Play kitchens and wooden play food are almost universally popular with children as they allow them to role-play and imitate situations they are familiar with. They can take on the role of head chef cooking up fabulous feasts, play at making dinner for the family, or open their own cafe.
This type of imaginative play isn’t just fun for kids, it’s also a great way for them to practise key skills and process new knowledge and experiences. Meaning a toy kitchen can be a great prop for child development.
There are a myriad of benefits your child can gain from playing with a toy kitchen, from enhancing cognitive ability and problem-solving skills to increasing their vocabulary and even making healthy food choices. Plus they are loads of fun.
What are the benefits of playing with kitchens and wooden play food
Creative role play is a great way for kids to use their imaginations. Children can have loads of fun creating their perfect menus and exploring situations and relationships as they imagine scenarios and act them out.
Playing in this way can also help children develop their social skills, even if they aren’t playing with other children as they put themselves in someone else’s shoes and begin to imagine how that person is thinking and feeling, empathy. And lets them practise valuable life skills such as cutting, cleaning up and making healthy food choices.
When they do play together children learn about sharing, taking turns and develop their ability to work as a team. They have to talk to each other to decide who will take which role and how the story will play out.
Storytelling is also an important part of role-playing and a key in developing both narrative thoughts, vocabulary and language skills. With younger children especially a play kitchen well stocked with wooden play food allows you to talk about colours and numbers, the names of foods, actions such as cutting and mixing, opposites and other adjectives.
Playing is also the main way little ones develop everything from their ability to hold a pencil to their ability to solve complex problems. Simple actions like stirring, whisking and cutting are all great for fine motor skills and choosing which size pan, finding something else to use when they don’t have a plate. There are lots of developmental benefits for kids playing with play food.
So does your child need one?
When it comes to making a big purchase like a toy kitchen there are lots of things you might want to consider. Do you have space, do you have the budget, and is your child going to play with it.
If space is a problem there are lots of small kitchens you can buy including little tabletop kitchens that can be packed away when not in use.
If you’re not sure you can justify the cost or are worried that it won’t get played with you could always start off with some play food. Children will happily use the same plates they eat from to serve up their imaginary food, and you can lend them a couple of small pots and pans, a wooden spoon and a whisk from your own cupboards.