Last Updated on
While many parents understand the huge benefits play kitchens offer kids, what they are not sure of is whether it is perfect for their own kids.
It is a good thing to attempt to know the appropriateness of a toy set before buying for your child. Nobody wants to end up with a toy that the child never uses.
Plus the fact that play kitchens are big toys. You don’t buy such toys without making sure it will be appropriate for the child you’re buying it for.
To determine the appropriateness of a play kitchen for a child, it is better to put certain things into consideration. Especially when there is no one-size-fits-all solution that states the age of a child that can use a play kitchen.
Why do kids need play kitchens?
First, let’s check what play kitchen does for kids. This will allow us to have an insight into what age it is perfect for.
Play kitchens allow kids to role play. There are many role-playing toys.
Play kitchens are unique in that they allow kids to imitate something they see mom or dad do everyday. That is, they allow kids to be introduced directly to a basic life skill.
When you compare play kitchen with, for example, doctor kits, you will see where I’m going with this.
So, what does it do for the kids?
It allows them to use their imagination. Kids create their own recipes and dishes on their play kitchens. Play kitchens allow kids to create real life scenarios which in turn prepare them for real life situations.
Play kitchens are learning and educational tools. Kids can sharpen their problem-solving abilities through regular play with a toy kitchen.
It can help with basic mathematical concepts like adding subtracting and multiplying. It can also help teach kids color identification since play kitchens and their accessories comes in several colors.
Let’s quickly state one more benefits before going on to determine the perfect kid’s age for a play kitchen.
Play kitchens help the little ones in the development of language and social skills. Child-size kitchens facilitate play between multiple kids. This will help them develop the necessary social skills and expand their limited vocabulary.
With all these benefits available for a child using a play kitchen, which parents wouldn’t want their kids to have one?
But hear this…
Play kitchens are not for 1 year olds
Yeah, you heard that right. Toy kitchens are not meant for a 1 year old. Or below that age.
With all those benefits, why exclude a child? You asked. You may have even seen parents buying for their kids at that age.
You see, when it comes to kids and toys, parents should be extra careful.
In America alone, toys account for a high percentage of injuries happening to kids. And trust me, a considerable number of that figure leads to death.
Play kitchen sets (or their accessories) may contain small parts that a toddler can choke on. For example, pretend foods resemble real foods and kids generally put these in their mouth.
Kitchen toy sets, whatever the materials they are made of, may also contain unsafe substances. As recently discovered, lots of plastic toys contain BPA and phthalates which have been deemed by health authorities as not safe for humans. These are not the only culprit here, there are many unsafe chemicals present in the PVC plastic used in producing baby products and general home items.
The risk may be lower for adult, but for toddlers who put these in their mouth or chew on them, it is higher.
It is not even about plastic toys alone, wooden play kitchens and accessories are usually coated or painted on. Many of these paints contain toxic chemicals too. And lots of wooden toys are built with treated wood or fabricated wood that consist of other elements like plastic or metal.
Here is another reason we say play kitchens are not for 1 year old and below.
At that age, many kids are just learning to walk. Those that already do are toddling around the home. Play kitchens are big toys, by any toddler’s standard. There is a sure risk that they can fall on the kids. And with the weight of some of these playsets, that is a real danger.
Is age 2 the Sweet Spot for toy kitchens?
Something like that. Age 2 is also about the time that real make-believe play starts.
But we should be talking about age range, not a particular age. Play kitchens are perfect for a wide range of kids’ ages. Some are designed for older kids, some are meant for 3+ kids.
The Manufacturer’s Recommendation to the rescue
The right answer to the main question of this surely lies with the manufacturer. Each toy producer, at least in the US, is mandated to list information on the required age for any product.
Going through several online stores, you will notice that the most common minimum recommended age for a play kitchen is 3, followed by age 2.
There you have it. The perfect age for a play kitchen starts from around 2-3 year olds. And ends around age 10-12, though many parents will claim 11 years and above should be using the real kitchen.
We would like to add that, if your 1 year old shows interest in his sister’s play kitchen, let him use it. But under your strict supervision, due to the risks outlined above.