As a new parent or a parent who wants to consistently improve, you’ll begin to notice how important the smallest of decisions impact a child. You most likely have been subconsciously choosing gender specific toys, based off an assumption your child hasn’t confronted. All parents make mistakes and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. The very fact you are reading this means you’ve taken the time to think about your kid and how you don’t want to push your biases onto them. And to be brutally honest, you need more mental capacity for the bigger problems that come with being a parent. For example, did I remember to feed them? Let’s jump right in.
Finding the best gender neutral play kitchen is more tricky than you may think. There may be a few obvious choices to consider when deciding, but we’re here to help highlight the hidden characteristics. We’re here to help not only review the obvious characteristics to gender neutral toys, but to guide you to good quality and durable items.
- High Quality Material - MDF, Plastic, Metal
- Includes Kitchen Food Accessories
- Modern, cute and gender neutral colors
Parents play a large role in gender socialization because they are crucial in shaping a child’s life. For one, parents are responsible for buying the majority of their toys. It’s plausible to think that children can be influenced by the types of toys they play with, how they interact with them and how they are treated during play time.
There’s been much research that children are taught that exhibiting opposite gender traits are wrong and are even punished for it. As we grow older, you can see dramatic shifts in household roles between men and women. This suggests bias occurs when we are young.
A lot of parents naturally accumulate certain toys for specific genders. Girls tend to have toys that focus on attractiveness and appearance while toys for boys emphasize aggression and violence. Things like dolls or arts & crafts are marketed towards girls and weapons or legos for boys. Embracing gender neutral parenting, we let our child play with any toy they like. Why should we determine what toy they enjoy? It’s pretty easy to see what they are naturally drawn to in a toy store if you walk through all the aisles. And let them fall wherever they land on the scale. If they enjoy a pink sword, so be it. Having a multitude and variety of toys for your child to interact with is great to develop skills such as problem solving, spatial skills and behaviors.
There are many cases where you’ll want to buy them a gift, for being good at school or behaving well. You should have an idea of the type of toy they would enjoy and drilling down, you can choose the type of toy within a category to be gender neutral. If you want to buy them a playset, you can seek neutral characteristics.
More importantly, the way you play with your child greatly influences them. What do I mean by that? No matter the toy, how you treat them while playing can push characteristics subconsciously. Introduce competitiveness or physical activity during play time to encourage more assertive behavior. Then incorporate polite behavior or tidiness right after. I do want to mention that there aren’t necessarily any negative characteristics. Competitiveness or aggression can be good in certain situations such as sports, while politeness is needed in the classroom. What I’m preaching is a balance between the two. I don’t want you to overthink how to play with your child. But, I would say introduce a variety of tasks and challenges to balance out any bias you might have. You are not only applying a gender neutral play time, you are building out a variety of skills.
You probably have an interest in purchasing a play kitchen for your child if you are reading this article. From here you can make several decisions on the play kitchen characteristics. If you first think of a play kitchen as gender specific, don’t! There are a few choices you can make that really impact the play set’s neutrality. Let’s dive in.
The color of a kitchen play set is the most crucial decision a parent needs to make. We all know the stereotypical colors, blue for boy and pink for girls. If you walk through any toy store, you can easily identify the gender that is being marketed to. With play kitchens, you’ll often see entire kitchens in bright pink colors. And while that is okay for some, you want to choose the more neutral option.
Another traditionally girl color pallet are pastel colors. Pastel colors are typically associated with being feminine. Sometimes light red or purple or lavender sneak in there as well.
For boys, this is a little easier because there aren’t many blue play kitchens. In fact, many of the play kitchen colors on the market are either feminine or neutral. So the tl;dr (too long didn’t read) is to not choose pink!
Gender neutral colors include brown, black, white, yellow, green, red and beige. In terms of realism, brown, black and white are actual popular kitchen colors.
If you haven’t thought about accessories for your play kitchen, you should! While the kitchen play set provides the framework for hours of fun, accessories can provide so much variety to your play time.
Accessories include fake plastic food, utensils, silverware and clothing. Besides clothing, you can have free range on what accessories you want for your child, but get a variety. Don’t focus on one type of cooking like baking and get only baking accessories. Not only could this bias your child into thinking they should only be doing one type of cooking, it limits their creativity. Why be a one dimensional chef?
While you are playing with your kid, create new scenarios with different accessories. Are they in a cooking competition and need to create 3 meals? Or are they baking for their friends? Can they whip up something for their mother? Should they cook on the BBQ instead of on an oven? Possibilities are endless as long as you don’t bottle yourself in one lane.
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Having a play kitchen look realistic or fake doesn’t directly influence gender stereotypes. You can be gender neutral either way. But I choose realistic kitchen play sets because I want my children to take the kitchen seriously, no matter what gender they end up being. By putting emphasis on realism, I feel it shows that kitchens are important and vital to a household. A kitchen can both be a place of work and play. By subtlety reinforcing this, your children won’t associate the kitchen with only play time.
Bringing seriousness to the kitchen could help combat other outside, uncontrollable influences. And if you are a mother with a son, having a boy in the kitchen can help thwart that stereotype.
KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set
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Our top choice for the best gender neutral kitchen play set is the KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set. We find this a very cute, modern, rustic play set. We love the neutral colors and the attention to detail on the finishing. In terms of material, this is made out of high quality MDF, plastic and metal. MDF is a type of wood fiber that is lightweight, but durable and strong.
In terms of the actual play set, we like that it has all the basics, and then some. It has a refrigerator, storage space, sink, stove and oven. We like the addition of the chalkboard because you can write recipes or notes to each other. This is the perfect play set for realism as this looks very grown up.
It doesn’t have a lot of counter space, but makes up with storage. The instructions aren’t the greatest, but a lot of it remains self-explanatory as you assemble the play set.
KidKraft Exclusive Uptown Espresso Kitchen
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The KidKraft Exclusive Uptown Espresso Kitchen set has darker tone to it. It is finished with dark brown and has silver appliances. We like the color profile here as it showcases what real kitchens look like. It sports a fridge and freezer, stove, oven and sink. It features extra appliances like the microwave and dishwasher. As it has more appliances, it lacks in storage. You’ll have to have your kid organize the toys in the refrigerator!
Although this set doesn’t come any plastic food accessories, it does come with a lot of small pieces that add a lot of detail to the set. It has a lot of dials that make sounds, and comes with kitchen accessories like a cordless phone and towel hanger. We really like how sturdy the set is, but beware, this takes a long time to setup.
Melissa and Doug Chef’s Kitchen White
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Melissa and Doug Chef’s Kitchen White is a great kitchen set if you like the all-white look. You can’t get more neutral than the entire kitchen in all white. The only thing that separates this set from the others is the color. It has all of the basic appliances. Microwave, stove, oven, sink, fridge and freezer are all included. The one thing I like about the white color is that is it very photogenic. Taking photos of the play set with your children is really adorable.
We like this play set because it can grow with your child if they are aged 2 or 3. This play set is slightly taller so it’ll last until they are 5 or 6. As always, the assembly takes about 2 hours but it is really sturdy. Highly recommended!