playfood mac and cheese

Mac and Cheese Play Food

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DIY Play Food

Playing “restaurant” and “chef” never gets old in our house! It’s one of our favorite activities. We have pretend ice cream cones, pizzas, salad ingredients…the list goes on and on. 

child in chef hat

This is an older picture of my daughter but one of my favorites, so I naturally had to include it here ❤️

While making our Mac and Cheese Shell Casserole with Ham and Broccoli recipe, we realized that we don’t have any mac and cheese play food at home. Since mac and cheese is my kids’ favorite food, we decided to make our own pretend mac and cheese! We had some extra uncooked shell pasta and decided to color it and glue it to a paper plate. It was really that simple! 

gluing shells to plate

Play food for the win!

I just love crafts that my kids can actually enjoy and play with for days! After our mac and cheese play food dried, we immediately starting playing restaurant. My daughter felt proud to have made this special dish herself. It was also surprisingly easy to color the noodles, so I anticipate we will be doing this a lot more.  

child playing with play food mac and cheese

While making this food scrap craft, you and your kids might want to take a moment to learn some fun facts about this meal’s featured ingredient:

🍴 Shell Pasta 🍴

shell pasta


    • Shell pasta is also referred to as conchiglie because its shape resembles a conch shell. 
    • Shell pasta comes in three sizes: small (conchigliette), medium (conchiglie) and large (conchiglioni). Large shells are often stuffed and baked. 
    • Shell pasta is a good source of carbohydrates, which give our body energy.


playfood mac and cheeseIngredient
Shell Pasta

Corresponding Recipe: Mac and Cheese Shell Casserole with Ham and Broccoli

Skills supportedFine motor, (pouring, mixing and gluing), math (counting, measuring), following instructions


supplies playfood mac and cheese

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📝 instructions 📝

Consider setting up the craft before cooking so that your kids can get to work right away.

1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp of white vinegar with 1-2 drops of yellow or orange food coloring. Mix or whisk together.

2. Place uncooked shells into a ziplock sandwich bag. Pour vinegar-color mixture into bag and seal bag shut. Shake bag of pasta vigorously until shells are evenly colored. Pour colored noodles onto parchment paper. Allow noodles to dry for 3-5 minutes. 

3. While noodles are drying, place droplets of glue onto paper plate. Glue the noodles one-by-one onto the plate. To make this more challenging, have kids count their noodles and make enough droplets of glue to match their number of noodles.

4. Allow glue to dry and then start playing!playfood mac and cheese

*For toddlers especially, these tasks may require adult supervision and/or assistance.

Back to Mac and Cheese Shell Casserole with Ham and Broccoli Recipe

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