Buying Guide 2022: Best Play Kitchens & Accessories
Play kitchens and accessories are perfect for inspiring imaginative and creative play for toddlers and kids ages 2-6 year old and beyond. In this guide, you will find our recommendations on how to choose the best toy kitchens and play kitchen accessories for your budget, space, and style.
Reviewed and co-written by Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Guide to Toy Kitchens
Looking for a play activity that provides countless hours of fun and opportunities for development?
Consider a play kitchen!
Play kitchens provide the perfect set-up to help toddlers and little kids develop and expand imaginary play, build social-emotional skills and vocabulary, learn life skills, and practice problem-solving. Although ages 2-6 years will usually get the most benefit out of play kitchens, even younger toddlers 12-18 months and kids 7+ years seem to gravitate towards playing with a toy kitchen. There’s just something about a smaller version of a grown-up space, made especially for kids, that gives play kitchens a fun and magical feel all their own.
When deciding on a play kitchen, there are a few things you’ll want to consider: size, cost, colors and style, and specific features are all items we’ll provide feedback on below. Two things we especially love about play kitchens compared to many other large item toys are their overall durability and variety of play ideas that grow with your child as they develop and expand their skills. Dare we say an added bonus is that play kitchens can give us a few hot minutes to get dinner going with fewer distractions? (Anyone else try getting a meal made with a screaming toddler wrapped around their leg? Anyone?)
Let’s also talk for a quick second about HOW. CUTE. all of these play kitchens are?
Toy kitchens have come a long way from clunky, plastic-only, and minimal features to stylish, sustainable, and gender-neutral color palettes that provide multiple ways to play. You just might find yourself wanting to hang out in play kitchen-land, whipping up a delicious pretend meal with your little ones more often than you thought.
Reasons to Love these Kitchen Play Sets
- Durable – many on our list are made of wood construction and wood-based materials
- Gender-neutral color palettes and designs
- Countless options for Imaginative play – the kind of play that fosters skills such as creativity, cognitive flexibility, self-regulation, and problem solving
- Gives kids a chance to become familiar with real-life kitchen skills in a safe setting
- Encourages vocabulary and social interactions
- Provides picky eaters with opportunities for food play in a non-pressuring way
- Ability to grow with your child for many years – some are even height adjustable!
Best Play Kitchens
Best Wooden Play Kitchen: Pottery Barn Kids Charlie Kitchen Collection
Best Budget Kitchen: Kidkraft Happy Harvest Wooden Play Kitchen
Best Splurge: Milton & Goose Essential Play Kitchen
Best Modern Style: West Elm Mid-Century Play Kitchen
Best for Small Spaces: Mini Chef Kitchenette
Best Farm to Table: KidKraft Wooden Farm to Table Play Kitchen
Most Versatile Kitchen: KidKraft WONDERVAN
Best Overall Kitchen Accessories: KidKraft 115-Piece Deluxe Tasty Treats Food Set
What to Look for in a Play Kitchen
- How big (or small) is it? – Depending on the size, layout of your home, and where you plan to keep it, the size of the play kitchen will likely be one of the most important things you’ll need to consider before buying. In addition to the overall size of the toy kitchen, make sure to check the height of the countertop and and any shelves. While most toddlers will be able to “grow” into a slightly taller kitchen, a good rule of thumb for an appropriate countertop height would be a measurement that’s somewhere between the height of your child’s waist and hips.
- Style and colors – do you want a wooden play kitchen with a neutral based color palette or a play kitchen that has pops of color throughout? Is it important that it blends in with the rest of your home’s décor?
- Cost – the great thing is that there’s a variety of price points when it comes to play kitchens, but keep in mind that higher quality items, such as wooden play kitchens, will last longer. Higher quality kitchens will also have the ability to be passed down to family, friends, or sold second hand.
- Specific features – although almost all play kitchens include the basics of a sink, stove, oven and fridge, you may want to consider looking for one that includes specific features from your own kitchen, or features that your child particularly enjoys. Microwave? Ice maker? Extra cupboard space? Chalkboard for grocery lists? Chances are you’ll be able to find a model that fits your needs.
- Plan ahead for assembly time – all toy kitchens are going to require at least 2-3 hours to put together, so don’t put off the assembly until the night before Christmas.
- Consider adding an anti tip kit for safe play – depending on the height of the play kitchen you purchase and the age of your child.
- Spark their interest with new play themes – as your child grows, so will their play schemes. Making a birthday cake for a stuffed animal, playing coffee shop, or encouraging older kids to write out a recipe are all ways to help a play kitchen feel new again. Or add a couple new play kitchen accessories to inspire your child to get cooking! (pun totally intended).
- Use the ideas your child makes during play as a transition to help you with real-life tasks in the kitchen. They just might be more willing to help you sprinkle those veggies on a homemade pizza after you’ve reminded them of their own play kitchen creations.
Kidkraft Play Kitchens
If you are looking for a fun and whimsical play kitchen at a decent price, then look no further than KidKraft! KidKraft makes an adorable play kitchen that will last for years! Below you will find 3 of our favorites, but we couldn’t not tell you about some of our other top play kitchen sets from KidKraft that we are loving right now – Happy Harvest Play Kitchen, Modern White Play Kitchen, or the Terrance Garden Play Kitchen.
This adorable and compact kitchen has all the necessities for pretend play. We love the patterned backsplash and wood-grain cabinets that give it a modern feel.
- Realistic features include a light-up faucet with running water sounds, an ice machine, and knobs on burners that click when turned
- A side panel opens and closes for storing and minimizing clutter
- With a countertop that’s 23 inches tall, a great fit for older toddlers and beyond
This cute, sturdy kitchen comes with a window with curtains, play accessories, and a stovetop that lights up and makes sounds.
- Wooden butcher block provides a natural feel and is great for inspiring young chefs to chop veggies, fruits and herbs
- Stove top has lights and makes realistic sizzle sounds!
- Added storage compartments under stove
This unique “garden to table” kitchen comes with some adorable accessories, as well as a built-in chalkboard for writing up delicious menus!
- Kids can tend to and harvest veggies from plantar boxes that sit on the kitchen ledge
- Develop fine motor skills with cuttable onions, carrots and a toy knife
- Interactive features include a sink with lights and running water sounds, a light-up stove top, and an ice maker that dispenses pretend ice cubes
- The built in chalkboard is larger than most other models and provides a space for writing grocery lists and menus
This versatile vehicle truly is a “Wondervan,” offering a variety of play schemes and thoughtful accessories for hours of imagination.
- Multiple ways to play including use as a food truck, camping van, art studio, or puppet show.
- Reusable magnets add to play themes, chalkboard surfaces and easel paper provide artistic opportunities, and stovetop and shelving inspire cooking adventures
- Slide the entire front end into the back section for added space when not in use
Ikea Play Kitchen
It’s a classic! And at a great price! We gave this play kitchen the Most Versatile because if you are into DIY then this play kitchen is a good pick for you. There are thousands of ideas on how to up-grade this basic kitchen to any theme or magical experience your child prefers.
An adorable minimalist kitchen that’s perfectly priced to leave as is, or add a touch of style with DIY.
- Adjustable height legs grow with your child
- Stove top lights provide a realistic glow and can be switched on and off
- Easy to assemble
- Quality wooden play kitchen at a great price
Wooden Play Kitchens
In addition to being a sturdy and environmentally friendly option, the quality and longevity of wooden play kitchens mean that they can be passed down from generation to generation. Here are some of our top picks for wooden play kitchens that look like a piece of art AND function as your child’s favorite play activity.
This double-sided playset includes a kitchen on one side and a pantry/washing machine on the other side. The soft hues and neutral touches are a lovely mix of colors for any play area.
- All the essentials are covered, including a sink, microwave, oven, and washing machine
- Thoughtful details include a clock with working hands, a metal sink, and light/sound effects buttons
- 7 adorable and durable metal accessories included
This one wins our title for the best wooden play kitchen for good reasons – crafted from solid oak, finished with child-safe, water-based paint, and GREENGUARD Gold Certified, this one is just as stunning to look at as it is to play with.
- Magnetic closures on doors
- Sink, oven, stove with 4 burners, fridge and freezer provides a realistic set-up that older kids will love
- Comes with safety tested mounting hardware for fridge
Sharp, clean lines and neutral colors make this wooden play kitchen our pick for the best modern style.
- Made of solid poplar and engineered wood
- Child-safe, water-based finishing
- Iron and stainless steel faucet has moveable handles
Beautiful colors, fun accessories included, and our top pick for the best play kitchen for small spaces.
- Plenty of options for creative play with a microwave, sink, stove, and oven
- Lots of storage under the sink and above the stove for accessories
- Easy to assemble
- Budget friendly at under $100!
Is it a statement piece for your living room or a wooden play kitchen? With this striking playset, you don’t have to choose. Carefully crafted details will make this play kitchen a treasure for years to come.
- Simple and functional design includes an oven, stove top, sink, shelves and cabinet
- Built in chalkboard for writing grocery lists and menus
- Black, brown and natural finishes compliment any space
If you want a high-quality, unique wood play kitchen that is sure to become a family heirloom, check out our pick for the best splurge.
- Solidly crafted by Amish artisans from sustainable Baltic birch and North American maple
- Water-based, low VOC and HAPs-free finishes for an environmentally friendly play kitchen
- Handcrafted manufacturing and natural variations in wood give each piece a slightly unique look
- Includes an extra large oven, modern farmhouse sink, stove, center cutting board and spacious cabinet.
More Favorite Toy Kitchens
We love this trendy play kitchen for its interactive play options and variety of fun accessories.
- Light-up stove top, interactive oven buttons and large chalkboard for creative play
- Includes more than 25 pretend play cooking accessories
- Extendable prep counter folds flat for easy storage
- Budget friendly at under $100!
This play kitchen packs a lot of realistic features into a small space. Thoughtful details like a farmhouse sink, see-through fridge, and storage bins give it a modern feel.
- Stove top features lights and sizzling sounds for pretend play
- Plenty of storage space on shelves above and below
- Includes 24 pieces of play kitchen accessories
Play Kitchen Accessories
And of course, no play kitchen is complete without accessories. Play kitchen accessories are perfect for helping your child expand on imaginary play themes. Simply using accessories in a different way or adding a few pieces can make your play kitchen set feel completely new again. We’ve created a list of our favorite accessories from cuttable play food, to wooden and stainless steel pots and pans, to cash registers and more.
- KidKraft 115-Piece Deluxe Tasty Treats Food Set
- Melissa & Doug Grocery Cans Play Food
- Wooden Cutting Play Food Toy
- Plush Vegetable Garden 13-Piece Set
- Kids Wooden Sushi Set
- Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwich Play Food Set
- Hape Kid’s Chefs Cooking Set
- Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
- WHOHOLL Wooden Play Kitchen Accessories
- New Classic Toys Wooden Metal Pan Set
- PlanToys Wooden and Metal Cooking Playset
Kitchen Accessory Sets
- KidKraft 27-Piece Pastel Cookware Set
- Melissa & Doug Grocery Basket
- 21 Hand-Painted Wooden Food Products and 4 Crates
- New Sprouts Deluxe Market Set