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The Best Play Kitchen Sets For Toddler Celebrity Chefs

Your (imaginary) meal is ready.

Toddlers have a lot in common with celebrity chefs: They can be demanding at mealtime, difficult on the staff, and temperamental in public — but they can also be truly inspired when it comes to unusual food combinations. They are natural observers who act out the same things they see adults doing, like flipping pancakes, roasting a chicken, or baking a cake. The best play kitchen sets encourage children to use their imagination as they cook dinner, work together to figure out who serves and who does the dishes, and safely explore foods (rutabaga, anyone?) that may seem daunting or unappealing. 

“As toddlers engage in pretend play, they are learning new language, seeing the perspective of others, negotiating and taking turns, and solving problems that arise,” says Rebecca Parlakian, the senior director of programs for Zero to Three.

You want a kitchen that’s relatively easy to put together, but has enough realistic features to mimic what kids see in the real world. Choose one that’s the right size for your play room so it doesn’t devour it. Wood kitchens are the gold standard in terms of quality. And while we love shiny things as much as the next person, remember that the more a kitchen does in terms of lights and sounds, the less pretending your kid has to do.

The Best Toddler Kitchen Sets

If you really, really suck at putting big toys together, than this pop-up play kitchen is for you. It has a clock to to help kids practice telling time, bright red knobs to control the stove and grill temperature, a pot and lid, a frying pan and cooking utensils.

We like this kitchen because it starts wide for younger kids and adjusts to a higher countertop as kids grow up. Meaning they can use it for longer. All that aside, it has an oven, fridge, and stove top that makes realistic cooking sounds. Plus it comes with 40 pieces of food for kids to cook and eat. Because of the way it's set up, with an extra-spacious counter, it's great for multiple kids to use together. It's 32 inches tall.

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 beautiful addition to any playroom. It's 25 inches tall.

Fatherly IQ
  1. When shopping for toys, what's the most important quality you look for?
    That it's fun.
    That it is educational.
    That it will keep my child's attention.
    That it won't drive me insane.
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The Best Play Kitchen Sets for Kids

Melissa & Doug's toy kitchen includes an oven, stove, microwave, sink, a refrigerator with an actual ice dispenser, freezer, and ample storage space for easy cleanup of all the kitchen accessories. This kitchen is made of wood, and thus should last longer than its flimsier plastic brethren. And most importantly, this kitchen is big enough for multiple kids to play in it together. It's 36 inches tall when assembled.

Made from engineered wood and plastic, this is great for anyone who's low on space. It also takes about two hours to put together, which isn't a nightmare by play kitchen standards. It has an oven, cabinet, freezer, refrigerator, and microwave doors that open and close, plus working knobs on the oven and sink. There's even a cordless phone, for a real touch of nostalgia. It's 36 inches tall.

A kitchen worthy of a Parisian bistro, this one is a nice blend of simplicity and flashy features. The burners have knobs that make noises; the dishwasher has a round window and knob to get the dishes clean. The wooden cutting board is a nice touch for doing some efficient veggie chopping. There's also a metal pot and pan. It's made from MDF and is 34 inches tall.

This kitchen stands out because it has a working recycling bin, hence teaching your kids good habits early on. When making breakfast, or pasta, kids hear frying and boiling water sounds on the stove's front burner. The microwave includes a working electronic keypad. It's 41.5 inches tall, so this kitchen is especially suitable for older, taller kids.

Quite possibly the most beautiful play kitchen ever made, this one is crafted entirely from solid wood: No plastic, no particle board, and no MDF. It has a pull-down oven door, knobs, burners, and a grill. Because it doesn't make noise, it forces kids to actually use their imaginations to fill in the blanks. Plus, it's an heirloom piece that will last way longer than the turkey your child roasts you for dinner. It's 26 inches tall.

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