use cookie cutters to create jiggly Jell-O shapes.

Have a Heart: Use cooke cutters to turn sandwiches or bagel breakfasts into hearts.



Rainbow Food

In order to get our vitamins, we know we should be eating every color of the rainbow—these projects make that fun and easy!

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Eating Rainbow: Have kids name as many different colored fruits as possible, slice, and arrange them into a rainbow before digging in

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Rainbow Water: It’s not just about art you can eat; this is art you can drink. Use different colored fruits to create a rainbow of naturally-flavored ice water. You can also freeze the fruit before submerging it.

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Rainbow veggie kabobs: Make it fun to eat your veggies. I made from my friend Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Stirring Up Fun with Food cookbook.

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Rainbow Jell-o: Make sure to let each layer set before adding the next! You can either make layers, letting them dry in between, or make or make six glasses of single Jell-o colors and line them up in rainbow order.



Food Faces

Almost any food can be arranged to look like a smiley face, adorable animal, or even the person who’s about to eat it.

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Pancake Pets: Add some banana or berry eyes for a bear-y cute pancake pal!

Pizza Portraits: With an easy at-home pizza-making kit, or your own assembled ingredients, kids can use pepperoni, veggies, olives, or whatever toppings they like to make faces on the pizza before baking

Rice Cake Faces: Rice cakes are great for self-portraits, too—or even pet portraits (don’t forget the whiskers). Go savory with hummus and veggies, or a little sweeter with peanut butter, raisins and berries



Spell-it-Out Snacks

You don’t need to cut or mold food to give it some extra personality; just arrange it into letters or words. Having kids write messages for each other, or spell out their names or initials, is a great way to get them to practice their letters, use their imagination, and have fun. Here are some ideas:

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Brownie Messages: Have kids bake the brownies, cut out the letters, shake on the powdered sugar, then enjoy or drop off to a friend or neighbor to say THANK YOU
Hot Chocolate Letters: Use stencils and powdered sugar or cocoa to make letters on a cup of hot chocolate.
Play with Pancakes: Spell I <3 U on their pancakes in berries, banana slices, or chocolate chips

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Brighten Up Breakfast: Shape bacon, eggs, and toast points into words like “Hi!” or “Wow!”

Have a Heart: Use heart and letter-shaped cookie cutters to cut I <3 U out of anything from slices of watermelon to bagels and lox.



Sweet Surprises

Surprise Cake: Bake a layer cake, cut a circle in the middle, and fill it with candy that spills out when it’s cut, to create this surprise cake featured in Celebrate Everything. For a how-to, click here.

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Surprise Cookies: Add something unexpected by baking one cookie inside another—my daughters made these Oreos baked inside chocolate chip cookies.

Sugar Stencils: Download and cut out our stencil template, and dust messages onto food with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon, matcha powder, strawberry milk mix or any other powder. You can use these to make croissants dusted with I <3 U for a special breakfast

Darcy Miller Designs, Camp Darcy

Ice Cream Cupcake: The surprise? It’s not really ice cream. Bake cupcakes in a kiddie ice cream cones instead of cupcake wrappers (the flat-bottomed cones, filled with batter, will stand up in a muffin tin). Then let kids turn them into “ice cream cones” with frosting, whipped cream, sprinkles, and an array of other toppings.

Creative “Cakes”: A stack of doughnuts, cookies, or ice cream sandwiches makes a great cake alternative—especially if it’s decorated with fun toppers. You can download some of our versions here or have kids draw designs on cardstock or paper, cut them out, and tape them to toothpicks or skewers.




  1. Knives 2. Sushi Chalk 3. Plate 4. Baking Box 5. Sprinkles 6. Plate Set 7. Cookbook 8. Kid’s Knife Set 9. Dinner Game 10. Cookie Cutter 11. Cookie Mix 12. Ice Cube Tray 13. Cookbook