Kids love to play at everyday tasks like shopping and going to the doctor, but one of the most enduringly appealing ways to play is in the kitchen. Encourage your future Ramsey, Berry, Oliver or Galetti with our best toddler kitchen sets, which promote all-important imaginative play as well as vocabulary, numbers, shapes, motor skills and much more besides.
- Get them active in the great outdoors (or at least the back garden) with these outdoor kids’ toys
- For more push-along toys, see our pick of the 5 best baby walkers of 2018
- Got a birthday coming up? Here’s our roundup of the best toddler gifts.
Our best play kitchen of the bunch is the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck, with its masses of interactive features from steering wheel and gear stick to a very smart till indeed. If you’re in search of something for younger toddlers that’ll also help them find their feet, a play kitchen-meets-walker toy may just be the order of the day, like the ELC Wooden Activity Kitchen Walker, which features wheels and a push-along handle.
1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck
Foster a love of food trucks without the long queues
Best for: Loads of activities | Suitable for: 18 months+ | Material: Plastic | Batteries required?: 3xAA
For the hippest and most happening tots, it’s all about getting out of the kitchen and appreciating the street food scene, but seeing as they can’t quite read food hygiene certificates yet, why not try a toy food truck to pique their interest? This toy truck has a friendly smiling face and a range of fun features on board, including a shape sorter, moving steering wheel and gearstick, put-and-take fridge and magic till. From here, they can ring up orders and play learning songs and phrases that teach them vocab, as well as sizes and ordering. Plus, with 20+ individual play pieces, there are so many ways to play.
2. ELC My First Kitchen
Get them started in spectacular style with lights, sounds and a variety of activities
Best for: A starter set | Suitable for: 12 months+ | Material: Plastic | Batteries required?: 3xAA
If you don’t have the room going spare for a large play kitchen, or have a very little tot just beginning to get hands on with imaginative play, this makes a great starter and space-saving set. The Early Learning Centre My First Kitchen doesn’t have a huge range of small accessories, which can easily go awry with curious toddlers, but it does have everything they need within easy reach, whether they fancy baking a cake, frying up a yummy egg, or even putting a wash on. With sizzling sounds, popping toasters, and light and sound effects to help spark their imaginations.
3. Little Tikes Premium Wood Home and Kitchen
A gorgeous, durable wooden toy kitchen that’s just made to be handed down
Best for: Build quality | Suitable for: 2-6 years | Material: Wood, metal | Batteries required?: No
There’s certainly nothing wrong with a plastic play kitchen, but this premium wooden model is undeniably beautiful in its own way. Like a mini shaker-style kitchen, this wooden play kitchen is solidly made and traditional with a timeless, almost grown-up look kept playful by pops of bright colour. Every fixture and fitting has a really pleasing air of realism about it, so even though you know they’re not really putting a white wash on or, for some reason, frying a croissant, it’s even more fun to pretend. Reviewers loved how well-built this kitchen was, and commented that while it took a little while to put together, it was worth it.
4. Little Tikes 2-in-1 Food Truck
With a huge range of accessories, this truck lets them play almost any way they can think of
Best for: Accessories | Suitable for: 2+ years | Material: Plastic | Batteries required?: No
The second of two toy food trucks in our list, this two-in-one truck can switch from a hot dog stand to an ice cream kiosk at will, all it takes is switching the signs. This one’s our best for accessories, thanks to its wide range of utensils, condiments, cups, seasonings and foodstuffs, and even a phone for them to angrily call their supplier on. We also love the blackboard on the front for writing the day’s specials up and the order notepad, which are sure to make them feel just like a little entrepreneur.
5. ELC Wooden Activity Kitchen Walker
Motor skills are a big part of cooking, so get them started early with this two-in-one toy
Best for: Encouraging movement | Suitable for: 12 months+ | Material: Wood | Batteries required?: No
A play kitchen and a walker in one, this multi-tasking toy is a must for any household that’s short on capacity, but even if you’ve got space to spare, this is a great little toy. The value is undeniable: the push-along walker handle and shape sorter help them build their mobility and fine motor skills, while the cute kitchen accessories offer the opportunity for imaginative play. It’s minimal, it’s colourful, and its solid build ensures its timelessness, while the variety of activities means that it really earns its space in the playroom or living room.
6. Chicco Talking Kitchen
Teach them all they need to know with this talking kitchen set
Best for: Developing skills | Suitable for: 12 months+ | Material: Plastic | Batteries required?: 3xAA and 1.5V
With over 50 songs, jingles and sound effects, plus activities to work their way through, your tot will certainly be kept busy and entertained by this talking kitchen set’s lessons on numbers, shapes, the alphabet, opposites, the time, and kitchen words. You can even choose between English and French modes. Between the frying pan, sink, oven, blender and shape sorter recycling bin, there are loads of ways to play, and not unlike the ELC My First Kitchen, it’s a manageable, sit-down-able size for smaller tots.