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Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen

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This is nicer than mommy’s kitchen,” said a 3-year-old tester when he encountered KidKraft’s impressive Farm to Table Play Kitchen (thanks, kid!). While the overall design of the play kitchen is sleek, the initial impression was anything but: It arrived in more than 30 pieces. However, the assembly process was simple. Thanks to its clear instructions, it took an hour and a half uninterrupted to assemble. Parents and caregivers can encourage pretend play by leading by example. Dr. Ross suggests families take toys and start creating a story while encouraging a child to engage in pretend play.

Educational Toys | Montessori Toys | Mattel

Pottery Barn My First Ultimate Smart Kitchen: We liked the clean, simple design of this play kitchen, but the assembly instructions left room for error, and the microwave light and sound stopped working after a month. Overall, this children's play kitchen has a classic, beautiful design that fits in with any home decor. In addition, its small footprint is simply a bonus for those working with limited space. Our 4-year-old kiddo used the island as a prep space before placing food in the oven, which opened like a real oven (pull down) rather than a door (to the side). With additional sounds and lights, like one in the oven to see food cooking, and easy-to-use knobs for appliances, there’s no shortage of pretend play opportunities with this play kitchen.There are plenty of opportunities for imaginative play with this toddler play kitchen, which includes a coffee station, cooktop, sink, oven, and refrigerator. We loved the design of Step2 Fun with Friends Kitchen because it wasn’t overly fancy, yet still had a modern style. However, the three-hour assembly of this kitchen was its biggest downfall. We struggled to get screws through the plastic with no holes, leaving us confused and with tired hands (we recommend an electric drill). Once assembled, though, everything felt sturdy and durable, and it held up well after multiple uses.

Verywell Family The 10 Best Play Kitchens of 2023 - Verywell Family

After a month of testing, the play kitchen showed no wear and tear. Even when we accidentally spilled a cup of coffee on it, it wiped up easily. Setting up the play kitchen was cumbersome with lots of parts and pieces, but we assembled everything in about an hour and a half by following instructions closely (in typical Ikea fashion, these have pictures only). The fiberboard and birch plywood showed no wear and tear, even with a 5-year-old slamming the doors out of excitement. First, testers unboxed the play kitchens and followed assembly instructions, if any. Next, we asked testers to make notes about setup, describing if the process was frustrating or simple (or somewhere in between), if testers needed any extra tools or hands, and asked them to ensure no pieces or parts could come off. Then, we asked parents and caregivers to introduce their children to the play kitchens and note their initial reactions and how they played with the setup. We wanted to know if children engaged in pretend play and role-playing, practiced sequencing, and how they manipulated the knobs, buttons, and accessories (if any). Testers evaluated 22 play kitchens in the comfort of their homes, assessing each on setup, design, accessories, durability, and overall value. We also spoke with Tiorra Ross, MD, a practicing urgent care pediatrician in Houston, Texas, to determine what to look for in play kitchens and how to encourage pretend play in children. We were very grateful for the simple assembly of the KidKraft Uptown Elite Play Kitchen. The kitchen took an hour to assemble, and we only needed an additional screwdriver to finish the setup. Plus, the easy-to-understand directions were a nice bonus. Once completed, the play kitchen boasts a large refrigerator, dishwasher, shelf space, deep freezer, and sink.Assembly: Many large children’s toys, like play kitchens, require adult assembly before kiddos can play with them. Overall, you want to ensure you set aside the time needed to assemble the kitchen and read over instructions carefully. We assembled all 22 play kitchens we tested to determine how complicated or easy the setup would be. For example, the Hape Gourmet Kitchen was an easy build that took about 30 to 45 minutes, while the Step2 Elegant Edge Kitchen arrived in three separate boxes, which resulted in a four-and-a-half-hour setup time. KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen: The design of this kitchen looks modern and is large enough for multiple children; however, it took four hours to assemble and only had one accessory. Little Tikes Home Grown Kitchen: This play kitchen comes with many accessories and boasts a great price, but there aren’t many bells and whistles (only a button with bubble sound effects). Toymakers Melissa & Doug encourage kiddos to tap into their imaginations with this play kitchen. The design mimics a real kitchen with features like a stove, oven, microwave, storage space, and refrigerator with a working ice dispenser. The setup process was about average and took us about 90 minutes to complete. There were 26 steps to follow, but the company labeled all the pieces and the hardware. The only additional tools we needed to finish assembling the play kitchen were screwdrivers, a wrench, and an extra pair of hands during the early steps.

The spacious refrigerator in the KidKraft Mosaic play kitchen is about as close as it gets to the real thing. In addition to the working ice maker that dispenses plastic ice cubes, the refrigerator and top freezer doors are magnetic. Nine accessories come with this kitchen, including various magnets such as a to-do list, numbers, shapes, and a picture frame (but you can add your own magnets, too). Children can cook meals for the family with the included pan and utensils, then add some seasoning with the salt and pepper shakers. Fat Brain Toys Cook, Bake, and Brew Modern Deluxe Kitchen: Although we loved this play kitchen's sleek and modern design, we didn’t love the difficult assembly and easily breakable texture of the accessories. There aren’t too many sounds and lights in the kitchen, which can be a pro or con, depending on your family’s preference. For example, the stove makes a bubbling noise when kiddos cook with the included pot or pan, while the built-in coffee station features a pod machine to feel like the grown-ups. In addition, many other accessories come with this play kitchen for toddlers, such as condiment bottles, utensils, cups, coffee pods and cups, and more, to add to the kitchen experience. Assembly of the wooden design took only 30 to 45 minutes to complete—a fast construction time compared to other play kitchens we tested. Moreover, the entire setup felt sturdy once finished, and we appreciated the gender-neutral design for all children to enjoy. While no accessories come with the IKEA play kitchen, we think this kitchen still has value thanks to its attractive (and durable) design.Children who play with a pretend kitchen benefit from imaginative play, also known as symbolic play. Pretending to drink out of an empty cup inspires pretend play. “Some of the benefits of symbolic play is it encourages imagination, utilizes social interactions, and helps with communication skills," explains Dr. Ross. She encourages parents to let their children imagine whatever they want, even if it's unrealistic. Allow children to get as creative as they want, but always ensure toys and furniture are safe and age-appropriate, Dr. Ross adds. Children who entertain themselves in a pretend kitchen reap the benefits of pretend play in return. Imaginative play allows children to experiment with various social roles and learn to cooperate. Moreover, this type of play encourages the growth of language, communication, and complex negotiation skills.

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