Toddler parents, there’s no shame in agonizing over the right play kitchen. After all, it’s going to be on display for the next several years, and hopefully provide your child with hours and hours of brain-boosting play time.
Your kids’ kitchen set is also a significant investment. Obviously, you want to choose something with enough features to keep them entertained as well as something that’s durable enough to stand up to regular
What are the benefits of a play kitchen?
From a developmental standpoint, play kitchens offer a wealth of benefits. They inspire little ones to use their imagination and get creative as they whip up meal after meal. They help build vocabulary as they narrate scenarios and cooperate with friends and siblings. Fine motor skills get a boost as they chop, mix, pour and stir. Personally, I credit my daughter’s with granting me untold amounts of peace to drink my morning coffee–a benefit I’d pay a pretty penny for nine times over.
What is the best age for a kids’ kitchen set?
One of the best things about play kitchens is that they appeal to a wide range of ages. Toddlerhood is definitely the sweet spot, but many parents find their kids are interested from as early as 18 months and consistently play with it until they’re eight or nine years old.
With that in mind, you want to choose a model they’re not going to outgrow too quickly. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve rounded up some of our personal favorites along with a few others that get high ratings from kids and parents alike. Now all you have to do is work on your pretend eating skills because you’re about to be served a lot of plastic meals. Mmmmmm. Delicious!
The best play kitchens for toddlers and kids
There are a few Ikea products that are the stuff of legend. Their super affordable high chair, their meatballs (obvs) and rightfully so, the Dutkig Mini Kitchen. It’s simple and sturdy with plenty of play space despite its compact footprint. If you ask our kids, they’d probably tell you their favorite part is the cool light up cook top. But if you ask us? Definitely the adjustable leg heights which keep it in play for years. What’s more, according to Motherly’s Senior Health and Wellness Editor, Jessica Waller, it’s endlessly customizable. “My kids have transformed it into a bakery, espresso bar, car wash or secret spot for hiding pirate treasure, depending on the day.”
Size: 28 3/8″ x 42 7/8″ x 15 3/4″
Pottery Barn Kids
The kitchen of your dreams, but make it mini. Seriously, the Pottery Barn Kids My First Chelsea All-in-1 Play Kitchen is almost too attractive. (I mean, as if naps and the license to say whatever you want isn’t reason enough to be jealous of your toddler.) There’s the oven with two burners and three knobs that turn, a refrigerator with top and bottom shelf, and enviable farmhouse sink with a storage cabinet underneath. And since it’s from Pottery Barn, you can trust that it’s made to last from quality materials. The only thing it needs is an amber bottle of overpriced hand soap perched on the sink–they’ll be on their way to Instagram influencer status in no time.
Size: 36″ x 33″x 12″
With its stylish backsplash and “marble” countertop the Uptown Elite Espresso Play Kitchen from KidKraft is like a scaled down version of the real deal. But more importantly, this play kitchen’s features are so fun! It comes with ice cubes for the dispensable ice machine, the stovetop makes a heating noise and lights when you turn the knobs (which is nice to teach kids that stoves get HOT!) and the sink makes noise when you turn the knobs! My 1.5 year-old does not get tired of the paper towel rack or opening the myriad of cabinets. This kitchen has led to more independent-play, which I’m so thankful for.
Hayli Craig, Editorial Operations Manager
Size: 38 1/2″ x 42″ x 13 1/2″
With a look so fresh and modern you might be tempted to use it as inspo for your real kitchen, the Teamson Kids Little Chef Berlin Play Kitchen Set pleases kids and parents alike. The functional and interactive design features and oven and microwave with openable doors, three oven knobs that really turn, two oven burners, two shelves, a sink with a gold faucet, and an under-sink cabinet. There’s also plenty of space to chop those veggies as well! You’ll have to provide those, but it does include a cordless phone, spatula, pot, pan, lid, and chopping board to get them cooking right out of the gate. And we totally dig the pop of royal blue, which is a welcome departure from pink being the only color option in this category for ages (insert eye roll here).
Size: 37” x 34” x 11.75”
As one of the tallest play kitchens on our list, the KidKraft Uptown Kitchen Set is a favorite among parents of older and taller kiddos. Not to mention, there’s so much to do! Four burners and an oven offer a place to cook up some Michelin Star meals, there’s a refrigerator and freezer to stock and organize as well as a microwave and cabinet to stash their dishes and supplies. We also love the removable sink for easy cleaning. Reviewers note that it’s not difficult to assemble, but it is a bit tedious. Lots of pieces that take time to put together, so don’t try to play Santa and start unboxing it after bedtime. You’ll be in for a late night!
Size: 41″ x 43″ x 17 3/4″
We just love the look of the Vintage Wooden Play Kitchen from KidKraft! Rocking some cute retro vibes, this petite toy kitchen set packs a lot of play into a compact design. It’s got all the essentials (oven, two burner stove top, refrigerator and freezer, a sink, microwave and cabinet) along with some fun features like a phone and ice maker. It’s also impressively sturdy but note that the height makes it most appropriate for littles age 3 and under.
Size: 33″ x 35.7″ x 11.7
This one has found a home with multiple Motherly editors who all agree that it’s a terrific bang for the buck, and aesthetically pleasing as well. Not only does it feature all the standard amenities, it also includes two planter boxes behind the sink to grow their own play veggies which can be chopped up for soups and snacks. The ice maker really works and they can write the specials of the day on the chalkboard behind the counter. It also comes with a pot, sautee pan and spatula!
Size: 44″ x 13 1/2″ x 43″
While many play kitchens require separate purchases to get them stocked, this one comes with everything they’ll need to get cooking. The eco-friendly wood play kitchen includes a chef hat and apron, ice cubes, a cup, stockpot and skillet, a spoon and spatula, knife and plate and a few plastic veggies to chop. There are also a host of lights and sounds to keep them entertained, from a sizzling and popping stove top to whooshing water in the sink. Most conveniently, the legs can be adjusted to three different heights as they grow!
Size: 30.3″ x 11.8″ x 40″
If you’ve got multiple kiddos and enough space, Amazon’s top-rated kitchen set for toddlers is one to seriously consider. The action-packed corner design has plenty of space to play and includes an oven, microwave, refrigerator and freezer and even a washing machine to tackle the laundry. The burners and ice maker have realistic lights and sounds that any kid will love and there’s tons of storage for all the accoutrements.
Pro tip: It’s currently on sale for the lowest price we’ve ever seen it!