I want to share with you the 5 best kids play kitchens that will meet the needs of everyone!
There are literally thousands of toy kitchens on the market and trying to choose a good one can be quite daunting.
We purchased our play kitchen for our daughter’s second birthday.
Her and her brother played with it until she was 11 and he was 9.
A pretend play kitchen is well worth the investment and many are not all that expensive.
And all of them can be used to foster a child’s language development!
The opportunities to build new vocabulary, in addition to many other skills, are endless with this amazing toy!
The kitchens in this review will have different options from type of material used to space savers and more.
Be sure to scroll to the end of the article for tips for speech and language development that can be incorporated into play activities with these kitchens!
5 Top Kids Pretend Play Kitchens
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We had a Little Tikes play kitchen that seems to have been discontinued (it was purchased in 2009).
Each of these play kitchens have been selected based on a certain need you may have.
The ranking is in no particular order and the language opportunities will be the same with any kitchen you choose, therefore I will discuss those at the end of this article.
To jump to the language development section please click the link below:
Little Tikes Cook N Grow Kitchen – Ideal for the growing child
The biggest selling point of this kitchen is that it can grow with your child as it has two height configurations.
Ideally, you would purchase this play kitchen when your child is between 1-2 years old.
Once they are closer to 3 you can reconfigure it to make it taller.
Upon reconfiguration the kitchen will go from being wide and short to being tall and narrow, thus it will also save space as the child gets older.
This kitchen comes with 26 accessories including food items such as a hot dogs and a hamburger (not exactly the healthiest choices, but there are many healthy options accessories kits you can purchase separately), plates, cutlery, pans, cups, etc.
This kitchen has some buttons that make sounds when pushed, such as water boiling on the stove or coffee brewing.
The doors on the oven, microwave and refrigerator all open and close allowing for even greater pretend play options.
The chimney can be left off if height is a concern.
If you are planning on purchasing a play kitchen when your child is still under the age of 2, then the Little Tikes Cook N Grow kitchen is a great option!
Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen – Perfect for small spaces and budgets!
Another great kids play kitchen is the Super Chef Kitchen by Little Tikes.
If the space you are planning on putting a play kitchen is small, then this may be the kitchen for you (and your child).
This kitchen is meant to be placed in a corner thus making it even better for saving some space.
However, if a corner placement isn’t an option, you can set it up against any wall.
There aren’t many compact toy kitchens to choose from unfortunately, unless you choose a small starter kitchen for a toddler.
But I would advise against this as it will be outgrown very quickly.
The Super Chef Kitchen comes in 3 large pieces with an additional accessory pack containing: cups, plates, utensils, coffee pot and phone.
There is no play food in this accessory pack, so this would have to be purchased separately.
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen – Sleek, stylish and wooden!
If you want your child’s toys to fit in with your modern decor, then the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen is for you.
In my article The 5 Best Outdoor Playsets For Kids! I explain why I am a fan of KidKraft.
I personally find that KidKraft products are built well for what they cost.
You may encounter some issues with screw holes not always matching up, but you are not paying for an extremely high end product.
Since this play kitchen is made of composite wood (and some molded plastic and metal) it will take longer to assemble than a plastic one will.
There are many more pieces to put together.
However the final product will look amazing in your home!
This kitchen looks very much like a real kitchen and features a fridge, dishwasher, oven and microwave with doors that open and close (although the oven and dishwasher doors open to the side rather than pulling down).
There is a small chalk board on the freezer door as well as a cordless phone and paper towel holder.
Unfortunately this play kitchen does not come with an accessory pack, so this would need to be purchased separately.
However, amazon has some great options. You can see them here.
Step2 Urban City Kitchen – Ideal for a family of boys!
Let me start off by saying that I am not one for promoting “boy toys” and “girl toys”.
Children should be encouraged to play with any toy they would like.
However, due to societal pressures, kids, even at a young age, are taught that pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
Kitchens, strollers and dolls are also often items that are labeled as “girls” toys.
If you are a parent of boys and they don’t want to play with “girls” toys, then the Step2 Urban City Kitchen is for your family!
As I will discuss below, play kitchens should be a staple in every household as it is one of the best toys to encourage play, imagination and language development.
This one will appeal to boys as it is grey, blue and white. But there is no reason why both genders should not play with this kitchen!
It has electronic cooking sounds and comes with a 24 piece accessory pack, although there is no play food included.
So you may want to look into purchasing some play food.
Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill – Perfect For Multiple Children
You will need a decent amount of room for this kitchen, but it is perfect for siblings or a daycare setting!
This kitchen even has a grill!
It comes with a 103 piece accessory pack including food, cutlery, plates, cups, pots, pans, coffee pot and condiment bottles.
It also has a cordless phone.
This kitchen and grill also makes electronic cooking sounds.
There is plenty of storage space as well!
Fat Brain Toys Pretendables
This amazing collection called Pretendables is new in 2023. If a pretend play kitchen is not in your budget, or you simply don’t have the room then you need to take a look at this great alternative.
There are 6 Pretenable sets: Bakery, Cinnamon Rolls, Backyard Pizza Oven, Picnic Basket, Fruits and Vegetables and Lemonade Time!
Click here to see them all!
Language Development and Learning Opportunities with Kids Play Kitchens
The language development and learning opportunities that can be fostered with kids play kitchens are pretty much endless.
Let your imagination take you and your child wherever it may.
I have broken down these language opportunities by age group.
12 months to 2 years
If you happen to get a play kitchen for your child during the toddler years it won’t necessarily get used it to its fullest extent, but that is okay.
It is actually one of the great things about this toy.
A pretend kitchen will probably be the toy you have for the longest amount of time, especially if you opt for a larger one.
Here are some ideas for interacting with your toddler at the play kitchen:
Basic pretend play
Practice stirring, shaking, cutting, washing, eating, drinking, pouring, etc.
Pretend to feed stuffed animals and dolls.
Speech and Language Skills
Target early sounds/words and short phrases – eat (name of food), drink (name of liquid), stir, pour, cut, open (door), close (door), etc.
Label new vocabulary words – state the names for some common items found in the kitchen while pointing them out to your child.
3 to 5+ years
The preschool years are a great time to get your children involved with a play kitchen!
This is when children really start getting into pretend play.
You will be amazed by the things that they come up with.
The kitchen may even transform into the kitchen on a space ship!
Follow your child’s lead and expand on what they are already doing!
Some tips for learning through play during the preschool and Kindergarten years:
- Use other props such as costumes to expand the pretend play experience
- Encourage your children to make a menu to go along with restaurant play, thus working on their fine motor and spelling skills as well
- Go “shopping” for groceries first and then bring them to the kitchen to prepare a meal
- Set up a tea party and serve the dolls/stuffed animals or even each other
- Ask and answer questions pertaining to the play
- Talk about opposites – hot/cold, up/down, big/little, hard/soft, wet/dry, open/close, big/little, etc
- Encourage new vocabulary – teach your child some kitchen related words they may not be familiar with (e.g. cutlery, utensils, cabinet, cutting board, whisk, etc)
As always, these are guidelines.
If your child’s language and cognitive skills are at a different level than what is expected for their age, then read the section that applies to your child, regardless of age.
Whenever anyone asks me what my Number One recommended toy for children is, I can without a doubt say “a play kitchen”!
Getting kids into the actual kitchen is also a great language building and learning opportunity.
Check out 3 Fun Kitchen Activities For Kids!
If your kids are already involved in the kitchen but you are afraid of them falling off of a chair make sure you read The Learning Tower Vs. The Kitchen Helper. These products were a lifesaver for my family!
I hope you enjoyed this article about the 5 best kids play kitchens and please let me know if you have any questions.
If your child has a play kitchen let me know how much they love playing with it!
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