10 best play kitchens
The Peppa Pig design comes with the theme tune
Why do toy kitchens delight kids so much? We’ve no idea, but we’re not going to knock it. If stirring tiny pots and pans filled with a questionable combination of toy food buys us enough time to knock together yet another dinner of pesto pasta, we’re all for it.
Before you buy a toy kitchen, think about whether or not you need something compact and bijou that you won’t spend all day tripping over. If not, go for a mega toy kitchen with American-style fridge and all the extra accessories. It’s just like buying a real kitchen, actually. If you can afford the extras, splash out. You’ll never regret it.
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And here’s a tip: refresh your accessories every now and then to keep kitchen play compelling. A new batch of play food is worth keeping in a cupboard to replace all the pieces that vanish into thin air. Or invest in some shiny new pans to breathe new life into your toy kitchen.
Peppa Pig House Kitchen: £99.99, Argos
If you’re five years old, this is the toy kitchen of your dreams. It’s exactly like Peppa’s kitchen from the TV series, complete with fully accessible fridge, recycling bins and a toaster with magical pop-up toast. It even plays electronic cooking sounds and the Peppa Pig theme tune. If you put the batteries in. (Just saying.)
Wooden Deluxe Kitchen: £39.97, Asda
We had to check the price of this several times to make sure there hadn’t been a mistake. It’s brilliant quality at unbeatable value and not too tricky to build. Oh, and we love that it’s blue and grey. Rather than, you know, pink.
Bigjigs Play Kitchen: £88, Kidly
If the grown-ups were in charge (we wish), this is the toy kitchen we’d choose. It’s stylish, sturdy and doesn’t take up half the house. And it’s under £100! We couldn’t love it more.
Terrace Wooden Play Kitchen: £139.99, Plum
This is a thing of absolute beauty. The quality is outstanding. The American-style fridge-freezer is so darn cool (not literally) and there’s loads of storage space for all your toy food and cooking accessories. And probably your car keys, the next time you can’t find them. It’s also a great size for playing house with friends. Or for squabbling over with siblings.
Little Tikes Cook ‘N Learn Kitchen: £149.99, Little Tikes
If your house isn’t a screen-free play zone, this will bring lots of interactive fun to playtime. Thanks to some kind of clever Bluetooth gadgetry you can pop a tablet in the holder thingy and interact with a host of related games, recipes and music via the free Cook ’n Learn app. Best of all, this plays lots of clever sound effects – and the light comes on when you open the over door!
Daisy Play Kitchen: £100, Great Little Trading Company
A gorgeously stylish yet sturdy wooden kitchen. This one wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of a glossy magazine – it’s the kind of toy that looks lovely on display, rather than something you want to stash out of your line of sight come bedtime. The dials on the cooker make clicky sounds, which appealed to our pre-school tester. We moved ours into the kitchen at tea time so our toddler could cook alongside Mum. You can’t do that quite so easily with some of the larger toy kitchens.
Personalised Silver Play Kitchen: £100, My 1st Years
This is a real keepsake toy to pass on to future generations. It’s stylishly designed and comes with some beautiful utensils. Our five-year-old tester just loves that this one has her name on. And her mum loves the thought of her grandchildren playing with it one day. Or maybe she’s got something in her eye.
Le Toy Van Honeybake Cooker: £69, Mulberry Bush
The perfect first toy cooker for a little kitchen-loving tot. It’s smaller and more compact than others but we found it has plenty to keep little ones occupied without overwhelming them with too many features or accessories. Our pre-schooler literally played with this for hours. And it’s brilliant value.
Hape Delicious Memories Wooden Play Kitchen: £229.99, Argos
Did you know that Hape only make toys with sustainable bamboo? Or that they use non-toxic paints and glues that don’t affect the eco system? Neither did we until now, but that makes us love this modern toy kitchen even more. It’s not a budget option but we think you get good value for money – factor in the play-per-use between two or more kids over many years and it’s virtually a bargain. And a ‘green’ option, which you can’t put a price on.
Casdon Electronic Cooker, £25, Asda
This one surprised us. It’s more of a mini toy cooker than a full-scale play kitchen but it enthralled our younger testers, who couldn’t get enough of pressing the buttons and banging the doors. Again and again and again. It comes with just enough accessories to hold a pre-schooler’s interest and it won’t break the bank. But unlike some of the other pricier kitchens we tested, you’ll probably want to upgrade this one in a year or two. A bit like our own *real* kitchen, in fact.
The Verdict: Best toy kitchens
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