Don't let these awesome (hand-drawn!) food printables from Lindsey Boardman at Filth Wizardry fool you. While they look like they're only for pretend play, students will get so much more out of this exercise than a mere homemade toy (although they'll think that's pretty spectacular in and of itself!).
Activity Skill Practice
As your preschoolers attempt to color the food items with the proper colors (i.e. color the broccoli green and the strawberries red, etc.), they practice recognizing common objects as well as strengthen cognitive development and recall as they attempt to remember the colors associated with these objects. The physical act of coloring engages and develops both the hand muscles and fine motor skills needed for future writing success. And additional fine motor practice (it's mastery important to everyday actions like dressing oneself, eating, etc.) is completed as students cut the newly colored food items from the worksheet.
So there you have it - not only are these printables fun to color and play with - they'll provide your preschoolers with important skill practice! While you can't laminate each students' individual food set, consider creating a laminated classroom set that can withstand the wear and tear of play and can be kept in the pretend corner permanently. You may already have plastic pretend food, but never underestimate the power of choice and alternative play materials!
Be sure to visit Filth Wizardry for the printables and other early childhood fun!