Play Kitchens are popular toys among children that encourage the little ones to explore imaginative, creative, and interactive play while teaching them important life skills. It helps them develop visual recognition, important motor skills, numeracy, teamwork, and communication while having fun along the way. These toys are able to teach children at a young age how to be responsible in working in the kitchen. They can apply their observations upon watching their parents making meals and learn how to gather ingredients, make a dish, serve a meal, clean up the table, and wash dishes. If you’re looking for a good surprise gift, supporting their dream to become a chef, or simply just want a toy that they could have fun with, then play kitchens are something you should consider buying for them.
There are different types of play kitchens depending on what you’re exactly looking for in one. You can consider the size or square footage, the material that it is made out of, the design, special features, and of course, the price. Here are different types of play kitchens you can consider looking into
Wooden Play Kitchens
If you’re looking for a play kitchen that’s sturdy and durable, wooden play kitchens are a good option. They are usually made out of solid wood and not just low-quality plywood, this also includes the use of sustainable wood from birch trees and North American maple trees. Because of the material, it’s most likely safer for children to play with and more environmentally friendly. Some wooden play kitchens may be low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), and VOCs are unhealthy when breathed in. Meanwhile, others may have finishes that are free from hazardous air pollutants or HAPs.
Just like any other type of play kitchen, wooden play kitchens can come in all sorts of sizes, larger ones may have more special features like cabinets, cupboards, or even refrigerators. Miniature ones have cuter designs and may appeal to younger or smaller children. They would normally include stoves, sinks, a small cabinet or drawer, an oven, or maybe a mini fridge depending on how innovative the design is. One of the best parts would be the possibility of painting it with whatever color or design the kid likes. Kitchen accessories are varied and optional depending on the brand.
Plastic Play Kitchens
Compared to wooden ones, plastic play kitchens are a great option if you want something more lightweight that you can easily carry or move around the house. If you’re on a budget, this type of play kitchen can be the most affordable one in the market as it is easier to produce and assemble.
Although it costs less compared to most wooden kitchen sets, does not mean they are any less fun. It can still come with various kitchen accessories like utensils, condiments, and even recycling bins. Some of them may also include special features like real sounds of boiling water and can also be big enough for two or more children to play with. In addition, most plastic play kitchens have vibrant colors and pasted images which can also appeal to children.
All-in-one Modern Play Kitchens
Now going design-wise, all-in-one modern play kitchens look very realistic and mimic what children see when adults are cooking in the kitchen. They may not come in appealing and bright colors like other play kitchens that look more attractive to the children’s eyes as they are mostly inspired by real-life models. They probably look more like the kitchens you see in fancy home magazines, But hey, we would not know for sure, so just check in with your kid’s tastes and get a good guess whether they’ll like modern-looking ones or not.
In terms of functionality, they can pretty much be like any type of play kitchen that has a stove, an oven, a refrigerator, a cabinet, and other useful features, only that they are more detailed and almost precisely similar to the real ones. Some children may love this especially since other modern play kitchens try to create real features that work like having an icemaker that releases plastic ice cubes every time you press a lever. Meanwhile, some stove burners even work and produce a realistic glow.
Walk-in Play Kitchens
Similar to the concept of walk-in closets, walk-in play kitchens feel almost like the real thing and are more like a playhouse than most play kitchens. Although not as realistically designed as all-in-one modern play kitchens, they still include a lot of realistic features which may include a prep counter, a kitchen floor, more cabinets, ovens, refrigerators, pressable buttons, a light-up stove (non-heating), even a grill! It all depends on the brand you are buying from but expect that this type of play kitchen is much bigger, interactive, and a bit pricey, but it is still worth it!
If you have the budget, this could also be a great option for you as you will no longer need to do further shopping for kitchen accessories, so the kids can go straight to play mode. This is also a good option for families that have more than 3 children who want to play together. Walk-in play kitchens can be made out of plastic, wood, or even a mixture of both depending on the manufacturer. But of course, as mentioned earlier, expect that those made out of wood are more expensive and sturdier, while the plastic walk-in play kitchens are more lightweight, easy to transfer, and less expensive.