The Best Play Kitchens and Accessories for Kids

You'll want to get your hands on these sweet toys before they sell out for the holidays.

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November 10, 2021

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Open pretty much any parenting book, and you’ll read about the importance of open-ended play. Unlike simple games with rules and natural progression, like peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake or fit-the-peg-into-the-hole toys, open-ended play can be whatever the participant wants it to be. It gives kids a chance to make their own universes, set their own rules, and let their imaginations dictate the course — like using a giant cardboard box to create a rocket ship, for example.

Cooking and play kitchens are a great way to introduce open-ended play, because any kid who’s spent time in the kitchen watching parents make meals has a basic understanding of what happens in the kitchen: You assemble ingredients, make a dish, serve a meal and eat it. They can put those observations to work in their own miniature version. The coolest cooking in my house is coming out of my toddler’s playroom. His play kitchen is the best gift we’ve ever given him, and there’s no end to the culinary magic whipped up in his imagination.

The Best Play Kitchens


This play kitchen is one of the more affordable models on the market, but it doesn't skimp on the fun. The kitchen include real sounds like water boiling and comes with 20 accessories to really get their imagination going. Plus, it's big enough for two to play making it a great option for siblings.

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For another kitchen designed for (safe) playdates, this model is anothe great option. In addition to fun sounds and tons of accessories, this model comes with a space for pet food which is ideal for families with a dog or cat.

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This kitted-out setup includes a microwave and a fridge with an icemaker that dispenses pretend ice. We love that the modern design mimics what kids see adults work in.

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This small kitchen, from eco-minded Plan Toys, comes with a pot and pan, and a cute 60s motif. It's easy to move around a playroom or bring with you to grandma and grandpa's house.

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This well-stocked plastic Step2 kitchen comes with dozens of accessories, including a recycling bin, utensils and condiments. Right now, this best-seller is on sale for Black Friday.

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If your kiddo loves helping you grill during the summer months, opt for a model that's just their size. This kid-friendly grill looks just like a classic charcoal grill and comes with tons of accessories and a lid.

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A splurge, this modern play kitchen is inspired by real-life design and is so chic. Adults will want to get in on the fun and may even find some inspo for thier own kitchen remodels.

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Fun Accessories for a Play Kitchen

If you already own a play kitchen or want an even bigger gift, customize as your kid grows and shows certain preferences, adding cookware, utensils and specialized ingredients as your kid develops a play palate. Does your family love to grill? Set up a play grilling station. There are ice cream shops, food trucks and even home pizza kits for kids whose parents have perfected their 2-ingredient dough. You can even plan a picnic and take the food out into your yard.

And the creativity isn’t limited to pretend cooking. Food shopping can spark imagination, too. My son loves to use this Melissa & Doug shopping basket to plan his meals. If you, too, have an abundant pantry, let your kid shop for beans and grains to make it feel more real, then just count the days until they are making dinner for real.

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