The 7 Best Play Kitchens to Buy in 2022

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on January 28th, 2022

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Creative and imitative play is developmentally important, so it’s a good thing when it comes naturally to toddlers.

Although kitchen playsets are well-loved childhood staples that inspire kids to imagine and learn, there are vast numbers of them out there, some less safe and durable than others.

In the spirit of making educated toy picks, something we believe passionately about, we looked into the seven best play kitchens for kids.

Take a look at what’s on the menu!

Our top picks for the best play kitchens

Editor’s choice

Our opinion

Recommended age: 3+
Materials: Wood, plastic
Lights and sounds: Yes
Batteries required: 9 LR44 batteries included
Choking hazards: Yes
Included: Refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, sink, microwave, dishwasher, window, cabinet, hanging area, cordless phone

Modern and stylish from the creative play experts, the KidKraft Corner Kitchen Set (check price on Amazonmight make some parents a little green with envy!

A fridge with a pull-out freezer and ice maker makes up one side of this set. To the right, an oven and stove combo with three knobs offers opportunities for small motor skill boosts.

Hanging pegs above the stove are great for storing accessories.

A realistic sink has a faux stainless steel finish with turning taps, and the counter resembles real speckled marble.

A cordless phone featuring a hands-free clip sits just above the curtained window and dishwasher, finishing out this fun, trendy kitchen.

What we love
  • The modern design, which could make you think of restyling your home!
Watch for
  • Can take a while to assemble

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Recommended age: 3+
Materials: Wood
Lights and sounds: No
Batteries required: No
Choking hazards: Yes
Included: Sink, stove, cabinets, shelf

There’s a lot to be said for simple toys that encourage our kids to imagine.

Hape’s Gourmet Wooden Kitchen Playset (check price on Amazon) has a flat, painted stovetop and “oven” cabinets with large, bright red knobs that click when kids turn them.

A sink with a recessed basin and two knobs offers more role-play opportunities while the shelf above the unit is ideal for storing their kitchen accessories.

Hape is known for making sturdy toys that hold up to childhood play and to the concept of simplicity, encouraging children to think more expansively, telling their own stories during creative play.

What we love
  • It’s simple and affordable, and allows kids to access their creativity without overwhelming them
Watch for
  • Tied wraps have a learning curve, so be prepared to spend some time getting used to how it works

Second budget buy

Our opinion

Recommended age: 3+
Materials: Wood
Lights and sounds: No
Batteries required: No
Choking hazards: Yes
Included: Stove, oven, microwave, sink, cabinet, drawers, clock, accessories

Well-made wooden toys are charming and durable, wood being a great material for toy kitchens that see loads of use.

This pick from Teamson Kids (check price on Amazonis small-space friendly, so works well in a playroom or shared bedroom.

It features cabinets with cheerful yellow handles, a dual burner stove and oven with moving knobs, a mounted microwave, a sink, and even a clock with handles that move manually.

Two small drawers and a shelf above the sink offer them storage space for accessories. The set includes three plastic shakers, a spatula, and a cordless phone.

It’s made with lead-free paint, so parents can feel safe with this sturdy classic.

What we love
  • Though space-efficient, still provides plenty of interactivity
Watch for
  • Because it’s on the smaller side, it’s not so easy for multiple kids to share

Best play kitchen with sounds

Our opinion

Recommended age: 2+
Materials: Plastic
Lights and sounds: Yes
Batteries required: 2 AA batteries not included
Choking hazards: No
Included: Stove, sink, cabinets, coffee station, shelving, recycling bin, accessories

Standing playsets that engage toddlers in a safe way are a treasure, and Step2 knows how to create sets they’ll love.

Great for sharing, this Step2 Chef’s Kitchen Playset (check price on Amazon) features a slate blue backdrop with a black countertop and “stainless steel” stove as well as brown cabinets.

The stovetop produces real lights and sounds, offering even more creative engagement as they play.

The faucet actually swivels, while the sink has a wide basin for dishes, cookware, and utensils.

To the right, there’s a cute coffee station with mug hooks and a recycling bin — great for teaching early lessons on conservation!

A small service window and shelf are topped by an arch, featuring a homey clock decoration.

There’s so much for kids to engage with here, and it’s one of few sets that are safe for infants as young as 24 months to play with.

What we love
  • Comes with a 25-piece accessory set, so there’s plenty to do right out of the box, and the recycling bin is a great opportunity for them to learn about eco-consciousness
Watch for
  • Putting batteries into the burner is tough – you’ll need a small screwdriver.

Our fifth choice

Our opinion

Recommended age: 3+
Materials: Wood
Lights and sounds: Sounds
Batteries required: No
Choking hazards: Yes
Included: Stove, oven, sink, cabinets, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, shelving

Parents and grandparents who love retro stuff will flip for this KidKraft Vintage Kitchen (check price on Amazonwhich has a truly authentic old-school vibe!

The cherry red, stainless-steel finish of this hardy, wooden playset is true to its ’50s space-age design, making it seem as though it belongs in a diner or cute sitcom townhouse.

Its tall refrigerator and lower freezer offer storage for accessories, as does a cabinet underneath the sink.

A mounted microwave and pole-supported, curved shelf top the unit, under which sits a two-burner stove and oven with three turning knobs, engaging kids’ small motor skills.

A shiny, cordless phone mounted on the wall is effectively the ‘Starbucks Cup’ in this retro scene, but still great fun for kids to play with.

What we love
  • The unique, old-school design defies the typical, rounded plastic landscape of standing toys for preschoolers
Watch for
  • It can be time-consuming to put it together, so pace yourself and gift it after assembly

Best play kitchen for toddlers

Our opinion

Recommended age: 3+
Materials: Wood, plastic
Lights and sounds: Sounds
Batteries required: No
Choking hazards: No
Included: Stove, oven, sink, cabinet, hanging hooks, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, shelf

Cheerful pastels set this wood and PVC KidKraft Delux Play Kitchen (check price on Walmart) apart from others on our list.

Bright candy pink, tangerine orange, sky blue, and lemon yellow exist in harmony in this sizable set.

It boasts a refrigerator with a painted shopping list and ice maker, a four-burner stove, an oven, a shiny sink, and a dishwasher with seven turning and clicking knobs.

A mounted microwave actually opens, featuring painted controls in a fun, child-like font.

Next to the microwave, a small shelf gives kids room to stock their kitchen accessories, like the included pot, bowls, and cups.

The spoon, spatula, and sieve can be hung for easy storage thanks to convenient accessory pegs on the wall behind the stove and sink.

What we love
  • The bright pastel colors are great for kids who prefer rainbow shades over realism
Watch for
  • Due to its high quality, it’s on the heavier side so make sure it’s secured

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

Recommended age: 2+
Materials: Plastic
Lights and sounds: Yes
Batteries required: 2 AA batteries (not included)
Choking hazards: No
Included: Refrigerator, oven, stove, grill, microwave, sink, cabinets and drawers shelving, service window, hanging hook, 100+ accessories

They might not have their own cooking show yet, but it will only be a matter of time before the offers pour in once your toddlers get their hands on this magnificent set!

Large and in charge, the Step2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen Playset (check price on Bed Bath & Beyond), from the experts at Step2, has an arching roof, service window, stove, grill, oven, sink, refrigerator, microwave, plus plenty of storage.

There’s loads of room and ways to be creative for multiple kids with this set, and it’s a major upgrade over most of the other picks available.

The rustic color scheme looks great in playrooms, featuring brick red and tan square tiles, faux brown brick and wood finishes on cabinets, tan arches with a stained glass design, and cheerful, spacious brick red counter tops.

The cream on the cake is its 103 piece accessory set, packed with food and kitchen stuff – which will really elevate their creative play.

What we love
  • It’s spacious, so is great for multiple kids, with loads of opportunity for them to interact and accessories to play with
Watch for
  • Can take a while to put together and the finished product is large, so needs a suitable space for assembling

Buyers’ guide

What makes a play kitchen great?

  • Age appropriate: Play kitchens are popular toys, but not all of them are safe for younger kids. Make sure you choose one that’s suited for your kiddo’s age range.
  • Safety: Read reviews and do research to make sure you’re choosing a set that’s safe, and know what safety hazards to look so you can spot them in the wild.
  • Fun accessories: Some kitchens have lots of accessories, while others may have none. They’re part of what makes play kitchens fun, so be aware of what’s included.
  • Interactive features: Simple light and sound features can go a long way in adding realism to their creative play.

Age-appropriate toys

Whenever you’re buying something for your kids, making sure it’s suitable for their age range is essential.

We lead busy lives, and it’s easy to overlook suggested age ranges when something seems cool and the price is right, but it’s always worth pausing to make sure you’re making a good pick.

This ensures the toy is safe, fun, and beneficial to your child.

Making safe toy picks

Choosing an age-appropriate toy will ensure that it’s safe for your kids to play with. Avoid potential choking hazards, as well as mechanisms that may be too complex or require the level of strength and dexterity toddlers haven’t yet developed.

Other factors to consider when making your toy picks safe:

  • Always look for non-toxic paintwork — especially on wooden toys
  • Knobs that can’t be removed from the playset, which eliminates one common choking hazard

Why accessories are great

Toy kitchens are great for sparking kids’ creativity, but imagine how they’d react if we told them that a kitchen without pots, pans, or food was a great way to cook!

A lack of accessories would make their culinary imaginings feel pretty one-note, and they sure wouldn’t stay interested for long.

Most play kitchens come with a few accessories, while there are lots of sets available for those that come without.

Some great accessories for play kitchens include:

  • Sturdy plastic, or wooden, pots and pans
  • Utensils designed for play kitchens, (or clean, plastic spoons or spatulas you’re no longer using in your kitchen can also work, though use your better judgment)
  • Plastic, or wooden, food items, (or small, empty, clean boxes and jars from food you’ve purchased and consumed – a great way to upcycle waste!)

The skill-benefits of interactivity

When it comes to picking a play kitchen, interactivity is great for kiddos.

Cabinets that open, knobs that turn and click, and burners that glow and make sounds offer cognitive engagement and opportunities to build motor skills.

Don’t underestimate the value of smaller kitchen sets with fewer interactive opportunities, though, as durable, simple picks that encourage their creativity often get chosen over super-complex, feature-packed toys.

Our verdict

After looking over the best of the best, we just couldn’t take our eyes off the KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen (check price on Amazon).

Its modern design is sleek, elegant, and ideal because the host of opportunities for creative interaction means it’s a toy that will stay in plain view.

It’s not overstimulating, hitting the right balance of small-motor development and cognitive engagement while also encouraging your child’s curiosity and imagination.

Durable, safe, fun, and beneficial for kids, this play kitchen boasts all the ingredients needed to cook up the ideal toy!

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on January 28th, 2022

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