Deciding on a quality play kitchen for your child is not the same as choosing a typical toy. This play kitchen will need to withstand the surprising strength of a kid banging pots and pans against its frame. This playset needs to last years as often play kitchens can grow along your child. And while you need to teach them responsibility for taking care of their possessions, you don’t want to deal with thinking about how to fix that broken kitchen playset door, or visually see the handles torn off the oven. You want to choose the highest quality play kitchen because it will be an activity you and your child can bond over and provide countless hours of fun. Let’s explore the best quality play kitchens for your kids.
Some of these examples are geared towards either boys or girls, but many of them are neutral colors, if you prefer. We go in-depth on what to look for in a kitchen playset because we understand children only get older and time is precious. This would be a great birthday or Christmas gift as its priced higher and nothing will get them more excited than unwrapping this huge gift.
High Quality Play Kitchen Features
Material is important in quality play kitchens because it needs to look believable to a kid. Children are smart and know that plastic materials are toys and thus, are more likely to not care about its well-being. This sentiment is the same with other cheap toys that are lying around your house. If the purpose of the playset is to teach responsibility, teamwork and communication while also having fun, you’ll need to show that this playset is durable and quality.
What should you be looking for when looking at material of the play kitchen? The material that you are looking for that encompasses quality, and at the same time durability is wood. The more wood the play kitchen incorporates, the better. Wood is a texture that everyone can appreciate.
After wood, the material to look for is MDF or medium-density fiberboard which is made from wood fibers which is denser than plywood. It still is a wood product, but thinner and is used on many playsets.
Sometimes on higher quality pieces, plastics are still used on some aspects such as handles or included accessories. What we are really avoiding are large amounts of plastics as that takes away the realism. Plastics aren’t always bad. If your child does end up being destructive, or is prone to dropping items, you don’t want to be dropping a wooden or metal accessory on themselves.
Interactive (lights, sounds, knobs, doors)
What really gets children excited is how interactive the playset is. Assessing the set materials is more of an subconscious thought as opposed to something tangible. Examples of interactive play sets are sounds like answering a telephone, the sizzle from cooking on the stove, or the ding from the microwave. Lights are another aspect of a quality playset. Having a few lights on the refrigerator or microwave can really increase the realism. I especially like red lights from the burners; it’s a nice touch!
There are other forms of interactivity too. I really enjoy a playset which incorporates doors, handles, pantries or storage. It seems really basic, but having a child store something can be really beneficial to them. It’s a fun way to teach organization and a way to interact with the environment. Tell them to set the oven to 350 for 20 minutes to bake those toy cookies. Or have them pretend to turn on the water to fill a pot for spaghetti. Does the playset have a working ice cube dispenser? Those are a big hit. The possibilities are endless as they depend on you and your child’s creativity. One other benefit of playing in a kitchen set, is that these skills transfer over to a real kitchen! As parents, we take things for granted, but turning on the oven, or understanding how to boil water can be foreign to some adults. Implementing some rules such as play washing your hands after interacting with food is fun and educational.
Look and Feel
In terms of look and feel, this one will be subjective. I have a certain preference on how I want my own kitchen to look like so, that’s how I’ll be deciding what quality kitchen playset my child gets. I typically go for a modern feel, with clean and simple colors. Solid white or dark paint, with “metal” fixtures exude a quality playset. Even on a toy, you can judge for yourself if the fake appliances look like the real thing. When browsing your options, if you’ve ever thought, “Wow that looks real!”, then chances are that’s a quality playset.
Slightly off topic but if you browse the TV channel, HGTV, you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your own kitchen and perhaps that could influence your shopping decision.
KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen with Lights & Sounds, Espresso
Here is my favorite play kitchen that has all the bells and whistles. This playset will provide you with hours of fun over many years. Made from wood, MDF and a little bit of plastic, the realism of this set is uncanny! It features a ton of appliances, more than in my kitchen. A refrigerator w/ an ice dispenser, microwave, sink, oven, storage and even a washer are all a part of this playset. Some other nice touches are the windows which can provide a nice touch when playing.
This is perfect for all kids, but be aware of the sizing. The height is about 3 feet, with the counter height at 2 feet. This kitchen set fulfills all three of our characteristics of a quality play set. Made from premium wood, has tons of interactive elements and a modern feel make this an easy choice our top pick!
- Interactive (Lights, ice/burner sounds, knobs, dials and storage)
- Color scheme is neutral
- Realistic appliances, including two door refrigerator and an additional laundry washer
- Windows add a nice touch
- ~90 Assembly Steps taking about 3 hours
- Microwave/Dishwasher have no lights or sounds
- Laundry machine has no dial/knob
Teamson Kids – Little Chef Marseille Retro Play Kitchen – White
If I were to try to describe the Little Chef Marseille Retro Play Kitchen in a few words, it is the kitchen play set plays attention to detail. There are tons of layers to this play kitchen which makes me excited to showcase. Starting off from the look, your eyes immediately notice the gold accents. Definitely a unique look that you don’t see often, even in real kitchens. If your kid has an eye for designs, this set is perfect for them. Another eye catching feature is that the kitchen is L-shaped. Wow! Now I’m jealous of this kitchen. Onto the basics, this set includes the bare minimum appliances for a kitchen. Oven, stove, sink and microwave are of high quality. Where this playset shines is the amount of storage and counter space it has. Tons of rooms to set up dishes, store foods or do prep work.
In terms of being interactive, there are a decent amount of options. The stove will light up red and make a boiling sound, the microwave is the closest representation to a real microwave. Opening and closing the microwave will mimic the sounds and lighting effects. The stove also has clicking sounds giving your child a sense of accomplishments and they churn out their dishes.
I also thought it was really neat they have a chalkboard. This can be used to expand your child’s spelling and creativity. The details are what’s important!
- Gold accents
- Made of Wood
- Very Interactive with light up stove and “functional” microwave
- Chalkboard is not magnetic
- Long Assembly Time (2-4 hours)
Melissa & Doug Wooden Chef’s Pretend Play Toy Kitchen with “Ice” Cube Dispenser – Cloud White
Melissa & Doug’s Pretend Play Toy Kitchen is great for families that need a compact playset due to size constraints, and also appreciate the clean, white look of the kitchen. This playset does not have all the bells and whistles of the previous playset, but comes in cheaper and still holds it own against other sets. It has all the essential appliances like an oven, stove, microwave, sink and refrigerator. One neat aspect of the refrigerator is that dispenses plastic ice. Also, the faucet is movable. A nice touch! The best way I could describe this playset is, cute! This quality kitchen playset is made out of wood and wood board giving it a premium feel. Due to its compact size, assembly is a lot quicker, meaning more time for playing. We estimate it will take 1-2 hours, depending if your significant other is willing to put in the necessary work. We recommend this kitchen playset if you are looking to save space, need a durable toy set and love the look and feel of a cloud-white kitchen.
- Plenty of appliances
- Ice dispenser works with plastic ice
- Stove Top makes noise when turning dials
- Easy Assembly, takes 1-2 hours
- Gender Neutral
- Not many interactive elements as we would like
Costzon Kids Kitchen Playset
If you are looking for a compact kitchen set, with an espresso theme, then this playset is perfect. It reminds me of the KidKraft playset, but smaller and with less features. It incorporates a microwave, oven, fridge, sink and a towel bar. What I like about this set, is that it comes with some play accessories, in case you have none. It’s made from a mixture of Pine Wood and MDF, and has a very sturdy construction. It has a ton of storage space, so that’s a plus! Assembly is middle of the road, about 2 hours with a proper screw driver. Note that they have other variations including a pink set!
- Made out of Pine Wood/MDF
- Tons of Storage
- 13 piece accessory kit included
- 2 hour assembly time
- Customers report quality issues due to shipping
- Not much interactivity. You’re going to have use your imagination!
When looking for the best quality play kitchens pay attention to the 3 main features: materials used, interactivity, and look and feel. You stick with those principles, you can’t go wrong in your decision. Not only will your kid love the play set, it can last for many years as they grow older. A kitchen play set combines the perfect amount of responsibility and fun for a successful experience. Imagine the look on their faces as they unwrap the structure for their birthday or for Christmas. Alternatively, they can even help you assemble it!