The kitchen is the heart of the home. For young kids, play kitchens are often the heart of the play room.
It’s the height of imaginary play, with kids whipping up sparkle pancakes, or purple pasta. Toy kitchen help kids get comfortable around food, and experiment, in a safe way, with foods they haven’t tried before. They’re also play therapist approved, as toys that mimic real life allow kids to be more a part of the grown-up world.
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Of course, not all kitchen playsets are created equally. Some, painted in pastel, resemble kitchen sets of 70s-era apartments; others look like the type of setup you’d expect to see in Paris bistros where a helpful rat might puppeteer a bumbling chef to success. Then there are materials: some feature sturdy all-wood designs; others are made of more traditional plastic and easier to clean. And, much like a standard kitchen, there’s a pretty wide price-range depending on which model you choose. To help you decide which is best for your home, here are great toy kitchens for kids.
A kitchen that looks like an adult one? Yes, please. This toy kitchen features a stove, cabinet, oven and microwave. And it looks like it belongs in an actual house.
Pros: Meant for kids ages three and up, this toy kitchen has stove knobs that actually turn, a microwave with stick-on numbers, and a removable sink.
Cons: It takes serious work to put this kitchen together.
Compact and just plain gorgeous, Hape's wooden kitchen set includes starter pans and utensils, plus essential foods. It has cabinets that open, hooks from which to hang supplies, and is the perfect height for kids. It's solid-wood and a great addition to any playroom.
Pros: Great for aspiring chefs ages three and up, Hape’s wooden kitchen lets kids learn to “cook,” host parties, clean up, and engage in hours of pretend play. It’s made of wood, so it will last for years. And years.
Cons: It’s not cheap, but the quality is spot-on.
This playset harkens back to a time past when kitchens were smaller and times a little simpler, but it still has the capability to keep little ones focused and fulfilled for hours.
Pros: There is a full-size fridge, stove, and oven that have working doors and knobs. There is even a dishwasher for cleaning up. Since there are two separate modules it is an easy playset to fit into just about any space. It’s wood frame and plastic parts can withstand most abuse tossed its way, and even better, cleaning it is simple with a removable sink. It comes in both blue and pink and is suitable for kids three and up.
Cons: It does not come with any accessories so you will have to spend more money equipping it.
This ultra-realistic kitchen is loaded with items and should keep even the most energetic of children busy for extended periods of time.
Pros: All of the appliances in this set (microwave, dishwasher, stove, and oven) have accompanying electronic sounds built in. Plus, there is a working overhead light and a phone with sounds. Made completely from plastic is a breeze to clean, and will survive bumps and bashes from overenthusiastic chefs. Best of all it comes with a 39-piece accessory set that enables tykes to dive with in the moment you set it up. Good for kids two and up.
Cons: It’s on the pricier side coming in just a shade under $300.
This play set offers your child the option of working indoors in the kitchen or heading outside to fire up the grill.
Pros: From industry leader Step 2 this one-piece set really has a lot to offer. There is a working stove and phone, plus a grill that emits sounds when in use. What really makes it fun is that there is an attached dining area to serve the guests when everything is ready. Even better is the 103-piece accessory set that includes everything from fresh produce to pots and pans so they can jump right in. Plus, there are enough storage areas to stash everything when playtime is over. Good for kids two and up.
Cons: The overhead gable roof is fun when kids are smaller but can prove a little restricting once they get taller, especially if your kiddo is a quick grower.
This interactive playset is designed to not only keep your child entertained, but to teach at the same time with a tablet-based system built in.
Pros: Using the electronic system in the system it has a wide array of interchangeable sound effects, plus a whole host of other effects that really transform this set into a realistic kitchen. Parents can choose settings based on age and skill level so that different games teach them about shapes, colors, and letters. Made from plastic it’s easy to clean, comes with 40 different accessories, and even has a small garden on the side. Its small footprint and light weight means you can move it around if needed easily and it should fit just about anywhere.
Cons: It can take a bit to put together since there are so many different parts and electronics.
Designed to teach children about the importance of eating fresh food it’s a fun set that lets your little sous chef learn about how food is prepared.
Pros: There is a large fridge and working ice machine that even spits out three ice cubes. The two large window boxes have carrots and purple onions that can be plucked fresh and chopped on the cutting board, before being replanted again. There’s a center farmhouse sink makes running water sounds and the stove top lights up and makes realistic sounds. Made from pressboard and plastic it is designed to be put together simply and quickly sparing parents unwanted headaches. Good for kids 3 and up.
Cons: The pressboard construction is not as durable as plastic and probably last as long.
Designed for parents wanting to get a play set for their toddlers, this food truck will keep them mesmerized for hours with a host of noises and moveable parts.
Pros: As a two-sided set it enables more than one kiddo to play at a time, or lets your child serve you a meal. Part car and part kitchen there are numerous areas that should capture a child’s imagination. It has a small recycling bin and fridge to store stuff in, plus a working cash register. It also has Fisher-Price’s Smart Stage learning system incorporated with three levels to adapt as they grow up with 125+ different songs, sounds, tunes & phrases. There are over 20 plus accessories. Good for kids 18 months and up.
Cons: As stated earlier, this set is designed for little ones and they will outgrow it once they get close to three years old.
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