I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you are asking the question “can boys play with toy kitchens?” it’s probably because someone has suggested they shouldn’t or that toy kitchens are for girls.
Frankly, any child should be able to play with any toy regardless of gender. And being as almost every toddler group and childcare setting in the country is likely to have a toy kitchen in this instance they probably already do.
Admittedly there are still plenty of very pink kitchens out there for kids but there are also a huge number of gender-neutral ones with the trend seeming to be toward more realistic, modern and retro style kitchen that is great for boys and girls. And for kids that love pink why not let them have a pink kitchen.
Plus, at some point, regardless of gender, all kids are going to need to learn to cook. Long gone are the days when your little boy will go straight from your loving home to that of his new wife who’ll be ready and waiting to cook and clean for him with dinner on the table every evening. And thank goodness for that. Add some marvellous bits of wooden play food to your kitchen, along with some pots and pans and hey presto a budding chef is practising his skills!
In most homes, children will be accustomed to seeing both parents in the kitchen, even if one is the better cook. And there are plenty of famous male chefs. But regardless of history, gender or opinions play kitchens are wonderful toys for all children and a great addition to your home or garden.
Benefits of playing with toy kitchens
- Play kitchens are great for developing language and communication skills. In younger children, this could be learning the names of the different foods and utensils as well as actions like stir or whisk. As they get bigger it moves on to developing narrative thought and storytelling as they make up games to play.
- Role play is great for feeding the imagination and developing children’s creativity. Children love to act out things they see in real life and will then expand on this in all kinds of ways.
- Kitchen play is great for learning life skills and developing independence and self-confidence. Children take charge of their kitchen, keep it clean, set the table for dinner, organise ingredients and learn about basic cooking concepts and healthy eating as they play.
- Toy kitchens are also a great way for children to develop key skills such as problem-solving, numeracy and fine motor skills that they will need in so many other areas of their lives.
- Not genderising toys allows our boys more opportunities to express themselves and develop all aspects of their personality. Not all boys like football, action figures, tool kits and cars. Some will grow up to be fashion designers, hairdressers, chefs, writers, while yet more will be scientists, nurses, doctors, teachers, architects and engineers. A boy who plays with dolls is simply having fun and possibly learning to be nurturing at the same time.
And if you’re down with the benefits but not sure you can handle the comments, how about an outside toy kitchen or mud kitchen. Because no-ones going to tell you that boys shouldn’t play in the mud.
Which is the best play kitchen for little boys?
Truly, the best play kitchen for your little boy is the one he will get the most enjoyment of, regardless of the design or colour. If your husband cooks or prepares food at all, why can’t your son? Toy kitchens really aren’t just for girls, and boys really do love pretending to cook and serve up play food just as much as girls do- pretend play is so beneficial for all children. If you have a little boy who loves pink, let him have pink!
If your son loves play kitchens but not pink, fear not, as there are plenty of gender neutral play kitchens to choose from. By far our most popular play kitchen is the Tidlo Country Play Kitchen in blue. The worktop height of this kitchen is tall enough that it will last quite a few years, and it’s super sturdy so will endure heavy handed play.
It’s not uncommon for parents to worry about boys who play with toy kitchens- they worry about friends who may tease their son for playing house with a play kitchen. The reality, though, is that a play kitchen is often the most popular toys in school and daycares, and, YES, both boys and girls love a pretend play kitchen. There is nothing at all wrong with letting your kid play with whatever toys he wants.
What do I say when people ask about my two boys having a toy kitchen?
Well, first of all, you owe them no explanation. Your sons are playing and enjoying the toys they want to play with, just like every child should. If, however, you feel like educating the naysayers, why not point our that over 70% of chefs are male? That cooking is an essential skill as important to boys and men as it is to a girl or woman? Surely a pretend play kitchen isn’t a problem when we wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a man cooking at a real kitchen?
Long gone are the days when we expect boys to only play with cars and superheroes and girls to be interested in pretend beauty products and her baby dolls and toy kitchen. From an early age, your son will pick up so many amazing skills playing with a toy kitchen and pretend food, so if it’s what he wants to play with, our firm advice is to ignore any unwelcome comments.
Can boys play with a toy kitchen? A final word
When it comes to toys, as a general rule we urge you to forget about whether you have a boy or a girl. Children tend to let you know what kind of toys they are interested in playing with at an early age, and the best thing you can do is follow their lead.
A toy kitchen can help develop lots of essential skills, while also promoting home cooking, an awareness of what we should eat and how to run a kitchen in adulthood. In the same way as girls do, boys will learn the importance of healthy cooking, putting away utensils, cleaning and organisation.
Of our huge range of ethically sourced, natural toys, our toy kitchens are often rated as best toys by our customers, and there’s a very good reason why!