5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your Kids a Play Kitchen

little girl playing pretend play kitchen

Are you looking to buy a Kid’s Kitchen Set? Be sure to check out my roundup of the 25 Best Kids Kitchen Toys on the market.

Pretend or imaginative play isn’t just a fun activity; instead, it acts as an important part of cognitive and social development for your kids. 

Play kitchens offer a really great opportunity for parents to allow some of this imaginative play and therefore, social and cognitive development, to occur at home before your kids attend school.

Toddlers especially love play kitchen and it’s a great way to sit back as a part and watch your little one play, explore and develop all on their own. Play kitchens also have a raft of other benefits, such as safe experimentation, learning about healthy foods and more as discussed below.

This guide will also cover what we look for in a play kitchen and how we picked the ones we reviewed so you know what to look for when doing your own research.

Why Should You Buy a Play Kitchen For Your Kids

There are many reasons why it’s great to have a play kitchen at home, as outlined below, but let’s be honest, the most important reason is that they are so much FUN!

1. Improved Cognitive Flexibility

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Improved cognitive flexibility is a scientific way of saying that early pretend play is shown in research to promote imagination and creativity in kids. This is important because we need creative thinking in so many aspects of life.

Consider all the things we do as adults, such as problem solving, understanding new concepts, making plans and visualizing and enjoying books, arts, films. These things all require our brains to be flexible, creative and imaginative.

2. Social and emotional development

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If we have a conversation with someone who has a different perspective to our own, this cognitive pliability allows us to be more understanding, more likely to see their side and increase the chances of our own mind’s being changed.

Now consider parenting a stubborn teen and I bet you’ll be quickly introducing more imaginative play into your household!

A play kitchen allows little ones to make up recipes, play different roles (chef, waiter, sous-chef, patron, waiter), use utensils and appliances and play out scenarios they’ve experienced with their own unique creative twist.

3. Language and Communication

Little Tikes Ultimate Cook Kitchen

A play kitchen is inherently a social activity. Kids love to engage one another and the adults around them in their play. With a play kitchen, kids can work together easily to create a play scenario, which will promote teamwork and encourage development of social skills.

This will also allow them to experiment and learn about language as they communicate their wants and needs and negotiate with their playmate. They can try and learn new vocabulary (their play kitchen may be located in a restaurant or maybe they’re stewards on a plane serving their passengers) and learn how their words have impacts in real life.

Additionally, pretend play offers kids an opportunity to play out scenarios they have experienced or imagined, as well as playing different characters. This is their way of learning who they are by experimenting with the different social and emotional roles of life. Pretend play will improve their self-confidence, self-esteem, and their self-awareness as they safely experiment and test new boundaries.

4. Fine and Gross Motor Skills

plastic play kitchen

In their play kitchen, your little ones will have the opportunity to practice chopping, sautéing, frying and serving up their delicious imaginary meals. This is a unique creative play scenario that offers a chance for them to practice both fine and gross motor skills.

This of course can be dependent on the accessories included in your play house, but regardless, kids love practicing the actions that they see Mom and Dad doing in the kitchen, which naturally involve both fine and gross motor skills.

5. Life Skills

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Play kitchens offer kids the opportunity practice many life skills essential to being an adult that you might not find in other types of imaginary play. These include planning and organization, numeracy, cleanliness, making healthy food choices and so on.

Consider a child practicing the preparation of a meal, they can plan their meal, count out their ingredients, set the table, serve their food, pretend to clean up and finally, put everything away at the end of their play session.

You can also use their play kitchen to teach them about healthy foods and the importance of unhealthy items being “sometimes” foods.

By encouraging these types of life skills in their creative play, you will start to ingrain in them these crucial life skills that will set them up to be successful adults later in life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Play Kitchens

How does a play kitchen help a child’s development?

A play kitchen is a great way to help a child develop stronger social skills and a larger vocabulary. The pretend-play experience of a toy kitchen can also foster a child’s imagination and creative problem-solving skills while building their independence, and confidence.

There are many skills that are essential to a child’s healthy development. Because a play kitchen helps a child improve many of these skills at the same time, it is one of the best toys that a child can own.

What is the best age for a play kitchen?

Toy kitchens are fun for kids of every age. While toddlers may be the target market for most play kitchens, preschoolers and older children also enjoy the creative games they play in a toy kitchen. Even teenagers and adults can have fun playing with a toy kitchen with younger children.

Play kitchens are a great way for people of all ages to come together and enjoy a creative activity like running a pretend restaurant or staging an imaginary cooking competition.

Is 5 too old for a play kitchen?

Children who are five or older can still get a lot of enjoyment out of play kitchens. However, some play kitchens are designed specifically for toddlers and older children may have more fun with a toy kitchen that is more appropriately sized.

Using kid-sized cooking utensils and dishes instead of the tiny, plastic dishes that often come with toddler kitchens is a good way to keep a play kitchen enjoyable for older children. So is the addition of fun items like aprons, hot mitts, and egg timers.

What do preschoolers learn from cooking activities?

Preschoolers can learn many things from cooking activities. They can learn new verbs like “mix” and “bake”, how to do simple counting, and about opposites like “hot” and “cold”. They can also learn about the concept of money by selling their pretend food for imaginary money.

Working alongside a friend, sibling, or parent in a play kitchen can help children develop the social skills they will need to interact with various groups of people. Cooking activities can also help develop independence and creativity, along with valuable fine motor skills and healthy eating habits.

Are play kitchens Montessori?

Preschoolers can learn many things from cooking activities. They can learn new verbs like “mix” and “bake”, how to do simple counting, and about opposites like “hot” and “cold”. They can also learn about the concept of money by selling their pretend food for imaginary money.

Working alongside a friend, sibling, or parent in a play kitchen can help children develop the social skills they will need to interact with various groups of people. Cooking activities can also help develop independence and creativity, along with valuable fine motor skills and healthy eating habits.

Are play kitchens worth it?

Kids tend to quickly get bored with trendy, electronic or character-inspired toys, but they will play with their toy kitchens for years to come. Because quality play kitchens are durable and entertaining enough to be enjoyed throughout childhood, they are a purchase worth making.

Toy kitchens are also often durable enough to be passed down to a younger relative when a child outgrows them. This continued usability makes a play kitchen an investment that keeps its value.

Which is better – wooden or plastic play kitchens?

Both wooden and plastic play kitchens have pros and cons. Wooden play kitchens are more durable but can be expensive and heavy. Plastic play kitchens are generally more affordable but can break easily and fade if used outdoors. Different families have different needs when choosing the right play kitchen.

Some people prefer to start with a plastic play kitchen for their young toddler because plastic is easier to clean, and these kitchens are often sized for smaller children. When their child is older, they upgrade to a wooden play kitchen has improved durability and fits their bigger child better.

How do you build a kitchen for kids?

Building a play kitchen can seem complicated, but the process can be easy. In fact, it’s even possible to make a play kitchen out of items laying around the house. Big Happy House has a great article that features 30 different play kitchens someone can make out of old furniture.

Crafting a one-of-a-kind toy kitchen is a wonderful way to bring individuality into a child’s playroom. Including customized features like blackboard paint, colorful dishes, and play versions of a child’s favorite food can help make a homemade play kitchen truly unique.

Which children’s play kitchen is best?

Every family will have a different idea of what the best play kitchen for their needs will look like. Big Happy House makes it easy for any family to find the right play kitchen for their children with this article that showcases 25 amazing play kitchens.

The article includes recommendations for a variety of play kitchens and mentions which age group each kitchen is most suitable for. It also highlights each play kitchen’s strengths and weaknesses, so families can make an informed decision before they invest in a toy kitchen.

little girl playing pretend play kitchen
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