When it comes to creating play spaces for your kids, it’s hard for parents and caregivers to even know where to start, because there are so many options to choose from.
That’s why the play space experts at Melissa & Doug crafted this easy “how-to” blog for parents: If you’re crafting a pretend play kitchen for your child, we’ve got the blueprint on how to do it, and exactly what products you’ll need.
How to Create a Play Kitchen Space for Your Child
Start with a spectacular play space, like our Chef's Kitchen or Star Diner Restaurant. Our Fresh Mart Grocery Store, with its counter and shelves can even double as a kitchen with a little imagination.
Need something smaller? Take a look at our Wooden Cafe Barista Coffee Shop or La Patisserie Bakery countertop play sets.
Once you've chosen the pretend play kitchen for your child, you’re going to need to stock it up with pretend food—but what should you put on the shopping list? That’s where Melissa & Doug comes in. Just follow these 7 easy steps to create the ultimate play kitchen space for your child. Because let’s face it: A kitchen without food is like a library without books. So start with these choice-cut pretend play options when you’re stocking up your child’s play kitchen!
Step #1: Start with the Play Kitchen Basics
Food Groups - Wooden Play Food
Play Kitchen Confidential: Planning a well-balanced meal is child's play with this wooden play food set! Items from the five food groups—including watermelon, milk, cheese, fish, eggs, and much more—are crafted of solid wood and come with four wooden baskets for sorting and storage.
Step #2: Stock Up Your Play Kitchen
Deluxe Kitchen Collection Cooking & Play Food Set
Play Kitchen Confidential: Satisfy kids’ hungry imaginations with this all-inclusive collection of durable pretend play serving utensils, dishes, and cookware, double-sided play food pieces, and realistic grocery boxes and cans! Dozens of double-sided play food pieces and drink inserts show either cooked and uncooked or different food options to combine to make countless make-believe meals! Stock play kitchens, restaurants, and grocery stores with pretend play food boxes and cans. "Cook" with a durable pot, skillet, colander, and serving utensils on the stovetop and sink play mat, then serve using the included durable place setting. Round out the play experience with a sturdy grocery tote and reusable activity cards!
Step #3: Preserve Kitchen Play with Canned Goods
Let's Play House! Grocery Cans
Play Kitchen Confidential: Stock a pretend pantry with this collection of lidded cardboard play-food cans and you'll have all the ingredients for colorful, imaginative grocery-store play. Open and close, fill and stack, sort and match the canned food toys--this set has a pretend-play flavor for every taste!
Step #4: Pick Play Produce for Healthy Pretend Options
Cutting Fruit Set - Wooden Play Food
Play Kitchen Confidential: This wooden play food set features a wooden knife and seven pieces of sliceable fruit that can be cut into a total of seventeen pieces! Held together with self-stick tabs, the food makes a fun and satisfying "CRUNCH" sound when sliced. With so many pieces, it's also a great way to introduce counting and the concepts of part, whole, and fractions!
Step #5: Fill the Fridge with Pretend Food Fun
Let's Play House! Fridge Fillers
Play Kitchen Confidential: These versatile play packages look and feel just like the real thing! Their slightly smaller scale makes them easy to store in most play kitchens, and easy to handle as children open and close the tops, fill and empty the cans and boxes, and prepare countless pretend-play meals. The packages of Deli Cheese and Deli Slices even contain play-food pieces to add to the fun. Count them, stack them, sort them…then store them away in their realistic containers until your next culinary adventure!
Step #6: Remember to Treat Yourself
Frozen Treats Set
Play Kitchen Confidential: Chill out with this 24-piece mix-and-match set! Make wooden ice cream sandwiches, ice pops, and Italian ice cups. Self-stick tabs hold together three different cookie flavors and vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream fillings. There are six multi-colored ice pops on sticks to stick together and pull apart. Or, fill the lidded cups with four flavors of ice and serve with a classic wooden spoon! Display the array of chilled goodies in the storage tray and use the menu card to identify all the pieces and to place orders. This play set is a great way for kids three and older to develop fine motor, matching and sorting, and counting skills. Food play has never been so cool!
Step #7: Spread The Icing on the Pretend Play Cupcakes
Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set
Play Kitchen Confidential: Be sure your little baker uses the oven mitt to remove these 4 delectable-looking wooden cupcakes from their cupcake baking tray! This special set has 3 dry-erase markers shaped like icing tubes to decorate the smooth, removable, wipe-off cupcake tops. With 8 colorful baking cupcake sleeves and 4 decorative wooden candles, these low-cal cupcakes will be the hit of playtime birthday and tea parties!
BONUS: Make your kid's kitchen a little "extra" with realistic Stainless Steel Pots & Pans and appliances such as the Brew & Serve Coffee Set and Smoothie Maker Blender.