Tips for Buying a Toy Kitchen

Child development experts have said that children with healthy imaginations will engage in pretend play. Toy kitchens are perfect for pretend play for young children. When purchasing a toy kitchen you basically want to get the most bang for your buck. Keep reading for more tips on purchasing that perfect toy kitchen for your toddler.

PLASTIC or WOOD?
Plastic toy kitchens are more durable and will last longer especially with young children who will beat and bang on them. Wood kitchens are more appropriate for older children who know how to take care of their toys. Go for the plastic for younger children and wood for older children.

HOW BIG?
The size of the play kitchen you purchase largely depends on the space in your home and your budget. You can buy a basic stove only so your child can imitate you are you can purchase a a pretend kitchen complete with appliances and a table. Evaluate your budget and the amount of space in your home to determine with is best.

ACCESSORIES
The average toy kitchen has a fridge, oven and sink. This is perfect of your toddler, however if you want a kitchen with more bells and whistles then look into those with attached dishwashers and cabinets. Some even have built in microwaves and additional storage above.

PLAY FOOD and DISHES
Depending on how much you spend on a toy kitchen, it may come with a set of play food and/or dishes. Double check the price and if this is included. These items are essential in kitchen pretend play.

GROCERIES
Add more fun to the mix by purchasing pretend groceries and a shopping cart. Your child can pretend to go grocery shopping and then come home to their kitchen and put the groceries away and cook dinner.

FURNITURE
If the toy kitchen you have your eye on does not come with any type of furniture, then purchase a small kid sized table and chair set for your child as well. They can serve up a lot of pretend meals in their pretend dining area.

RECOMMENDATIONS
As a parent, I also went through the dilemma of which toy kitchen to purchase for my children. I found a ton on the market that looked like they were well worth the money. Here are a few that I found that looked to delight any child:

~Grand Walk In Kitchen by Step 2. This is a huge kitchen set that allows your child to walk in their kitchen and serve up meals on plenty of counter space. http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2574166

~Little Tikes Inside/Outside Kitchen: This dual sided kitchen set has one side as a kitchen with fridge, dishwasher, oven, sink, cabinet, and microwave and the other side serves as a BBQ area complete with real sounding grill and picnic bench.
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2308707

~One Step Ahead Retro Kitchen: This is a wood kitchen set for your older child. More real looking for children, this is sure to have your young chef imitating their parents soon.

When in doubt, go to any toy store and browse all of the kitchens and try them out. If you order a set online, be sure to check return policies in case it is not well received. And of course do not forget the accessories such as pretend food, dishes, baking sets, and other things to bring out the Rachael Ray or Emeril in your child.