The Best Play Kitchens for Kids

Play kitchens are all about cooking up kids’ creativity and sparking their imaginations. Check out these top recommendations and tips on choosing the best play kitchen for your little one.

By Rebecca Wolken | Updated Dec 31, 2020 10:09 AM

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The Best Play Kitchen Options


Play kitchens are a great way for children to improve their creativity, critical thinking, as well as motor, language, and social skills. Before shopping for the best play kitchen for your little chef, consider the following variables to determine which model is most suitable.

  • Your child’s age: Most play kitchens are geared toward a target age range. More often than not, these recommended age ranges are a matter of safety. Very young children can choke on small pieces, and toddlers can stand in sinks or on plastic oven doors and cause the kitchen to topple onto them.
  • Intended location: While play kitchens are endless fun, they do take up quite a bit of space. Settle on a spot in your house where you’ll set up a play kitchen, and find one that will fit into the space.
  • Accessories: Some play kitchens come with accessories, while others do not. Some only come with pots and pans, while others only come with play food. Be sure to check product specifications to determine what the set has and doesn’t have; consider purchasing culinary add-ons to fill in the blanks.
  • Features: To simulate the kitchen experience, some options come with features such as light-up stove tops and boiling sounds. Consider whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly, basic play kitchen, a premium model with impressive extras, or a mid-range one.
  • Aesthetics: Some play kitchens are more modern and grown-up-looking than others, while others are traditional or retro. Modern-style play kitchens can potentially be put within (or right outside) your own kitchen so you and your child can cook together.
  • Assembly: Setting up play kitchens can be more involved than you might think. As you’re researching play kitchens, note the required tools and batteries (if applicable) needed to build the kitchen. Consult the manufacturer’s assembly instructions to get a sense of the time required for setup.

What’s fun about shopping for a play kitchen is marveling at the numerous options available. There are many styles and sizes of kitchens to suit different families’ needs, with models offered at various price points—all designed to entertain your little ones and encourage their development.

Our Top Picks

With the above shopping considerations in mind, you can approach these top recommendations with a good sense of what you’re looking for.

Best Overall

Melissa & Doug Play Kitchen

Melissa & Doug created a fun and realistic play kitchen for children ages 3 and up. The stove dials rotate and click just like those on a real stove; the ice dispenser works and will dispense two play ice cubes (included). The faucet handle turns, its head swivels, and the appliance doors open and close. You can go for the kitchen only, or choose between five add-on accessory sets including bakeware, pretend food, grocery cans, pots and pans, and cooking utensils.

The kitchen set without accessories includes an oven, stove, microwave, sink, refrigerator with ice dispenser, and freezer. It features open storage shelves, hooks for hanging utensils, a towel rack, grocery list, and a faux tile backsplash. Choose between three color schemes for this modern-style kitchen: brown and grey, all white, or pink and white. Its wooden construction is sturdy and holds up over time, even with daily use.

Melissa & Doug products encourage kids to use their own imagination, so there are no electronic effects with this kitchen. No batteries are required, but you will need basic tools (including a screwdriver or drill) to assemble it. The dimensions of this play kitchen are 39 by 43.25 by 15.5 inches.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Play Kitchen Option: Step2 Fun with Friends Kitchen

While this kitchen is not the cheapest one on the list, it will get you the most bang for your buck. It includes a play kitchen with a sink, oven, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker, plus a 45-piece accessory set that’s chock-full of cutlery, plates, and food.

When your child “cooks” with the special pot and fry pan that comes with this kitchen, the stovetop burner lights up and makes a sizzling sound. The coffee maker comes with a travel mug and a single-serve coffee pod. The oven knobs click, and the doors on the refrigerator, microwave, and oven open and shut to store food and other toys.

While this set’s plastic aesthetics are not modern and may not fit your home’s style, it will look charming in a playroom or kids’ bedroom. If you’re looking for a play kitchen that blends in with adult decor, this is probably not the kitchen for you.

The recommended age range for this play kitchen is 2 to 6 years old. It requires standard tools for assembly, plus two AA batteries. When assembled, it measures 12.5 by 35.75 by 40.88 inches.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Play Kitchen Option: KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen

KidKraft took it up a notch with their modern-style play kitchen. The elegant design and espresso-toned wood make this play kitchen elegant as well as durable. This corner kitchen’s layout allows you to position it out of the way and gives children plenty of space for play. There are fun little decorative details, like curtains and decals of a flower pot, dishwasher soap, and cooking utensils.

The KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen includes interactive elements like a cordless wall phone and light-up stove burners that make sounds. All the doors on the oven, microwave, washing machine, refrigerator, and freezer open and close. The sink is removable for easy cleaning, and the ice maker dispenses plastic ice cubes. Hooks for hanging utensils and storage shelves are also included.

Though the upsides to this play kitchen are many, one downside is its lack of accessories. Food plates, and cooking gear must be purchased separately. The recommended age range for this kitchen is 3 to 5 years old.

Assembly is required for this kitchen; step-by-step instructions are included as well as 9 LR44 batteries. Once assembled, this model measures 42.5 by 32.5 by 36.75 inches.

Best for Girls

The Best Play Kitchen Option: KidKraft Vintage Kitchen in Pink

KidKraft’s retro-looking pink and silver play kitchen can spark your little girl’s imagination. The knobs and faucet handles turn for realistic play. The oven, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and cabinet doors all open and shut, so kids can store and “cook” pretend food in their appliances. Unlike most play kitchens, this model has an open design that provides access from the front or back, so it’s well suited for multiple kids to use at once.

This play kitchen includes a cordless phone, plus convenient storage above and below the sink. The sink removes for easy cleanup, and the see-through doors on the microwave and oven are an adorable realistic touch. The vintage design and pink shade give it a cute look that may not suit your home’s decor scheme, but will work well in a playroom or kids’ bedroom.

The recommended age range for this kitchen is 3 to 8 years old. Its dimensions are 33 by 13.5 by 35.75 inches. Step-by-step assembly instructions are included, and no batteries are necessary.

Best for Boys

The Best Play Kitchen Option: KidKraft 53298 Uptown Natural Kitchen

This modern KidKraft play kitchen has a neutral wood design suitable for boys, offering sturdy and reliable construction. KidKraft’s thoughtful and realistic detailing on this kitchen includes a faux brick backsplash, speckled countertop, and appliance knobs that turn. The refrigerator, freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher doors all open and close. The oven doors are see-through, so your little baker can check on their food, and the kitchen sink is removable for cleanup.

The Uptown Natural Kitchen includes a play phone that clips onto the side of the refrigerator, and the freezer door has a small chalkboard surface for writing notes. Kids can hang utensils using pegs on the backsplash, hang a towel on the included rack, and store items on an upper shelf. One drawback to this cute set is that it doesn’t include accessories, so you’ll have to purchase your own cutlery, pots and pans, plates, and play food.

The recommended age range for this kitchen is 3 to 5 years old. Though it comes with step-by-step instructions for assembly, the set comes in many pieces, and may take a while to put together. When assembled, it measures 43 by 17.75 by 41 inches.

Also Consider

The Best Play Kitchen Option: Step2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen Playset

The Step2 LifeStyle kitchen includes a special frying pan and pot that activate frying and boiling sounds on the stovetop burners. The burner knobs twist and click just like those on a real stove. The microwave and refrigerator doors open and close for play. This kitchen also comes with a play phone that rings and makes other sounds. Decals like muffins baking in the oven and pizza cooking in the microwave add to the fun. The LifeStyle playset comes with 20 kitchen accessories, but pretend food is not included.

This Step2 kitchen includes multiple storage options that make it easy to keep clutter-free: a pullout recycling bin, a cabinet under the sink, and a pullout drawer to keep cooking supplies organized. The plastic materials are free of BPA and VOCs for parents’ peace of mind.

Choose between a contemporary or modern design with this kitchen. You’ll need basic tools for assembly, along with two AA batteries (not included). Once assembled, this kitchen measures 28 by 14.02 by 41.5 inches.