There are so many great benefits to children from playing with role play toys such as a play kitchen. They develop their vocabulary, imagination and social skills as well as improving hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and problem-solving ability.
Children love to imitate real life when they play and giving them a little kitchen of their very own is a great way to facilitate this. Cooking toys are perfect for boys and girls and ideal for siblings or friends to play with together.
So what age are toy kitchens for and when is the ideal time to buy one for your child?
The perfect age to get a kids kitchen
All children develop at different rates and so there’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to recommending toys for different ages. Children also have their own interests which change over time. So if you see your child enjoying a particular type of toy we say go for it regardless of the norm.
Generally speaking, children start to enjoy pretend play between the age of 2 and 3, their play becomes more complex and they have the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills required to cut up the play food, lay a table for a tea party, and feed their cuddly toys.
Therefore they are a popular gift for 2nd or 3rd birthdays and would even make an excellent present for an 18month old.
The thing about a kitchen is they grow with your child. A young toddler might not be playing complex games but they love opening and closing the cupboard door and twisting the knobs to hear the clicking sound.
There are lots of great play food cutting sets that are suitable from 18months and are perfect for little ones to practice their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus they love the fact they get to use a knife just like mummy and daddy. Individual play food is also available from this age.
As they get older kitchen toys are great for developing language skills and vocabulary and older children can even practice writing out menus for their cafe or play shop. Kids will start out learning names of foods and utensils as well as verbs for the actions they are doing and opposites like hot and cold, moving onto more complicated vocabulary needed for role-playing.
Because there are so many toy kitchen accessories available you can also add to your kitchen set up over the years with mixers and smoothie makers, toasters and tea sets, and even shopping trollies and tills. All of which expand the play potential and will make them more appealing to older kids.
How does play with a wooden toy kitchen and play food change as kids grow?
Play kitchens appeal to kids of all ages, from toddler hood right up to eight or nine years old- this really does depend on the child. There is no set “good age” to get your child a wooden play kitchen. Most parents tell us that they decide to buy a wooden play kitchen after seeing their child enjoy the toy kitchen at day care or school.
You may also observe your child showing a keen interest in what’s going on in the real kitchen at home.
Some kids begin showing an interest in a toy kitchen as young as nine months- they may be too young for pretend play, but often young toddlers like to open and close the doors of the play kitchen, turn the twisting knobs or pull themselves to stand at the toy kitchen. They might like to pull all the accessories out too.
As kids approach their second birthday, they tend to develop an awareness of social skills and may like bringing play food to you, serving up cups of tea and biscuits.
Some simple role play skills may start to come through too, and play kitchens and pretend food can offer great opportunity to develop hand eye coordination. Many feel this is the best age to introduce a play kitchen, or to start building up a stash of accessories.
At age three to four, your child’s development really starts to take off and you may have a very creative little chef on your hands! Your child will likely be keenly in to imaginative play and role playing, making all sorts of dishes, pretending to be mum or dad. Many parents like to increase the range of toy food to encourage a positive attitude about healthy eating.
As your child gets older, they will play in different ways. Children learn through play, and beyond five or six may become more private about play- but this doesn’t stop them reaping so many great benefits of role play.
If your child has had a wooden play kitchen for a number of years at this point, it’s easy to add a new dimension of play by adding a new kitchen set, utensils or accessories. An apron and oven mitt make great add on accessories, since kids this age like to dress up.
If you have a keen baker, you could add a mixer and baking kitchen set, or perhaps sushi or a smoothie maker if these are favourite foods. You could even pick up some new accessories and a toy till and encourage your child to practice their math skills and problem solving ability, converting their kitchen to a cafe.
Teach them to clean down their play kitchen with a damp cloth, giving them some preparation for the realities of using a real kitchen. When it comes to wooden toys, the sky is the limit when it comes to role play opportunities!
You can use the storage space within the toy kitchen to store the various utensils and play food you pick up over the years.
Is it ok to buy a play kitchen for a ten year old?
Absolutely! Kids tend to know what they want, and if they love a bit of role play, why not? Admittedly, most toy kitchens won’t be built for taller children, but we’ve seen many a child play on the floor or play kneeling at their play kitchen. Playing is truly a valuable part of childhood, and something that children outgrow way too early in our society.
Many of our customers let us know that they catch a glimpse of their older children playing with their siblings wooden toys- it’s really not that uncommon! Some children are avid collectors and like to keep a collection of wooden play food and accessories.
Don’t be too quick to get rid of your kitchen
Unless you really need the space don’t be too quick to get rid of your child’s kitchen. You might feel like it hasn’t been played with for a while and is just taking up space but children often leave and come back to toys.
You can add accessories or extra utensils to spark their imagination again. Additionally, play kitchens are great hand me down toys- A ood wuality toy kitchen should last for a number of years.
As children get older the games they play will change but your five or six-year-old is quite likely to want to play shops or cafes with a friend. You could reignite their enthusiasm with a new accessory or help them write a menu.
And of course, by this age, they can help with the real cooking. Baking together at this age is a joy and a great learning opportunity.
Consider the age of the child you are buying for but also about any older siblings that might still really love such a wonderful role-play toy. And remember boys love playing with toy kitchens too. Your kid might also love a doctor kit set.
In summary- wooden play kitchens appeal to a wide range of age ranges. Pay more attention to what your child is interested rather than what you feel they ought to be interested in!
FAQs on Children Toy Kitchen Ages
What are the benefits of a toy kitchen?
Toy kitchens can provide children with opportunities for imaginative play, creative expression, and learning. They can help children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive skills like problem-solving, planning, and organization. Playing with toy kitchens can also encourage social skills like sharing, communication, and collaboration.
What materials should I look for in a toy kitchen?
When choosing a toy kitchen, look for non-toxic materials that are free from harmful chemicals and phthalates. Some good options include wood, plastic, and metal. It’s also important to look for safety features like rounded edges and non-slip surfaces, and to make sure any small parts are securely attached and won’t pose a choking hazard.
How do I choose a toy kitchen that’s appropriate for my child’s age?
When choosing a toy kitchen, it’s important to consider your child’s developmental stage. Look for a kitchen that’s appropriate for your child’s age range, and consider factors like the size of the pieces, the complexity of the design, and the type of accessories included. As a general guideline, younger children may benefit from a simple design with larger pieces and fewer small parts, while older children may enjoy a more complex kitchen with more realistic features and smaller pieces that require more dexterity and coordination.
What are some other factors to consider when choosing a toy kitchen?
In addition to age range and materials, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing a toy kitchen. For example, consider whether you want a kitchen that’s gender-neutral or designed specifically for boys or girls. You may also want to look for toy kitchens made from sustainable or eco-friendly materials. Finally, it’s important to consider your child’s interests and personality when choosing a toy kitchen, and to look for a design that’s tailored to their preferences and developmental stage.