Buying Guide: Best Play Kitchen Models and Features
If you have a young child, and haven’t discovered the benefits of having a play area, I feel bad for you. Play environments such as play kitchens have numerous emotional, intellectual, and physical benefits that help children grow. Our children spend a lot of time mimicking us and trying to be like us, and it’s important to provide those opportunities to them in a safe environment, or else they will create these opportunities for themselves in dangerous situations, without our supervision.
With all of that being said, there are plenty of options available for play kitchens. Just like real kitchens, there are different materials, styles, and sizes which you can choose from. Finding the right mix of versatility, affordability, and fun can be a challenge, however I’ve done plenty of research in this area and feel qualified in helping you find the best play kitchen for your children, so have a look.
Top 5 Play Kitchens
Step2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
American Plastic Toy Deluxe Custom Kitchen
KidKraft Vintage Kitchen
Little Tikes Cook N Grow Kitchen
Optional Accessories to Buy
Green Toys Dish Set
Melissa and Doug Shopping Cart
Green Toys Tea Set
Green Toys Chef Set
Plastic Versus Wood
When you are looking at play kitchens, there are two main types of materials used, plastic and wooden. Plastic kitchens are usually much cheaper, and require very little assembly. There is also a huge variance between how long they will last, some will last a very long time, and others are flimsy and break easily. You’ll have to read reviews or try them out yourself to know the difference. A huge advantage that plastic sets have is that most of them are interactive, and come with lights and noise makers, although your mileage may vary depending on which kitchen set you are looking at.
Wooden kitchens on the hand are on average, much more durable than plastic sets. A major detraction to wooden sets is that they are more expensive and the colors lack brightness, which some children won’t like.
Large or Small?
You also have to decide whether or not you want to go with a large play kitchen, or a small one. This can come down to a number of factors, including space, age of child, and cost. Smaller sets are obviously less expensive, and you will be able to store them in more areas.
Larger models however are more ideal for larger children, who may require more accessories to stay occupied. Larger kitchens also provide the opportunity for cooperative play with others, which is vital for helping your children grow.
Island Versus One-Sided
Another design choice which you have to consider when looking at play kitchens, is whether or not they are island or one-sided. One sided kitchens are created to take up as little space as possible, and fit against a wall. Most of these are usually made of flimsy plastic and can be knocked over easily.
Island styled sets however are on average, higher quality. They are designed to accommodate many children at once, and can come quite large. These are best utilized in large play rooms, and children can choose to eat on the larger counter areas.
Accessories, Use, and Style
A final note on all of this, the best play kitchens come designed with a lot of room to grow out. They are usually the center piece of a large room, and as your children grow they will want to purchase a lot of accessory items. How you design the room may be entirely up to you at first, but eventually, your children will want to take ownership and add additional accessories. Be ready for this!