Best Play Kitchen for Older Kids in Building Imagination

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Have you ever had to sit back and remember being a child as a parent? Have you thought about the most vivid memory from your early years? There's a chance it happened while you played with your favorite and most treasured toy.

You need the best toys for your child to learn from to ensure they are well cared for. With a play kitchen for older children, whether you have a son or a daughter, you can never go wrong because it teaches them a lot and sparks their imagination.

Are you interested in purchasing a toy kitchen for your child and unsure if it will be appropriate since they are older and overwhelmed with countless options? We have compiled a review of the best play kitchens for older kids and a buying guide to help you navigate. Dive in!

1. Step2 Fun with Friends Kitchen Set for Kids

Step2 Fun with Friends Kitchen Set for Kids – Tan –...
  • TODDLER KITCHEN PLAYSET: Little chefs can’t wait to whip up...
  • INTERACTIVE FEATURES: Kids’ kitchen set features various...
  • EASY STORAGE: When playtime fun is done, multiple accessory...
  • UNMATCHED DURABILITY: This toy for toddlers is made with durable,...
  • SKILL-BUILDING FUN: A small kitchen of their own provides hours...

If you think you are raising the future Gordon Ramsay, then you might be looking for the best play kitchen for your young child, and this is the best. Step2 Fun with Friends Play kitchen is a model worth buying, especially for toddlers, thanks to the many accessories and bright colors. There are 24 accessories with all necessities, including cookware, dishes, pots, and pans, allowing your child to play comfortably.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The Step2 kitchen set also includes stovetop lights that make sounds and a coffee station with a built-in coffee mug. You will also get adequate storage space and a dustbin area to ensure your little chef cleans up after their cooking process.

Lastly, although the material is plastic, it's durable, making it easy to rub it down or clean up. In addition, you can clean with disinfectants to ensure you remove all the grime and bacteria.

Pros:

  • The stove makes realistic features and cooking sounds
  • Plastic build, which is easy to clean
  • It comes with a pet pretend spot for water and food
  • Plenty of accessories

Cons:

  • It needs batteries
  • Only available in two colors

2. Melissa & Doug Wooden Chef's Pretend Play Toy Kitchen

Sale
Melissa & Doug Wooden Chef’s Pretend Play Toy Kitchen...
  • COMPLETE WOODEN PLAY KITCHEN: The Melissa & Doug Wooden Chef’s...
  • DURABLE PRETEND PLAY KITCHEN: The Melissa & Doug Chef’s Kitchen...
  • INNOVATIVE TOY KITCHEN FOR KIDS: The innovative ice maker...
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE: Our toy kitchen with “ice” cube dispenser...
  • GREAT GIFT FOR AGES 3 AND UP: The Wooden Chef’s Pretend Play...

If I wanted to purchase one of the best wooden play kitchen sets, I would choose this Melissa & Doug Chef's pretend kitchen set for my kids. I loved its realistic features that a younger child will enjoy playing with and preparing imaginary meals.

I was also impressed with how Melissa and Doug have developed a pretend cookhouse with highly interactive elements like knobs that turn and a rotating microwave plate. A functioning ice dispenser with two fake ice cubes to make pretend play easier for the small ones.

Image Credit: amazon.com

There is also a movable faucet and handle on the sink that gives it a realistic feel. The Wooden Chef's interactive design is one of the reasons why it will appeal to older kids.

You will also love how easy it is to clean this play kitchen, and it will be easier to assemble because of its well-illustrated directions. Lastly, the pressed wood material will make a statement in whatever room you place it.

Pros:

  • Realistic features
  • Fake ice maker
  • High-quality graphics
  • Large kitchen set but not too overwhelming

Cons:

  • It lacks a storage space

3. Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen

Sale
Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen Blue & Cream, 14.00 l x...
  • Compact, stylish, modern kitchen makes a great addition to any...
  • Cabinet door opens, with storage inside, working microwave and...
  • Clicker knob above oven door. Burner has electronic cooking...
  • Refrigerator door opens, room inside to store food. Feet under...
  • Includes: 1 Coffee Pot, 2 Plates, 2 Cups, 2 Forks, 2 Knives, 2...

We cannot forget to list a model that will work better for someone working with a tight space and on a budget. Little Tikes is a great long-term investment, and not only did we love its affordability and compactness, which could fit in any child's bedroom or playroom.

Image Credit: toymasterballina. ie

We also found this model stylishly featuring a modern design that imitates a real kitchen look. You will also enjoy Play kitchen features such as working oven doors and microwaves, adequate storage space, and clicker knobs. The fridge and cabinets also have enough room to store your child's food for preparation, giving it a more realistic feel.

It also includes a variety of other tools that you can use right away for its low cost. I think it's the greatest option for individuals searching for something affordable and small-space compatible because of its comprehensive package and tiny size.

Pros:

  • Compact size that saves on space
  • Plenty of storage space for a great plat
  • Affordable price compared to other kitchen toys
  • Realistic features such as clicker knobs and openable doors

Cons:

  • Suitable for one child
  • The plastic materials may give a cheaper look

4. Best Choice Products Pretend Play Kitchen

Best Choice Products Pretend Play Kitchen Wooden Toy...
  • CHALKBOARD SURFACE: Little chefs can jot down notes on the...
  • 11 ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Set includes 3 utensils, 2 pots, one lid...
  • TRUE TO LIFE KITCHEN: Your child can get a true experience with...
  • ASSEMBLY INFORMATION: Great toys take time to build! This item...
  • CERTIFIED & SAFE: Rest at ease while your children play with this...

Although it's among the last on the list, the Best Choice play kitchen made it to our list thanks to its fun interactive features, such as a dispensing ice machine and clicking knobs. Another feature in this play kitchen set that will turn your head is the chalkboard which allows your kids to write down recipes or any sort of creativity.

Image Credit: amazon.com

We noticed its stylish nature and included accessories such as a cordless phone, freezer, two pots, microwave, three utensils, dishwasher, and oven. To make it easier, you can store these accessories on the overhead shelf with realistic doors adding to their realism. Another feature that adds to the realism is the brick texture around the stove area which gives it a premium look and nice touch.

This will make a perfect fit for your older child's role-playing thanks to its reasonable dimensions at about 32 inches and the safe materials used in the build quality. However, you might not enjoy the assembly part since it might take more than a couple of hours which might be cumbersome.

Pros:

  • Light up stovetop
  • High-quality build
  • Realistic ice machine and chalkboard
  • It comes with seven different accessories

Cons:

  • Not suitable for little kids below three years old
  • It doesn't include play food

5. KidKraft Uptown Natural Wooden Play Kitchen

KidKraft Uptown Natural Wooden Play Kitchen with Play...
  • Working knobs on oven and sink
  • Cordless phone with hands-free clip
  • Shelving and hanging pegs for pots, pans and accessories
  • See-through doors on oven and microwave
  • Chalkboard surface on the freezer

One of the best pretend kitchens we came across when shopping was this modern design which stood out from others thanks to its durable materials. Many parents choose it for their child's development, and the toy kitchen set is made to handle the knocks and kicks while they are engaging in creative play.

Image Credit: lifetoyz.com

In addition, thanks to its durability, the set is meant to survive multiple generations, which is important if you prefer a large family. I also noticed it came with plenty of extra storage space on its counter space, making it ideal for adding extra appliances. Finally, apart from the basic tools in most play sets, this one comes with a freezer, refrigerator, microwave, oven, and cordless phone.

Lastly, this Uptown set can also be used with boys, and it's also a great tool for kids in their early elementary school years because of its great role-playing features and features.

Pros:

  • It comes with detailed instructions to ensure an easy assembly
  • Realistic play set
  • Premium natural wood finish
  • Strong and also sturdy

Cons:

  • It is quite heavy and will need to get secured to a wall
  • The setup might be difficult

What are the Benefits of Play Kitchens?

pretend play

Image Credit: earlyyearsresources.co.uk

You might be probably wondering why of all the toys, what makes kids’ kitchens beneficial for younger children. A play kitchen set isn’t only a source of entertainment but can also offer your child some benefits.

1. Teaches Kids How to Socialize

Play kitchens for older children help to promote their socialization skills. In addition, some kids’ play kitchens are designed for two or more kids, which helps kids, even the ones who struggle with social skills, to relate with other kids easily and even adults.

2. Benefits your Kid’s Growth

The brains of young children are like sponges, where they quickly absorb and learn new information. It’s vital to play with these kinds of toys to help your child grow, foster their creativity, and encourage them to think beyond the box. The kids are allowed to create their play schedule.

Additionally, it will assist them in improving their language development abilities. Your child will feel freer to express themselves when they are role-playing. Your kids’ vocabulary will increase as a result.

3. Enhance Organization and Planning Skills

As they play with these sets, you’ll see your kids organizing the food and pots into different categories. Even the cleanup will be done for you. This is an essential life skill that should be picked up early.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Play Kitchen for Older Kids

multiple children pretend playing

Image Credit: homedesignlover.com

A play kitchen will only work if you choose the best one for you and your child, meaning there are some things you should consider when choosing the best play kitchen for older children. They include:

1. Design and Structure

There are several options for play kitchens where you will need to consider where it should be placed, whether in your child’s playroom, their room, or the shared room areas such as the kitchen or dining. Do you match the kitchen to your taste or follow your kid’s passion for a colorful play kitchen? Is it timeless or trendy in a way that might become dated?

Choose a compact alternative if you need to pack it away to store it after playtime. Invest in a long-lasting one if you want it passed down to future generations or grandchildren. Also, you can check for a unit with removable sinks or wipe clean surfaces, making cleaning easy after a busy kitchen day.

In addition, how many kids will be playing around in the kitchen? A larger kitchen with access to numerous worktops is worth the investment if you have multiple kids or host playdates island-style or attached breakfast bars will help. To prevent it from falling onto a child, keep in mind that you might need to secure it to a wall.

2. Educational Value

In the kitchen, toddlers can learn by acting out and imitating real-life duties like cooking, washing dishes, and cleanup. Others include recycling bins and clocks that teach kids the time.

Additionally, chalkboards are available for writing lists or recipes. Finally, you should seek opportunities for your kids to practice organizing, planning, problem-solving skills, counting, adding, and arranging.

boys play

Image Credit: toytico.com

3. Child’s Age Range

Although you want a play kitchen for an older child, there are different age ranges. If you have a taller or older child, be sure they won’t have to bend to use the worktop or access the oven because kitchen heights might vary.

Choose something adaptable and ageless if you want them to keep utilizing the kitchen as they age. Also, the big kids could use tall play kitchen sets.

Since children outgrow the kitchen sets at an alarming rate, a tall pretend play kitchen set will help your big kids maximize their play time before they can’t use it anymore.

4. Size

The size of the play kitchen may be one of the most crucial factors to consider before purchasing, depending on the size, style, and location of your home. Check the countertop height and shelves and the toy kitchen’s overall size.

A reasonable rule of thumb for a suitable countertop height would be a measurement that’s halfway between the height of your child’s waist and hips, even though most toddlers will be able to “grow” into a somewhat taller kitchen.

children playing

Image Credit: bebekya.com

5. Functions and Interactivity

Play kitchens may have lighting, illuminating hob rings, twistable, clicky knobs, cooking or running water noises, or even functional water features. Although they are unnecessary, they certainly add excitement, realism, and interest to the kitchen.

Listening to representations of chopping, cooking, and pouring sounds is exciting, and simple designs might encourage more imaginative play.

6. Accessories

When purchasing a play kitchen, it’s important to consider whether the set includes any accessories. Although some toy kitchens lack accessories, many do. Therefore, you’ll need to determine whether you want accessories to be included in the package or if you want to buy them separately, depending on your budget and what you’re comfortable spending.

Some kitchen sets include plates, pots, and pans, among other necessary items. Others, though, come with more unique accessories, including a coffee maker, a potholder, and many more. So think about the toys you hope your child will like or the ones you hope they’ll pretend to play with.

Purchasing an extra set of accessories, such as fake play food and cooking utensils, will prevent future arguments from occurring if you anticipate having more than one child use this kitchen set.

7. Materials

Most play kitchens on the market are constructed of plastic or wood, but depending on a few factors, you might want to give the material further thought. For example, will you need to move the play kitchen? Does the play kitchen require assembly?

Although not all play kitchens are heavy, those made of wood or designed for taller children may be. If you anticipate moving the play kitchen frequently, you should consider whether wood is the best material.

A plastic play kitchen might be your best option if you want something easier to transport and clean. While a wooden play kitchen might need particular cleaning procedures, you can easily clean up the set or accessories by giving them a simple wipe-down.

8. Budget

The cost is necessary as there are several price points, but you should remember that high-quality items like wooden play kitchens will last longer. Luckily, high-quality play kitchens can be passed down to friends and family members or sold secondhand.

Conclusion of the Best Play Kitchen for Older Kids

Kitchen playsets are among the most effective ways to engage older children, and we have listed the best playsets for older kids. You will not need to check hundreds of models to choose the right one, as we have recommended the ones for different needs.

We hope our list will come in handy to ensure your little chef develops the needed language and fine motor skills.

Featured Image Credit: kidchenz.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.