Play kitchens are great toys that can keep your children’s interest for hours. There are endless possibilities just like in a real kitchen. From different recipes, to role-playing, to different cuisines, having a pretend play kitchen can stir up those creative juices for both you and your children.
But every play kitchen offers its different attributes. We like to look for playsets that have built-in interactive activities. It gives the chance for kids to play in a unique way that most play kitchens don’t. Turning on the stove or using the ice dispenser are ways that keep children engaged with their toys.
We’re going to be exploring the best play kitchens with lights and sounds along with other interactive elements.
KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen with Lights & Sounds
KidKraft is the leader when it comes to pretend playsets and the KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen is one of the most popular ones on the market. This set is equipped with several engaging features that mimic an actual kitchen without the real life danger.
This playset features burners that make sounds and flicker when turned on. Having those lights and sounds can really bring a child into creative play. Ice cubes drop from the refrigerator if the restaurant’s customers are feeling thirsty. And all the knobs and cabinets function like a typical kitchen. There’s even a cordless phone available for cooking and chatting! And don’t worry, all the batteries that are needed for operation are included.
This play kitchen is great if you have an open corner as it fits nicely and isn’t too big. From the base of the unit to the counter is about 20 inches and its height is 36.75 inches for a size comparison. It includes a ton of household appliances like a 2 door fridge, a sink, microwave, stove, oven, plenty of counter space and a washing machine. It also has plenty of storage space for storing accessories.
Be aware that this takes about 3 hours to build, the steps aren’t hard but they is time consuming.
- Stove has lights and sounds
- Fridge dispenses ice
- L-shaped design, perfect for corners
- 3 hour assembly time
Large Play Kitchen with Lights & Sounds – White
This Large Play Kitchen is also made by KidKraft, but is geared for those who don’t need a playset that takes up too much space. And even though it doesn’t take up much floor space, it is a taller play kitchen than most, so older children can still play with this for years.
In terms of interactive elements, only the icemaker makes sounds and lights up. That being said all the knobs turn and the fridge has a big door that opens and closes.
This is a very sturdy kitchen as its made from wood and the assembly time takes about 2 hours. If you have two kids, this has just enough space to handle both of them. There can never be enough cooks in the kitchen!
We also are impressed by its realism so if you are in the market for a pretend playset that’s a bit taller and for older children, we highly recommend this playset.
- Realistic design
- Taller design for older children
- Includes only interactive ice cube dispenser
Step2 Elegant Edge Kitchen
The Step2 Elegant Edge Kitchen is a plastic play kitchen that has includes almost every kitchen appliance available. This large play set has numerous interactive elements.
The refrigerator and oven has lights when you open and close them. The blender makes sounds and actually spins and the popcorn maker acts like it pops the popcorn with the sizzling and bubbling sound effects. And you don’t have to purchase additional play accessories as it comes with 78-piece kit filled with utensils, cookware, food and plates.
As far as the number of appliances, it comes with a see-through fridge, oven, stove, sink, coffee maker, and tons of storage. Cabinets and shelves are plentiful to organize that 78-piece accessory kit.
I’m sorry to mention that the assembly time is going to be near 4 hours. If you are giving this to your kids as a present, consider assembling first before.
This is a great gift especially if you have several children. This easily accommodates 2-3 kids and has enough tasks or things to interact with to capture their attention for hours. This is made with plastic which is lighter than wood and has the ability to last longer from wear and tear.
- Can accommodate multiple kids
- 78 piece accessory kit included
- Tons of appliances
- Long assembly time – 4 hours
KidKraft Kensington Market
The KidKraft Kensington Market play kitchen is another set by KidKraft that strives to be cute and sturdy, and not take a lot of space up. It is an all white, gold-accented playset that features all the essentials. A stove, oven, fridge, sink and a place to hang up one’s pots and pans for drying. This set includes a few accessories like ice cubes, pans and a chalkboard sign.
Like other KidKraft kitchens, the fridge does dispense ice and the stove lights up and makes sounds. Another way you can become interactive is by using the chalkboard sign for some cool designs. We also think the curtains give it a nice touch where your kids can pretend they are in your kitchen.
There is decent storage space including open shelving under the stove and on the sides. Assembly time can take an hour if you have an electric drill and you’ll be surprised on how sturdy the playset is. If you are low on space and really like a clean, crisp kitchen like this, then go with the KidKraft Kensington Market!
- Fast assembly time
- Clean and crisp all white, gold accented design
- Plenty of storage
- Only a few accessories included
Hape E3166 Children’s Play Kitchen Wooden
The Hape Children’s Play Kitchen is a great choice for those who are on a budget but still want quality. This set has a very small footprint, but it does pack a bunch of features that will inspire imaginary play.
Something cooking in the oven? Crank those knobs for a satisfying clicking sound. Enjoy the stovetop’s lights and cooking sounds when you press the buttons. Make sure to wash up before eating! The faucet is well designed and feels like the real deal.
Only a pan and spatula are included as accessories so you’ll want to pick up additional ones. This is a small sized kitchen or what we call, a kitchenette. This is a smaller playset with one person likely taking up the entire kitchen. It also is perfect for 1 – 4 year old children, but not any older because they will outgrow it fast.
- Budget Friendly
- Interactive knobs, stovetop lights and cooking sounds
- A few accessories
- Only 1-4 year old children
Features to look for
You would be surprised on how many appliances have interactive play elements that can really keep your children engaged with their playset. Look for stovetops that have glowing lights signaling fire. Also, if there are cooking sounds, that puts it over the top. Ovens also have red lights to show that something is cooking. Look for oven knobs that click as you turn them. Remind your kids to turn the oven to the correct temperature!
Great play kitchens will have lights that turn on when the door opens. And sometimes the fridge’s ice dispenser will dispense pretend ice cubes. This is always fun for kids who are still learning how appliances work.
Getting a play kitchen usually means getting the play kitchen accessories as well. These accessories are necessary, but they can become overwhelming if they are all over your living room. As a parent, you’ll want to be able to organize all of the kitchen accessories and what better place to do it than a kitchen. Good play kitchens will purposely include open shelves, cabinets or hangers so one can organize the playset.
Use this as a learning opportunity to teach your children how to properly organize a kitchen and where to put pots, pans, spatulas and extra food.
There are a lot small features play kitchens include that can be used for interactive activities. Things like hangers add a sense of realism to the kitchen. Being able to switch on and off lights is another great one. Writing on a chalkboard is great for sensory play as well as the basics of handwriting.
You can also DIY a lot of additions as well. Perhaps adding some lamps, curtains, printing out pre-made menus or dressing up are all low cost ideas that will make this toy set special.