There are so many great benefits to children from playing with role play toys such as a play kitchen. They develop their vocabulary, imagination and social skills as well as improving hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and problem-solving ability.
Children love to imitate real life when they play and giving them a little kitchen of their very own is a great way to facilitate this. They are perfect for boys and girls and ideal for siblings or friends to play with together. So what age are toy kitchens for and when is the ideal time to buy one for your child?
The perfect age to get a kids kitchen
All children develop at different rates and so there’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to recommending toys for different ages. Children also have their own interests which change over time. So if you see your child enjoying a particular type of toy we say go for it regardless of the norm.
Generally speaking children start to enjoy pretend play between the age of 2 and 3, their play becomes more complex and they have the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills required to cut up the play food, lay a table for a tea party, and feed their cuddly toys.
Therefore they are a popular gift for 2nd or 3rd birthdays and would even make an excellent present for an 18month old.
The thing about a kitchen is they grow with your child. A young toddler might not be playing complex games but they love opening and closing the cupboard door and twisting the knobs to hear the clicking sound.
There are lots of great cutting sets that are suitable from 18 months and are perfect for little ones to practice their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus they love the fact they get to use a knife just like mummy and daddy.
As they get older kitchen toys are great for developing language skills and vocabulary and older children can even practice writing out menus for their cafe or shop. Kids will start out learning names of foods and utensils as well as verbs for the actions they are doing and opposites like hot and cold, moving onto more complicated vocabulary needed for role-playing.
Because there are so many accessories available you can also add to your kitchen set up over the years with mixers and smoothie makers, toasters and tea sets, and even shopping trollies and tills. All of which expand the play potential and will make them more appealing to older kids.
Don’t be too quick to get rid of your kitchen
Unless you really need the space don’t be too quick to get rid of your child’s kitchen. You might feel like it hasn’t been played with for a while and is just taking up space but children often leave and come back to toys.
As children get older the games they play will change but your five or six-year-old is quite likely to want to play shops or cafes with a friend. You could reignite their enthusiasm with a new accessory or help them write a menu. And of course by this age they can help with the real cooking. Backing together at this age is a joy and a great learning opportunity.
Consider the age of the child you are buying for but also about any older siblings that might still really love such a wonderful role-play toy. And remember boys love playing with toy kitchens too.