It’s funny how your kids seem to distract you in every which way when you’re in your own kitchen trying to make them sit down in their high chair for a meal they will probably refuse and throw onto the floor while looking you dead straight in the eye, yet all they want to do is play in a toy kitchen of their own. Considering, most things toddlers and young children do are, well, just weird, we’ll save you the time and energy of trying to figure out the reason for this strange dynamic and just accept it for what it is: an awesome opportunity to distract your children for hours at a time.
Play kitchens captivate even the busiest, most easily distractible kiddos—and the more random trinkets and real-life features they have, the more of a time-suck they become. So whether you’re stuck working from home for the foreseeable future, need to get a few things done around the house on the weekends, or just want to sit and read a damn book in peace (albeit with the noise of pots and pans smashing in the background), this is an essential children’s toy that every parent needs (yes, it’s a gift for you just as much as it’s a gift for your child).
Choosing a kids’ kitchen is about as tricky as picking out a new granite countertop for your own kitchen—there are endless options. To help you narrow down your list to the ones that make the most sense for you (and will occupy your kiddo the longest), we’re sharing our own list of the best toy play kitchens on the market today.
Now the kiddos can whip up something yummy in the kitchen just like their mama. Just between you and us, we’re a bit envious of this state-of-the-art setup. KidKraft’s Farm-to-Table Play Kitchen Set comes with an 18-piece accessory and play food set. It includes a fire-inspired light and sound cooktop in addition to an ice maker that comes with pretend ice cubes. Our favorite part just may be the veggie planter boxes encouraging kids to grow their own produce at an early age.
One Amazon customer shares, “We ordered this kitchen as a replacement for another one that my kids got for Christmas that was too small. After reading the reviews, I knew this one would be the perfect size for them as they grow. My kids are 2 and 4. This came in today and I immediately put it together. I used the BILT app as other reviewers suggested and it made assembly a breeze. I did it by myself in about 2 hours. This kitchen is the cutest I’ve ever seen! It even has an ice maker with ice cubes! My kiddos absolutely love it, and I am so glad we upgraded to this gorgeous play kitchen. Just buy it, you won’t regret it. :)”
T-minus how many days until Christmas?! Make it easy this holiday season by gifting this pretty-in-pink playset. It comes stocked with some food accessories and various kitchen utensils. The level of interaction and role play involved will keep your kid entertained for hours. The electronic stovetop burner has working fire-inspired lights and the sink has a water circulation system for doing the dishes.
One Amazon customer says, “My daughter likes to be around when I am cooking in the kitten and she plays with the cookwares and the oven so often that we decided to buy a mini-kitchen for her. The instruction is clear printed on the box and it took me about fifteen minutes to assemble and finished all the stickers on bottles and surfaces. The size is suitable for a kid under 5 to play with which is close to adult thigh height. The colorful appearance is a big attraction especially for a small kid. The new part of the flashing stove-like fire with sounds is really fun. Some vegetables are included for kids to wash in the tube part which has the real water flowing through it. This mini-version kitchen can kill lots of time for my kid and I wish they can come with more parts like pizzas too.”
Warning: You may be envious of your kid’s new kitchen if you purchase the Uptown White Play Kitchen from KidKraft. It’s all-white with a beautiful gray backsplash that looks like tile and a wooden counter complete with a four- burner stove. Fake, but oh-so-adorable, appliances include a faux stainless steel sink, oven, dishwasher, fridge, freezer and microwave. Word to the wise: Make sure you have enough room in your play area for this toy kitchen, because it’s a big one! Also, set aside an entire weekend day to build it.
Here’s another play kitchen you’ll want to make your own reality. With rose gold chrome features, including handles, turnable knobs and the faucet, it’s about the cutest toy kitchen we’ve seen. It’s also sensibly structured—with the fridge (clad with an ice maker and a cup with two ice cubes that mimics the real-life function) to the left, the oven in the middle and the sink all the way to the right. The stove top is also made of faux marble, which just adds to the cuteness.
This might not be the style kitchen you’d design for yourself, but it has every knick knack and bell and whistle your kiddo could ask for—and thus will keep him incredibly distracted for enough time for you to throw in a couple loads of laundry at least. It has pretty much everything a kitchen could have—realistic lights and sounds to up the pretend play ante. There are even coffee pods to go along with the coffee pot and storage bins to keep all of the five condiments the set comes with. Also included: plates, bowls, cups, forks, knives, spoons, salt & pepper shaker, colander, pot and pan set and more.
If you’re looking for a toy kitchen that is just as elegant as the rest of your house, we love this one by Teamson. Honestly, we love it so much we kinda wish we could transform it into our own very real kitchen. This next-level kitchen features a farmhouse sink, a chalkboard surface on the fridge for a little whimsy, and a rotatable gas switch. Suitable for kids 3-12, this kitchen is pricier than others, but it’ll hold up a long, long time.
Toy brand Melissa & Doug do everything right, so it’s no surprise that their pretend play toy kitchen is one of their most popular toys for ages 3-8. It comes with everything your child needs to experience full-on pretend play, including an oven, stove, microwave, sink, refrigerator with a working “ice” dispenser, freezer, and even ample storage space for easy cleanup. It’s innovative so your child can interact with it in multiple ways. For example, the ice maker dispenses two “ice” cubes (which are included), the dials turn, the microwave plate spins, etc. It even comes with a grocery checklist!
If you’re into the vintage look, this is a great option for you that your little one will love. It’s made for children 36 months-3 years and includes a removable sink, oven knobs that click and turn and doors that open and close with ease. While it comes with the cups, plates and frying pan, some of the parts you have to purchase separately, like the pretend food, but with a full kitchen like this, your child may not even find use for fake food!
Best play kitchens for small spaces:
Looking for a play kitchen that’s on the smaller side and that won’t rival your very own working kitchen at home? Consider this cutesy pretend play oven designed in a traditional style with colors that kids love. It comes in pink, blue and an oxford style that also includes a microwave overhead. The regular stove-only style features 4-ring hobs with frying pans and play food, two utensils, gingham oven gloves, a clock with movable hands, and an easy-open oven with a removable rack inside.
If you haven’t heard of Lovevery yet, it’s time to get acquainted. The award-winning play products brand, has individual kits that are geared towards the various stages of a child’s development. Their “Helper Kit,” which is designed with 25, 26 and 27-month-old kids in mind, is basically like a little play kitchen without the bulkiness of so many on the market today. It includes a “Super Sustainable Sink” that comes with bio-based cups and plates, and here’s the best part: You just add a little water to it and it can run for hours and hours in a loop-system so that playing with the sink isn’t wasteful. It also comes with a few other activities including a Drop and Match Dot Catcher, Felt Flowers in a Row, a fun puzzle and an art kit with washable tempera paint sticks.
This small, but impactful, toy kitchen comes complete with all of the kids’ fake cooking needs. It has a sink, stove, oven window, cabinet and even a spice shelf! It’s great for you because it takes up way less space, but still has all of the important bells and whistles kids love. The only downside is that kitchen supplies (like plates, cups, and pretend food) are all sold separately.
Best play kitchen accessories:
Put your aspiring little sous-chef to work by introducing them to the proper cookware and cuttery. This kitchen playset (40 pieces) includes a pressure pot and electronic induction cooktop as well as a fry pan (ooh, pan fried noodles FTW!), and a soup pot (perfectttt for a homemade stew). They’ll have a blast learning safe kitchen etiquette. Never EVER run with a knife, right, moms?!
This toy kitchen set comes with the works.The 23-piece set includes 23 pieces include: a colander, stainless steel play pots and pans with lids and handles, utensils, an apron and chef hat, pot holder and cutting vegetables toys.
Best play food for kitchen:
Who doesn’t love an impromptu ice cream jamboree? Wait, that’s not even a question. This pretend play set consists of 21 frozen treat-inspired extras—everything from ice cream scoops to sugary sweet syrups and sprinkles. The waffle cone bowls and cones will make for a yummy afternoon in the kitchen.
Although real fast food is for special occasions, there’s nothing wrong with pretend fast food all the time. Your little will love “making” cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and fries with this 18-piece set.
Looking for more great ways to entertain the littles and give you a well-deserved break? Check out all of our mom-approved kids toys.