Get ready to enjoy a lot of gourmet (pretend) cooking

September 21, 2022

best play food header

Is your toddler obsessed with food? Or are you just trying to find a fun and inviting way to introduce a few varied vegetables to your chicken-nuggets-only eater? Whatever your kiddo’s relationship with food is, play food is always an exciting addition to pretend play, whether it’s dinner parties with stuffed animals or a play kitchen cooking show with preschool friends.

To get those yummy (pretend) meals cookin’, here are our favorite play food sets:

KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set

A Full Pantry

No kitchen is complete without food to fill the cupboards. Here’s every food group you could possibly think of, including the most important one: dessert. Infinite meal and snack opportunities abound with this complete set. Each piece is made of BPA-free plastic, so it’s nontoxic and durable.

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Grocery Cans

Canned Goods

To make their play kitchen feel as real as possible, your kid’s probably going to want some canned food. Rather than sacrifice that canned corn you planned to make, here’s a set made of cardboard that looks just like the real stuff (contains no real food). The plastic lids are easily removable—no can opener necessary—so kiddo can go through all the motions of food prep, however minute.

Mn Play Food Setelissa & Doug Fridge Food Woode

Refrigeration Necessary

If your child’s play kitchen comes with a fridge, what do you plan to stock it with? Toy refrigerators won’t actually keep anything cold, and that’s where this fridge food set comes in handy. It’s all solid wood—hand painted, even—so there’s no risk of sour milk or melted ice cream. But heads up: none of it can actually be opened, so an element of realism is slightly lost for toddlers who might prefer it.

Hape Garden Salad

Hape Garden Salad

Getting your toddler to eat fresh greens and other vegetables can be a struggle sometimes, but you might be able to change their minds about this particular food group if they can experience the fun of tossing a salad themselves. Complete with lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumers and more, this set has lots of foods to make a healthy salad—just top it off with the included oil, vinegar and pepper and toss!

Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set – Wooden Play Food

Cutting Edge

Most play food is just, well, play food—great for mimicking the real thing and encouraging imaginative play. But this set does more than that. Your toddler can use the wooden “knife” (don’t worry, it’s really dull) to slice and chop through each piece, giving them ample opportunity to practice their knife skills and build hand-eye coordination.

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