Last Updated on November 21, 2022 by admin
No matter what your income level or culture, your 2-year-old often sees their caregivers working in the kitchen. And 2-year-olds love to imitate what they see their grownups doing in their play. That’s why play kitchens are such popular toys with 2-year-olds
Play kitchens allow kids to engage in fine motor skills in addition to social and emotional play.
There are a lot of factors to consider as you choose which play kitchen is right for your home. You’ll want to have a general idea of the size you want and the kitchen’s general aesthetics (wood vs. plastic, primary colors vs. white, etc.), because these toys are large enough to make a pretty big visual statement. You’ll also want to consider things like the kitchen’s ability to store play kitchen accessories and whether or not you want to avoid electronic components and 5batteries. Check out my post on how to choose a play kitchen, and once you have a good idea of what you want, keep reading to get a sense of the different brands that produce the best play kitchens for 2-year-olds.
As with the rest of the site, I try to steer clear of products/brands that have a minimal web presence or don’t seem to have accountability to safety or environmental standards.
As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Step2 Play Kitchens
Step2 specializes in affordable, large plastic toys and furniture for kids. Their play kitchens are durable and can be played with outdoors, too, although I’m guessing some stickers might get damaged. My mom got a Step2 play kitchen at a resale shop and it has held up well and attracted plenty of attention from grandkids at her house for years.
Each of these Step2 kitchens comes with a set of plastic kitchen accessories and play food.
The bigger, Elegant Edge Kitchen below is recommended for ages 3 and up (I’m guessing this is because of the height or maybe the tippability), but the others in this group are recommended for ages 2 and up.
One bonus of this brand for me is that Step2 has a few manufacturing facilities in Ohio, which I consider to be safe and local.
Fisher Price Play Cooking for Younger Toddlers
Most toys for toddlers are either in the 18-month-plus category or the 3-year-plus category. That’s because around one and a half years, toddlers slowly move out of the phase where they’re focused pretty intensely on learning how to do things like walk, run, climb, and explore basic cause and effect to a phase where they start to “pretend” and play in a more social way.
18-month-olds generally aren’t ready for toys with complicated parts, sharp edges, or parts that are small enough to choke on, though. So, just like other baby products, we have a market of toys designed for the 18+ month crowd that aren’t interesting for very long (a few years, max), but will likely be really popular for that short period of time.
You’re probably on this site because you’er looking for a toy for a 2-year-old, and by the time you’re shopping for one, they may be 6 months older than 18 months. All that said, these options from Fisher-Price can be a good choice, especially if you’re shopping for a child who is just turning 2 and is the oldest in the family. They both get great reviews and are designed specifically for toddler use.
Hape Wooden Play Kitchens
The brand Hape specializes in making quality, safe wooden toys. These wooden toys are obviously indoor-only and may be heavier than other play kitchens, but they have a clean modern look and are built to last. These Hape play kitchen are suggested for ages 3 and up, probably due to small parts. The gray kitchen below has battery-powered lights and sounds, but the others are simple and free of electronic components.
Melissa and Doug
As far as I can tell, the popular U.S. toy brand Melissa and Doug only makes one play kitchen in a variety of colors, but this brand is well-known for its many kitchen accessories for toddlers, so I thought I’d include their kitchen, too.
Little Tikes, a Mattel brand, makes a variety of plastic play kitchens for kids. These are recommended for ages 3 and up, but I have no doubt that 2-year-olds, especially older 2-year-olds, could have a lot of fun with these. Make sure to remove or secure any potential small parts before your 2-year-old gets access to the toy.
KidKraft has a huge selection of realistic-looking wooden kitchens with plenty of detail. (In the kid toy world, “wood” almost always means particle board and not solid wood, in case you were wondering.) In my experience, KidKraft toys hold up fine but may not be in great shape by the time you want to pass them along to a new generation. However, it’s tough to deny the appeal of these toys.