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The Best Play Kitchens For Your Little Chefs

Your (imaginary) meal is ready.

The kitchen is generally the heart of the home. For young children, kids’ play kitchens are often the heart of the play room.  Toy kitchen sets encourage them to engage in pretend play, as they work out what foods to cook, who does the dishes, and whether a rutabaga really is as scary as it sounds. They play roles, with someone being the chef, and someone else being the taster. They play together, taking turns, negotiating responsibilities, and communicating with one another.

When you’re looking for a great toddler play kitchen, find one that won’t take you a year, and an advanced degree in architecture, to put together. Pick a kitchen that’s well-made, ideally from wood. A taller counter height means kids play with it for longer without outgrowing it. And while we love shiny things as much as the next person, remember that the more a kitchen does in terms of lights and sounds, the less pretending your kid has to do. 

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The Best Toddler Kitchen Sets

If you really, really suck at putting big toys together, than this pop-up play kitchen is for you.This portable kitchen set is great for those tight on space, and lacking the aforementioned toy assembly skills. It has a clock to to help kids practice telling time, bright red knobs to control the stove and grill temperature, a pot and lid, a frying pan and cooking utensils.

We like this kitchen because it starts wide for younger kids and adjusts to a higher countertop as kids grow up. Meaning they can use it for longer. All that aside, it has an oven, fridge, and stove top that makes realistic cooking sounds. Plus it comes with 40 pieces of food for kids to cook and eat. Because of the way it's set up, with an extra-spacious counter, it's great for multiple kids to use together.

Compact and just plain gorgeous, Hape's wooden kitchen set includes starter pans and utensils, plus essential foods. It has cabinets that open, hooks from which to hang supplies, and is the perfect height for kids. It's solid-wood and a beautiful addition to any playroom. Great for aspiring chefs ages three and up, Hape's wooden kitchen lets kids learn to 'cook,' host parties, clean up, and engage in hours of pretend play. It's made of wood, so it will last for years. And years.

The Best Play Kitchen Sets for Kids

Melissa & Doug's toy kitchen includes an oven, stove, microwave, sink, a refrigerator with an actual ice dispenser, freezer, and ample storage space for easy cleanup of all the kitchen accessories. This kitchen is made of wood, and thus should last longer than its flimsier plastic brethren. And most importantly, this kitchen is big enough for multiple kids to play in it together.

Made from engineered wood and plastic, this is great for anyone who's low on space. It also takes about two hours to put together, which isn't a nightmare by kitchen standards. It has an oven, cabinet, freezer, refrigerator, and microwave doors that open and close, plus working knobs on the oven and sink. There's even a cordless phone, for a real touch of nostalgia.

A kitchen worthy of a Parisian bistro, this one is a nice blend of simplicity and flashy features. The burners have knobs that make noises; the dishwasher has a round window and knob to get the dishes clean. The wooden cutting board is a nice touch for doing some efficient veggie chopping. There's also a metal pot and pan. It's made from MDF.

Quite possibly the most beautiful play kitchen ever made, this one is crafted entirely from solid wood: No plastic, no particle board, and no MDF. It has a pull-down oven door, knobs, burners, and a grill. Because it doesn't make noise, it forces kids to actually use their imaginations to fill in the blanks. Plus, it's an heirloom piece that will last way longer than the turkey your child roasts you for dinner. The counter is 22 inches high.

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