When kids start playing it’s sometimes the everyday tasks that they enjoy doing most. Cleaning, cooking, eating, taking care of baby dolls. These are the things they like to emulate and this type of pretend play has great developmental benefits as well. That’s why having a play kitchen for my daughter was one of the things I couldn’t wait to get. As a result, we decided that we wanted a wooden play kitchen so we searched for the best wooden play kitchen around.
Benefits of a Wooden Play Kitchen
Play kitchens foster pretend play. Pretend and creative play are important for social and emotional development in the child. It helps children with problem solving (how are we going to climb this slippery mountain?!) or facing something scary (visiting the doctor). Having toys that encourage pretend play or allowing time for the imagination is extremely important for young minds.
There are many types of pretend play that a child can have with a play kitchen. They can:
- Be a chef at their own fancy restaurant or have a picnic with their friends.
- Delegate tasks with friends or siblings such as cooking and dish washing
- Work on interpersonal and sharing skills, using both the cooking space and play food.
It is limitless all the different interactions kids can have with a play kitchen.
Best Wooden Play Kitchen Buying Guide
Unfortunately since wooden play kitchens are often quite large and stationary toys, there are few things you’ll need to consider before purchasing one.
#1 Where will you put the kitchen?
You need to think about location. Where do you want your children playing with this kitchen. Since play kitchens can incite some loud play, do you want it in a common space? Maybe you want it near your real kitchen so kids can “play along” as you cook.
#2 What is the maximum size (width, height, length) that will fit in that location?
Once you know the general location you want to place the kitchen, you need to measure the available space. Measure length, width, and height to get an understanding of the maximum size you’d want in your home.
#3 Should it match your decor?
This may seem silly, but this was a big filter for us. We wanted something that wouldn’t look out of place in our home and in our family room.
#4 Do you want a kitchen with a fridge and a stove?
There are many options out there. Some don’t have a fridge, some don’t have a stove, and some are a combination. You want to decide how many “appliances” you want and if you want them attached or separate.
#5 Do you want a lot of storage in the play kitchen to hold play food?
This was another big area we focused on. We knew we wanted to get a lot of play food but we didn’t have the extra space to store it. The kitchen we bought needed to have enough storage within the kitchen for all the food.
#6 What is your budget?
No brainer! What is your maximum budget. This will determine which of the below options are possible.
When you start looking for a play kitchen be sure to know the answers to the above so you can weed out any of the models that don’t meet your specifications.
Wooden Play Kitchen Overview
In this overview we’ll only be looking at a few wooden kitchens available from major manufacturers.
Hape is a very well known company that specializes in toys made of sustainable materials. Their Playfully Delicious Gourmet Kitchen is no exception. This model comes with a sink and stove. It comes in a mostly natural wood color with some white, red, and orange accents which means it won’t be too much of an eyesore in common spaces. They do have other color combinations as well.
The kitchen dimensions are 21.6 x 12.6 x 27.8 inches. The kitchen has one storage area below the sink and range and a shelf above for additional storage.
- Compact in size
- Gender neutral colors
- Being on the smaller size means bigger kids might physically outgrow it
- Does not come with a fridge – this is sold separately
This kitchen comes with an attached refrigerator, range with knobs, stove, sink, and mounted phone. There is additional storage under the sink and shelving above. The knobs turn as do the faucet handles.
The KidKraft Vintage Kitchen dimensions are 33 x 11.7 x 35.7 inches. It comes in a multitude of colors which allows you to find one that matches your decor. KidKraft also has different models if the “vintage” look isn’t your speed.
- Very attractive kitchen once assembled
- Comes with a phone, which kids love to play with!
- Many have said this kitchen is very difficult to assemble
- While the dimensions are clear, some say this is on the smaller side for larger kids
Melissa & Doug have been known for their quality wooden toys and have received many awards. Their Corner Wooden kitchen includes a fridge, stove, and range area. There are three twisting stove knobs and an egg timer as well. With plenty of storage in this kitchen you’ll have tons of room for the play food that you want to incorporate into your child’s play area. The set dimensions are 26″H x 36″L x 16″W.
While this is labeled as a corner kitchen, it can easily be placed on a flat wall as well.
- Has non-toxic coatings to keep kids safe
- Colors are unisex
- Not technically made out of wood, but rather high quality MDF
- Takes a few hours to put together
- Many have complained about issues with assembly such as holes not lining up or pieces breaking quite easily
The Giantex Kitchen stands at 23.6″ X 11.8″ X35.4″. It’s constructed of MDF and pinewood. There is storage below both the sink and in the oven. There are shelves above the sink as well which provides additional storage and few small cubbies.
- Unisex colors
- Movable knobs for realistic play
- Some customers complained of scratched parts upon delivery
The PlanToys Kitchen is a smaller kitchen for those in cramped spaces or looking for something more portable. It stands at 7.2 x 11.3 x 12 in. There is a companion piece, the Kitchen Set, which is the oven and range in a similar size. PlanToys has a large range of play food that is compatible with the kitchen set.
- Includes tableware
- Due to small size, portable and can be used anywhere
- If you have older children, this will be too small
Handcrafted Wooden Play Kitchens
If you’re looking for a handcrafted wooden kitchen, check website like Elves and Angels. They have an amazing array of gorgeous wooden play kitchens. Willow Toys also has some beautiful and simple wooden play kitchens as well as Waldorf Playstands. While these may run you a pretty penny, the durability and sustainability of these kitchens is undeniable.
Other Ideas for Wooden Play Kitchens
If the above choices don’t tickle your fancy or don’t fit in your budget, there are other options for getting the play kitchen of your child’s dreams.
- Look for yard sales
- Check craigslist
- Make one yourself
- Customize one of the above to fit your preferences
We hope this provided you with some guidance on what to choose when looking for the best wooden play kitchen for your little one!