The best play kitchens often create the cornerstone of a playroom just as a special dollhouse, train track or indoor jungle gym might—and for good reason. From around the age of 3 or, these interactive imaginary play toys become super interesting to little ones as they look to mimic what the adults around them are doing. Many parents, like myself, are eager to introduce a play kitchen for this very reason: because it’s fascinating to watch your once milk-drunk baby hone their independence and try adult life on for size. The more difficult part comes when you try to determine which of these best play kitchens meets your budget, needs and preferred aesthetic.
The best play kitchens open up endless imaginary play with realistic looking cooking tools and ... [+] appliances. Wooden Kitchen Toys
“Your child’s play kitchen does not need to be elaborate to be effective,” says Dr. Traci Williams, a board certified psychologist with a speciality in child psychology and infant and toddler development. Conversely, she notes that the positive impact it can have on a child is robust: “What might look like simply preparing a pretend meal, is actually developmentally complex [and ultimately] helpful for developing early executive functioning skills,” as well as “sequencing, an early component essential for later math, language and science skills.” Promising, right?
Kids Toy Still, deciding what the best play kitchen is requires some research. And there are, of course, some factors to consider—like where will this piece of furniture live, how long do you hope to have it and will it be used for one child or several? With this in mind, I used both personal experience, interviews with play and developmental experts and reviews from real parents to determine which ones are worth your interest. Here are the nine best play kitchens. After you peruse this list, you might be interested in reading more of our toy guides (found below these picks) or the best toddler beds, top convertible car seats and the best travel strollers.