Updated: November 2017

Play Kitchen Reviews:

I think that kitchen playsets are one of the best gifts you can get your child. They are interactive, help your boy or girl learn all sorts of words related to food items, and I've seen my kids play with it for hours. The pretend play kitchens are almost all $100 or more, but the value you get for that price is really amazing. Our daughter just turned 8 and has lost some interest in the toy kitchen but our son is 4 and now he plays with it quite often. Play kitchens for kids let your child be creative and allow them to do make believe play in a restaurant. I always laugh as my son gets pancakes ready for breakfast or a grilled cheese off the stove for lunch. Our kitchen set has lots of fun features like a talking chef (Chef Tony), running water at the sink, a stove that has sounds like bubbling or boiling water, and a small microwave above the kitchen. Surprisingly enough, this plastic play kitchen has held up quite well over the years and hopefully we can give it to one of our neighbors after my son has had enough of it. Of course all the pretend kitchens are much more fun if you buy all the food accessory items (hot dogs, fruits, vegetables, canned foods, etc.). We also have grocery baskets, a fake cash register, and a table and chairs to go with it.
play kitchen

Toy kitchens

come in a variety of designs and materials these days. The cheaper kitchen playsets are made with plastic while the more expensive ones are done with wood. One of the most popular models online is the vintage kitchen (KidKraft Red Vintage Kitchen) - just like you might have seen in homes across America back in the 1950's and 60's. The wooden play kitchens are more durable and hold up better to the constant banging and slamming that kids tend to do with toys like this. Parents say the new wood sets - like the Melissa & Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen - have rounded corners and a stable design compared to the plastic models. We read lots of reviews for kitchen playsets online, Amazon is a goldmine in terms of owner feedback on products. There are literally 100's of parents online postings with great feedback on almost every play kitchen available. Toys R Us has some opinions posted on their website as well as Target. The majority of the kitchens come with a small refrigerator, an oven, stove, a microwave, a sink, storage areas (cupboards), and a few had racks for pots and pans. Our playset had sounds and voices so that our kids could interact with it and follow directions on cooking. We had to put in a few batteries, but the inner workings and wiring have held up over the years. Some of the kitchens are larger and can handle taller kids playing with them. Most manufacturers claim their toy kitchens are meant for kids 3 to 8. Toddlers absolutely love these pretend kitchens and if you buy a small apron or the food items, they will have hours of fun playing like a mom or dad in the kitchen. Make sure the base of the kitchen set is stable and what we found helpful was placing it up against a wall for added stability. The top brands are KidKraft, Little Tikes, Melissa and Doug, Pottery Barn, and Step2. You can browse the top selling kitchen playsets online here.

Best Play Kitchen:

RECOMMENDED - It's really hard to go against the #1 seller on Amazon with hundreds having been sold. The Melissa & Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen is a clear winner amongst parents and kids. The kitchen includes everything your young chef could want - freezer, fridge, oven, sink, microwave, and stovetop. The solid wood construction makes for a durable kitchen that will stand up strong to the punishment that toddlers tend to hand out. Assembly can be a bit tedious - we read online postings of some parents taking up to 3 hours, while others did it in under 90 minutes. Just be prepared and stay patient is what most parents say. Melissa and Doug products are gaining reputation amongst the parenting community and they are becoming more popular than the traditional Fisher Price and Step2 kids kitchens. One of our local childcare centers has this toy kitchen in their play area and the kids love it. Don't forget to browse all the play food for the pretend kitchens here.

Wooden Kitchen Playset:

RECOMMENDED - When it comes to sturdy, wooden kids kitchens we say the Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen from KidKraft is the best value at just a little over $150. It's a well made kitchen (you do have to put it together), large enough that 2 kids can easily play with it at the same time. The see through doors on the oven and microwave are great and the sink can be removed if you need to clean it out. All the doors open and close smoothly and there is ample storage space if you buy the food accessory items to go with it. Another excellent choice would be the Little Tikes Deluxe Wooden Kitchen and Laundry Center with lots of features including the attached laundry section. The Little Tikes play kitchen is a bit pricier than other models, but the attention to detail and sturdy design make it worth the money. The knobs click, there is double burner stove, double sink, chalkboard, and metal pots and pans. Assembly is once again a complaint that we read from some owners, but there is not one kitchen that comes out of the box ready to go, so no matter what you buy it has to be done. I have several Little Tikes childrens products and they have always held up very well and I've never had a problem.

Vintage Kitchen Playset:

I've seen these kids items in stores like Pottery Barn Kids, but we feel like the best vintage play kitchens are sold by KidKraft. They offer two of the top sellers online - the KidKraft Red Vintage Kitchen being the one most people buy. It features a refrigerator, stove, oven, sink, ladle, pot, and apron. The doors on the unit will open and close and the oven knobs click and turn just a real one. The sink is removable and a cordless phone is included. The only complaint some parents have for this kitchen is that it is a bit small (in height). The Kidkraft Retro Kitchen and Refrigerator in Pink is another option if you have a girl (can't imagine a boy would want this all pink play kitchen). The KidKraft kitchens are definitely sturdy and require some patience to assemble, but once they are done your kids will love them.