Best Play Kitchens for Toddlers

Best Play Kitchens

November 6, 2018

Best Play Kitchens

If only your kid could be this enthusiastic about eating broccoli in real life.Best Play Kitchens

Toy kitchens are a hub for creative play, giving kids the tools—or shall we say utensils—to expand their imaginations, work on cooperation, boost vocabulary and develop fine motor skills (knobs, oven doors, mixing bowls—oh my!).

Tiny chefs will be busy role playing what they see you doing in the kitchen, even if that’s picking up the phone and ordering take-out sometimes. Kids will cook up all kinds of meals and scenarios for hours of fun. Trust us, the dolls and stuffed animals are going to be very well fed. Now, if only your tot could be this enthusiastic about eating broccoli in real life.

There are tons of pros behind this purchase:

  • A toy kitchen is an investment that lasts for years. At first, your toddler may be perfectly content just banging pots and pans. A few years later, she’ll be running a restaurant with her friends. Most kitchens are recommended for ages three and up, but one- and two-year-olds love getting in on the action with their big siblings.
  • There’s always something new to add: fruits, veggies, pots and pans, cupcake sets, sandwich making kits and beyond. On the flip side, there’s always something new to add. It’s easy to get carried away when equipping the kitchen. Have a good storage setup so you can quickly clean up at the end of the day to avoid stepping on a rogue soup ladle or wooden hamburger bun. Also, save empty boxes from granola bars, fruit snacks and mac & cheese from your real kitchen for new (cheap) additions.
  • Just like adults, kids always seem to gravitate to the kitchen. It’s a playdate favorite.
  • It’s an interactive way to teach your kids about food, cooking, counting, colors and so much more. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself actually trying to arrange the fridge like you would your real one. Happens to the best of us.
  • Families can go in on a toy kitchen and the accessories for an extra special birthday or holiday gift.
  • You’ll be amazed at how busy it’ll keep your little one, even during solo play.

Ready to enthusiastically eat a lot of pretend food? These are our favorite toy kitchens:

The Modern Pick

You may have kitchen envy over this one. The Uptown has a sleek, modern design that could pass for a mini version of a real kitchen. There are tons of thoughtful details kids love, including a built-in pretend ice machine, see-through windows on the microwave and oven, pegs to hang potholders and utensils, a sliding oven drawer and a chalkboard on the freezer door. It doesn’t come with accessories, so you’ll have to stock up on your own. Some key differentiators: there’s a dishwasher and a generously sized fridge that actually looks like a fridge (plus a separate freezer), and it’s spacious enough for several kids to play together. Keep in mind: the Uptown is big, but not bulky or overwhelming looking. And it can take some time to put together (many parents say anywhere from two-to-six hours depending on your skills). We also love the Vintage Kitchen version.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-5 years
Dimensions 42.5 x 17.1 x 41 inches
Weight 70.1 pounds

The Well-Stocked Kitchen

This gender-neutral compact kitchen is good for any space. It’s equipped with all of the must-haves for whipping up a feast, including an oven, stove, fridge, microwave and cabinets for storage. Made of plastic, it’s sturdy, yet lightweight, so an adult can easily move it around. Kids love how the stove lights up when pots and pans are placed on the burners and pressing the electronic microwave keypad (batteries are required). Your kiddo can get cooking right away, thanks to the 21 accessories this kitchen comes with—including a coffee station that will remind you to make your own when you’re playing “restaurant” at 6 am. There’s minimal assembly required, but it comes with a set of stickers you’ll need to add for decor.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2-6 years
Dimensions 32.5 x 12 x 42.8 inches
Weight 20 lbs
Includes 21-piece accessory set (accessories may vary): pots and pans, utensils, a coffee machine wiht pods and cups (food not included)

The Minimalist

You’re probably already obsessed with IKEA furniture (Kallax storage, anyone?), but their kids toy collection is equally amazing. The minimalist Duktig mini-kitchen and workbench is the perfect place to test out new recipes. This kitchen grows with your kiddo—thanks to the 3-position leg height. Battery-operated burners delight little cooks with their realistic glow (it takes four AA batteries, sold separately). While you’re stocking up on Swedish meatballs, be sure to load your cart with IKEA’s realistic kitchen gear like cookware, baking sets and fabric fruits and veggies too. Durable and easy-to-assemble, this toy kitchen serves up serious fun.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-5 years
Dimensions 28.75 x 15.75 x 43 inches
Weight 42 lb 2 oz

The Natural Pick

Hape Toys are known for their high-quality, natural, non-toxic materials. This gourmet kitchen is made of wood and water-based paint, so you can find peace of mind knowing all the materials are child safe. While it’s on the smaller side (and has less bells and whistles than other toy kitchens), your kiddo’s imagination will take the lead. There are two-burners, a fridge, oven with see-through door, sink and shelf. This cute kitchen is easy to set up, durable and nice looking—a perfect playroom trifecta. The assembly is straightforward, so your master chef will be flipping burgers in no time.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-5 years
Dimensions 21.6 x 27.8 x 12.6 inches
Weight 22.6 pounds
Includes 2 plates, 2 forks, 2 knives, pan, pot & lid, mixing spoon, Spatula and salt & pepper shakers

For Small Spaces

Bright, cheery, fun. Another wooden kitchen we adore is the Cook’s Corner from Melissa & Doug. There’s an oven, fridge, three-range stove with clicking knobs and a cutting board. The red and blue color scheme and working timer are big crowd-pleasers, too. Better yet, the sink is removable, so little ones can use it for water play or as a big mixing bowl. Made with non-toxic coatings, this funky corner kitchen is a parent and kid favorite. For assembly, hardware and tools are included, but you’ll need a slotted screwdriver and a Philips head screwdriver.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-5 years
Dimensions 16 x 20 x 36 inches
Weight 29 pounds

The Splurge

Take one look at Pottery Barn’s high-end kitchen collections, and it’ll be hard not to make the splurge. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.) The Simply Retro Kitchen Collection, in particular, comes in pink, white and grey. There’s a sink, icebox (remember, it’s retro), washer and dryer and an oven. There are interactive details like ticking timers, turning knobs and adjustable shelves. The stainless steel sink actually holds water, so pots and pans will always be sparkling clean. Pieces are sold separately or as the full shebang, ranging from $269-$699. Make sure you have a large play space if you buy the entire collection. Your kiddo will be the hostess with the mostess when they entertain with this awesome setup. Assembly is required.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-6 years
Dimensions (Oven only) 22 x 18 x 32 inches
Weight (Oven only) 49.75 pounds
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