Young kids love to pretend, and imagining they are cooking in the kitchen is a favorite activity for many toddlers and preschoolers. Pretend play helps with development in speech, social skills, and cognition.
Whether we like it or not, our kids are always watching us. From their observances, they learn about how life works. And then they imitate us (for better and for worse). That’s why so many pretend play toys revolve around domestic chores.
With children needing to eat three meals a day (Seriously, it’s the worst!), one of the most common tasks a parent performs is cooking. No wonder kids are so enamored with play food and toy kitchens!
What to Look for in a Toy Kitchen
When looking for the perfect toy kitchen for your culinary-inclined kiddo, there are several factors to consider.
- Space. Toy kitchens come in all different sizes, so be sure to measure your space before making a purchase.
- Budget. There is a toy kitchen out there for nearly any budget. Some can cost as much as a real kitchen appliance! Thankfully, however, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a play kitchen your child will love.
- Material. A big consideration when purchasing a toy kitchen is what material you want it to be made of–wood or plastic. You can find a quality play kitchen in either material; it really just depends on your preference. Wood kitchens tend to look a little nicer and are a more sturdy, durable option. Plastic kitchens are more lightweight, are faster to put together, and can often be less expensive.
- Quality. As with anything being used by kids, a toy kitchen needs to be made of quality materials. We once bought a really cheap plastic kitchen for our daughter when she was two, and we had to throw it away a year later. It simply didn’t hold up to our (admittedly destructive) toddler.
- Features. You can find very basic play kitchen sets all the way to realistic looking kitchens for toddlers. For most kids, all it really needs is some basic characteristics to provide hours of pretend cooking fun; a stove top, an oven, a sink, and some storage space for keeping accessories is plenty. Some pretend kitchens come with accessories while others do not.
Top 12 Kitchens for Toddlers and Preschoolers
If a play kitchen is on your kid’s wish list, you’re sure to find the right one among these 12 great options.
|Wood Toy Kitchens|
|KidKraft Large Play Kitchen |
|KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen|
|Melissa & Doug Cook's Corner Toy Kitchen|
|My Creative Cookery Club Play Kitchen|
|Little Chef Wooden Play Kitchen|
|Step2 Grand Walk-in Wooden Kitchen|
|Plastic Play Kitchens|
|Step2 Heart Of The Home Playset|
|Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen|
|Step2 Lifestyle Custom Kitchen|
|Minnie Happy Helpers Brunch Café|
|CUTE STONE Kids Kitchen & Grill|
|Peppa's Little Kitchen|
Best Wood Play Kitchen Options for Young Kids
These kitchens are great for young kids because they are made out of safely painted and treated wood.
1. KidKraft Large Play Kitchen
Measuring 42″ x 16″ x 43″, this is the largest play kitchen on our list, making it a great option for families with multiple children interested in playing with it. At such a large size, this kitchen is able to include a dishwasher, freezer, and refrigerator–with a shelf the middle–in addition to the more commonly included stove, oven, microwave, and sink.
The stove top boasts four incredibly realistic-looking coil burners, and the oven has two levels. Both the microwave and oven have see-through plastic doors for a more realistic look. And like most play kitchens, the knobs make clicking noises when turned. Finally, this set comes with two cooking utensils and a hot pad, along with places to hang them.
The bright colors of this kitchen make it a fun addition to any bedroom or play space.
Recommended Ages: 3 to 7 years
2. KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
If realistic-looking features are a high priority, this is the toy kitchen for you. It is by far the most classy of the kitchens on our list, and its many features don’t disappoint. The microwave has a turntable that rotates 360 degrees, and the oven has a drawer that slides in and out. Your child will like that the refrigerator has a pretend ice dispensing slot on the outside and a shelf on the inside. With a real chalkboard on the outside of the freezer and four realistic-looking coil burners on the stove, this kitchen will seem like a real kitchen to your kiddo. The sink has a modern-style faucet with a working handle.
While this kitchen doesn’t include any accessories, it does boast a cordless phone, paper towel holder, and four pegs for hanging any cooking utensils or pot holders you buy yourself. In addition, the knobs for the oven and stove make a clicking sound when turned, and both the oven and microwave have see-through plastic windows rather than stickers.
At 43″ x 18″ x 41″, this kitchen is large enough for more than one child to play at once. It is made of composite wood, molded plastic, and a few metal pieces.
Recommended Ages: 3 to 7 years
3. Melissa & Doug Cook’s Corner Toy Kitchen
This retro-inspired, compact toy kitchen from beloved toy makers Melissa & Doug features bold, classic colors to draw the eye and simple details to stir up (hah, a cooking pun!) your child’s excitement. In its smaller frame–36″ x 16″ x 26″, to be precise–it manages to fit in three burners, an oven, a small sink, a miniature refrigerator/extra cabinet, and a countertop cutting board.
The faucet swivels, and the oven and stove knobs make a fun clicking noise. The sink bowl is also removable for easy cleaning. Perhaps the most unique aspect of this kitchen, however, is the functional three-minute timer that comes with it. Hooray for repetitive, high-pitched noises! Wait a minute…
Recommended Ages: 18 months to 5 years
4. My Creative Cookery Club Play Kitchen
This solid-wood kitchen boasts a classic, simple design that consists of mostly natural wood with a few painted surfaces. It has a two-shelf oven for baking up tasty pretend treats, two burners, and three hooks for hanging accessories. The sink, while shallow at only 1/2″ deep, is painted to look as if it is full of water.
The best thing about this play kitchen set is that, unlike other wooden kitchens, it includes several accessories–plates, forks, knives, a pot, a pan, two cooking utensils, and several different play foods.
For a wood kitchen, the assembly is actually pretty simple, and the package includes everything you need to put it together. The finished product measures 21″x 12″ x 31″. Your 2-year-old will love this toy!
Recommended Ages: 2 to 5 years
5. Little Chef Wooden Play Kitchen
This cute little kitchen is a more affordable wood option than many of the others, and its price is reflected in its smaller size. Standing 22″ x 12″ x 36″, it comes with a fold-down oven, a decent-sized storage cabinet, two small burners, a sink, and a microwave. There are also several shelves and cubbies for storing play food and cookware.
Made from eco-friendly MDF and minimally painted with lead-free paint, this play kitchen only takes about 30 minutes to assemble. In addition to the kitchen itself, the package comes with three different spice containers, a spatula, two pull-out storage boxes, and a phone.
For extra fun, the oven and stove knobs click when turned, and a clock at the very top provides further opportunities for imaginative play and learning.
Recommended Ages: 3 to 6 years
6. Step2 Grand Walk-in Wooden Kitchen
This may be the biggest toy kitchen I’ve ever seen! Its large size makes it roomy enough for multiple children to play simultaneously and perfect for older children who will appreciate all the realistic details. It is equipped with everything your child could ever imagine in pretend cooking play, including a refrigerator, burner, and breakfast bar. There is plenty of built-in storage space so they can store the 15 pieces in the included accessory set.
However, assembly requires a significant time commitment. Since the directions only consist of text, you have to decipher the images to figure out how to put everything together. It comes with quite a few parts so it can be difficult to find the one you need. Plan on spending several days to assemble this giant kitchen.
This Step 2 toy kitchen is worth the expensive price tag and the struggle of assembling it. Children find many ways to play with it, turning it into a kitchen, restaurant, or even a drive-through. It is sure to provide hours of entertainment for your whole family for years to come!
Recommended Ages: 3 to 7 years
Top Plastic Play Kitchens
These kid kitchens are made of BPA-free plastic and are safe and durable.
7. Step2 Heart Of The Home Playset
This play kitchen is the gold standard of plastic play kitchens. At 45″ x 12″ x 48″, it can accommodate a couple of children at one time and is tall enough for bigger kids. Its realistic design includes a farmhouse sink, a refrigerator with ice dispenser, a coffee pot spot, over-the-stove cupboard storage, a dry-erase board on the refrigerator door, a recycling bin, and a designated spot for a pet’s food and water bowls.
There’s also a place to hang a reusable grocery bag, which is included in the kitchen set, along with a hand towel, a couple of pots, two place settings, cooking utensils, and salt and pepper shakers. A built-in photo frame above the sink can be filled with a favorite family photo and changed out regularly for a unique, homey touch.
In addition to the appealing sights are the fun, realistic sounds that come from the phone, which beeps, and the two-burner stove, which makes either a boiling or frying sound depending on which pan you use.
Recommended Ages: 2 to 7 years
8. Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen
This compact little kitchen can either be placed in the corner of the room or against a wall, making it a great, versatile option for a 5-year-old. Measuring 28″ x 14″ x 40″, it includes the typical features of a microwave, single burner stove, oven, refrigerator with ice dispenser, and sink. In addition to those, it has such details as a towel bar, a built-in countertop cutting board, a coffee pot, slots for storing plates, and a storage cupboard.
Place settings for two, a frying pan, and a phone are also included for easier imaginative play. The knob above the oven also makes a clicking noise when turned, and the burner makes sizzling sounds.
Recommended Ages: 2 to 6 years
9. Step2 Lifestyle Custom Kitchen
The Step2 brand makes some of the most popular plastic toy kitchens out there, and this one is particularly realistic. It has everything a kitchen needs–microwave, oven, refrigerator (complete with water dispenser) two-burner stove, molded-in sink with a faucet that swivels, molded-in dish rack, and working cabinets for storage. The look of everything is very modern, with faux stainless steel appliances, white cabinets, and tile and stone detailing.
The kitchen measures 28″ x 14″ x 42″, so there is plenty of usable space. And with 20 accessories, including cookware, dishes, silverware, and a phone, there are plenty of ways to play. The stove top lights up and makes realistic bubbling and sizzling sounds, and the microwave even has an electronic keypad that makes sounds, too. And when your child is done playing, there is plenty of room for all of the accessories inside the working cabinets. They can even use the recycling bin to learn good, green habits.
Recommended ages: 2 to 10 years
10. Minnie Happy Helpers Brunch Café
If you have a Minnie Mouse fanatic in your house, this is the play kitchen for you. Measuring 29″ x 13″ x 38″ , it boasts Minnie’s signature style of pink, bows, and polka dots. The kitchen is actually designed to be like a cafe, so it comes with two menu cards for your child’s customers–both real and pretend–who can choose Minnie-shaped waffles, muffins, fried egg, or cereal. Other accessories include a spinning waffle maker, a frying pan, a spatula, a muffin tray, two plates, two cups, a bowl, and a spoon.
There is also a coffee pot with magically disappearing coffee when it is tipped and a built-in cereal dispenser that shoots out bow- and Mickey-shaped cereal pieces. And, as icing on the cake–or muffin, I suppose–the kitchen says cute Minnie Mouse phrases and has a burner that features sounds and flashing lights. All that’s needed are three AAA batteries.
Recommended ages: 3 to 8 years
11. CUTE STONE Kids Kitchen & Grill
If your child is interested in both cooking and grilling, you don’t have to choose between getting a play kitchen and a play grill; this toy combines both in one set! On the kitchen side are a stove with a refrigerator, two burners, a deep fryer, an oven, and a sink that can actually spray recycled water. On the grill side are an induction cooker and a grill with a rotating spit above.
Unlike some other toy kitchens, this one includes food in the set. There are fruits, vegetables, french fries, a rotisserie chicken, cheese, cereal boxes, and more. Some of the foods can actually be “cut” in half! Other accessories include spatulas, spoons, cups, tongs, plates, and grill skewers. The grill actually simulates the real thing with light-up coals that sizzle, and the burners and induction cooker make realistic cooking sounds as well.
The overall product measures 30″ x 17″ x 42″ and requires six AAA batteries to function.
Recommended age: 3-7 years
12. Peppa’s Little Kitchen
Whether your 4-year-old child is a fan of Peppa Pig or not, he’s sure to love this adorable, colorful play kitchen. With two burners, a double oven, a refrigerator, and a sink, it has everything your child needs to create a culinary masterpiece and clean up the mess after.
As icing on the cake, this 37″ x 13″ x 22″ kitchen includes a whistling teapot, a sizzling frying pan (which also has a pancake flipping mechanism), and a faucet that makes realistic water sounds. The refrigerator has several shelves inside for storing food, and the oven even has a light!
With fun details like a clock and a window with curtains, and with lots of fun accessories–a chef’s hat, an oven mitt, star-shaped pancakes, a tray, a bowl, cooking utensils, a cupcake pan, and cupcakes–this little kitchen is sure to provide hours of fun.
Recommended Ages: 2 to 5 years
While all of the kitchens on our list are good options, we do have some favorites. For a wooden toy kitchen, we prefer the KidKraft Large Play Kitchen. It is sturdy and will last for years. Although it doesn’t come with accessories, we still think it’s the best. For a plastic kid kitchen, we love the Step2 Heart of the Home set. It’s got such fun features and comes with a lot of accessories. The quality is excellent.
What do kids want in a toy kitchen?
Children will appreciate toy kitchens which are sturdy enough to withstand energetic play. They also like to have several kitchen tools, such as an oven, sink, and refrigerator, so that there are multiple ways to play. Finally, kids will want a kitchen that is large enough for them to include their friends or siblings in play.
What are the benefits of a wooden toy kitchen?
In addition to being environmentally friendly and sustainable, wooden toy kitchens are heavy and sturdy which means they will last a long time. The natural feel and texture of the wood makes the toy kitchen both timeless and aesthetically attractive as well.
Why do kids like to play with pretend kitchens?
One of the reasons kids like to play with pretend kitchens is because it allows them to imitate their parents. Kids can prepare food and wash dishes just like they see adults do at home. Furthermore, kids love to share their pretend culinary masterpieces with friends and family. They enjoy the opportunity to give back to the people they love, which comes with using a pretend kitchen.