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Play Kitchens - Hours of Fun for Kids

Updated on May 5, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Play Kitchens Are a Learning Experience for a Child

We loved playing in our play kitchen when we were young. Little did we realize that as we role-played, we were learning valuable skills. Using their imagination and pretending to cook like mom and dad is very good for children.

The kitchen shown here is the Step2 Cozy Kitchen

Treat your child to a play kitchen to encourage imaginative play. They'll have hours of fun with it. Since play kitchens come in a variety of sizes and prices, take a look at the selection below. I've included information on making your own play kitchen for a child as well.


Zazzle design available at Girl Chef African American Tshirts and Gifts by toddlersplace

Kid's All In One Play Kitchen

All In One Play Kitchen
All In One Play Kitchen

Check out the counter space in this kid's kitchen! There's cupboards for their play utensils and play foods too.

One parent commented, "Slightly longer than the Kidkraft or Melissa and Doug kitchens and very well constructed." She said her son loves it.


A Play Kitchen Can Be Inexpensive

Make your own play kitchen

When my little sister was eight, Mom made a play kitchen for a big Christmas gift for her. The play kitchen appliances were made from large cardboard boxes. Just decorate them with paint that you have around and felt-tipped markers.

The play food for the play kitchen started out as real food for the family. When Mom shopped for groceries, she bought small sizes of boxes and cans of regular food. She opened the cans from the bottom and washed out the interior. They looked like real food sitting in the play kitchen cupboards. Nothing was wasted, as we ate the food.

I still remember how surprised she was when she saw her gift and how much fun my sister had playing with those cans and boxes and her cardboard appliances.


Zazzle vintage graphic Little Cook Sticker by tnmpastperfect

Play Food Adds to the Play Experience

You can get life-size fruits and vegetables and other play food that looks quite realistic. If you want, choose just the most healthful foods and steer away from junk food replicas.

On a budget? Go through magazines and find photos of foods. These are glossy pictures in the recipe section or in advertisements. Glue these onto pieces of cardboard to be more sturdy. The child will have a great time cooking these in their toy frying pan or baking them in their pretend oven.

You can also find decorative pears, apples and other fruit at yard sales. These are ones people used to display in a bowl on their coffee table. Get them cheaply for 25 cents.

Small World Toys Living - Fun-With-Fruit  Play Set
Small World Toys Living - Fun-With-Fruit Play Set

A nice selection of fruit for children to play grocery store or to stock their play kitchen.


Other Ideas for a Do-It-Yourself Play Kitchen from Cardboard Boxes - or from found material

You can turn a battered, rejected piece of furniture into play kitchen. Take a new look at an old student desk, a too-small entertainment unit or other piece of furniture. Look at some of the projects below to see how a little paint and some imagination can create a dream play area for the junior chef in your family.

Budget Tip: Make Your Own Pretend Food Containers

When you use up foods, save the container and wash it well. These will be oversized for the play kitchen but the price is right. It's particularly good for opaque containers like a mustard dispenser.

Step2  101 Piece Play Food Assortment
Step2 101 Piece Play Food Assortment

Your child can prepare a varied menu with 101 pieces of pretend food.


Salad Play Set for Children - Fun food for the play kitchen

Safe and realistic looking play food and tools for the play kitchen. Actually, this is so realistic looking that I want a bowl right now.

Please Take the Poll

Did you pretend to cook when you were a child?

See results

Kidkraft Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen

Kidkraft Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen
Kidkraft Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen

One reviewer reported that her 4 year old son loves this play kitchen as he can reach the sink and stove. Her toddler could play in it too, opening the oven and the refrigerator. She expects that it will still fit them through age 8.

The doors on the different appliances open. You can take the sink out of the counter. There's a shelf in the refrigerator and room to store play foods inside. Her children like that the knobs move, making a clicking sound. There's a phone and wall clock (with movable hands). The kitchen is solid wood with rounded corners.


Chef's Hat and Apron for Toddler

Toddler White Chef Apron & Hat XS
Toddler White Chef Apron & Hat XS

Let the toddler feel like they are part of the action with this chef's hat and apron. Give them some leftover dough from the pumpkin pie to play with in their play kitchen. Be sure to wash the play rolling pin and dishes well afterwards.


Let Kids Help in the Kitchen

They can help by filling the sugar bowl and other tasks.
They can help by filling the sugar bowl and other tasks. | Source

Play Cookware and Dish Sets

You can buy a set made of plastic for your child to use with their play kitchen. Another way to go is shop around at yard sales. Look for small scale cookware, dishes, kitchen utensils.

For 25 cents each, you can stock the child's pretend kitchen with all sort of dishes and pans.

Dishes for Your Junior Chef

Learning Resources Play Dishes, 24 Piece Set
Learning Resources Play Dishes, 24 Piece Set

Colorful dishes will appeal to youngsters.


Step 2 LifeStyle Deluxe Play Kitchen

Step2 Lifestyle Deluxe Kids Pretend Kitchen
Step2 Lifestyle Deluxe Kids Pretend Kitchen

Let your future Julia Child have a great time playing in this play kitchen.


© 2010 Virginia Allain

Do You Have Childhood Memories of a Play Kitchen? - Happy holidays!

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    Post Comment

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I didn't have one but my kids had fun playing with their kitchen and play foods.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      David Cole of Play Kitchen Emporium left me this message, "

      Give you child a wooden play kitchen and you will inspire their imagination. While they create a dinner feast for their dolls and stuffed animals, you will get hours of enjoyment watching them learn how to be creative. You can even get involved yourself and teach them a little about working in the kitchen themselves. Nothing can bond a parent and child more than quality time together."

    • Frischy profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      My daughter loved to play with toy food during her preschool years. This lens brought back wonderful memories.

    • piedromolinero profile image


      8 years ago

      My daughter cooks the most delicious meals in her play kitchen.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My granddaughters want one of these so bad, but do not have the space in their small one bedroom apartment. Otherwise, a play kitchen is a great gift.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      No, I didn't have a play kitchen when I was a kid, but certainly will get one to my granddaughter...if I ever get one.....

    • religions7 profile image


      8 years ago

      No, I don't. I'm pretty sure I didn't have one.


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