Most kids aged 3 through 8 are master chefs. These food connoisseurs and wise bakers are always ready to create an ambitious meal, an elaborate cake, or complicated soup of imaginary ingredients for a family of eight. Like many fantasy worlds that kids create, play cooking is one way that kids make sense of the world: They see their grown-ups doing mundane tasks like making dinner or grocery shopping, somehow convince themselves they’re fun, and make a go of it themselves. Real-world toys like play food help encourage this developmentally important type of pretend play.
Of course, you don’t need to buy play food: If you ask a 3-year-old, acorns or toy blocks can become imaginary food just as well as a basket of wooden vegetables. But they’re cute and fun and, most importantly, might give your child the idea to make avocado toast, which they might not have otherwise had. We’ve chosen play foods that are realistic enough and look good, so you won’t be complaining too much when they’re inevitably left on your real countertops or kitchen table.
Whether your kid wants to play customer or check-out worker, this mini-grocery set allows for hours of fun scenario-building play time. The set comes with felt vegetables like lettuce and carrots, and also milk and snack packages to complete a realistic looking grocery haul.
The play food and kitchen accessories by Milton & Goose are better-looking than most things in our real-life kitchens. If you want your kid to play with food that looks and feels nice, and that will make the play area an actually good-looking part of the house, this is your veggie set.
Another exceedingly beautiful, not-inexpensive option, this fruit set is maybe the most attractive play fruit you can buy.
We all like organic fruits and vegetables, but you may also want your kids to be well-rounded and learn about waffles and bologna.
This well-made wooden toaster is the perfect addition to any kitchen set. You can adjust the cooking time with a realistic knob, drop in the bread slices, and pop them back up whenever they're ready — no patience required.
There's no better food set than avocado toast if your kid wants to feel like an adult (or a millennial, more specifically). The simple polyester-felt set comes with two pieces of toast, and six slices of avocado, making it an easy meal to whip up for younger kids and toddlers.
Kids will love spinning the hand crank on this sweet wooden mixer, which comes with a bowl and bags of flour and sugar that they can 'pour' into their batter.
This breakfast-in-bed set is perfect for kids who have an eye for design. The set comes with two slices of bread, a bun, sausage, bacon, cheese, fried egg, boiled egg, and salt and pepper that are served on a tray. Plus, PlanToys uses sustainable rubberwood for all its toys, making it an eco-friendly choice.
It's never too early to make your kid into a coffee addict. This coffee press comes with a cup, creamer, sugar, spoon, and felt coffee pod to fit any coffee-lover's preferences. The realistic design mirrors that of a Keurig but without the wasteful pods. In fact, Hape's toys are sustainable, chemical-free, and FSC-approved.
If you want to instill better eating habits in your kid, this vegetable set from Hape might be a better option that the coffeemaker. The wooden set comes with a cutting board, play knife, two-sided grater and peeler so your kids can practice their culinary skills with all the necessary equipment.
Baking but without the mess. This affordable wooden baking set includes 12 sliceable cookies, 12 toppings, a knife, spatula, cookie sheet, and kitchen mitt, and a durable dough tube to store cookies after they're done 'baking.' The set is a fun addition to any kitchen set to play out imaginative cooking scenarios.
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