Building your own play kitchen at home means you can customise it to suit your child’s individual personality. Start by exploring our range of beautifully crafted play kitchens and then get busy making the space perfect for your budding chef, cafe owner, kitchen porter, parent or waiter - remember, a play kitchen can cater to many different roles and the more roles your child plays the more learning they do!
By creating a ‘next level’ play kitchen for your child you not only ensure it’s a space they’ll love, you can:
- Enrich creativity
- Enhance language and communication
- Improve social skills and teamwork
- Develop planning and organisation skills
- Build confidence in important life skills
- Offer a sense of independence
- Boost cognitive and problem-solving skills
- Encourage mathematical learning
- Enhance visual recognition
- Promote healthy food choices
- Develop fine motor skills
At HipKids, we have everything you need to make your pretend play kitchen ‘next level’ and every item we create or stock is carefully curated with your child’s learning and fun in mind. At HipKids we’ve got aprons, rolling pins, whisks, bowls, blenders, mixing spoons, pastry brushes, cookie cutters, cup cake trays, weighing scales, fruits and veg, sushi, biscuits and cakes, whole chickens, smoothie goods, eggs, juice, milk, sauce, bread and more.
In short, we’ve got everything you need to make your child’s pretend play kitchen great!
How to choose accessories
With so many different pretend play toys to choose from it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Ideally, each toy you choose should be safe, affordable, durable, and should play a role in developing your child’s physical, mental and social skills.
Healthy foods are preferable, as what your child prepares in their pretend play kitchen will ultimately reflect what they are prepared to eat in real life. Personalised goods, like aprons, hats and a ‘specials of the day’ chalkboard are also great for injecting personality and ownership.
Browse our range of pretend play kitchen accessories and see what items best suit your child’s personality. Also consider what items evoke new forms of play. This could be weighing scales, a shopping basket or trolley, a mixer set,coffee machine or popcorn maker. Again we highlight - different roles and scenes create different learning opportunities!
Why wood is better than plastic
Generally speaking, wooden toys are better for the environment than plastic toys due to its biodegradable nature and its ability to be recycled. Instead of filling landfill with man-made products, you can buy toys that last and ones that give back to the environment.
A parent’s primary concern for their child is safety, and with children putting toys continuously in their mouths, wood is the safer option when it comes to toys. Another concern for parents is budget, and wooden toys are designed to stand the test of time. They may cost more initially but because of their long life span they can be passed down to younger siblings, relatives and friends or resold at a later date. Wooden toys hold their value more than plastic toys.
Enhancing the learning experience
Because of the many benefits it can give, children should be encouraged to naturally engage in child-led pretend play. That said, there are scenarios you can encourage that can compliment natural child-led play and enhance the learning experience. These include:
- Sorting games
Sorting is a great early math activity to introduce to preschoolers and there are tons of ways to do it with play food. Your child can sort play food by colour, by type, by shape, what sort of meal they are eaten at...the list goes on.
- Recipes and requests
While young children might not be able to read recipe cards, they can follow picture directions. Over time this will help them connect words to the pictures too. Children can also follow simple verbal requests such as, “Can you please bring me one piece of fruit and then pour me a glass of milk?” Once they master that you can build upon this, “Can you please put the oranges and biscuits in the picnic basket, the cake in the fridge and then bring me an apple?”
- “What’s missing?” game
Work on your child’s favourite recipe and ask what items might be missing. Does it need an egg? Does it need milk? Does it need a tomato? You can also play the “what’s missing?” game in the traditional sense by placing several pieces of food on a tray and then taking one away while your child closes their eyes. This is a great activity that teaches focus and attention to detail.
- Healthy eating encouragement
The Healthy Eating Learning Experiences Resourcehas been designed to provide early childhood educators with suggestions for a range of fun, innovative and developmentally appropriate learning experiences. This fun, play-based resource can also be used with your pretend play kitchen. Learning experiences have been categorised under books and literature; songs; rhymes and music; experiments; group games; vegetable gardens; and cooking.
What parents have to say about pretend kitchen play
As part of a recent social media campaign, we asked parents to share in 25 words or less what their kids love to do for pretend play. Here’s a few highlights to get you inspired!
“My son loves pretending to cook, he’s usually making burgers, pizza or waffles!” - Lauren Thorn
“My oldest boy is so interested in cooking especially when we make sweets like cupcakes. He also enjoys running his pretend side business...his own ice cream shop to which he delivers to you.” - Chloe Doran
“My kids absolutely love to play hotel restaurant - they set up a floor table with a tablecloth, one plays the waiter and one plays the customer. They take orders and deliver meals to the table and when the customer is finished the waiter takes her up to her room for a nap.” - Carly Ann Young
“My kids love pretending we’re having a picnic, making me toasted sandwiches and coffee! I was a big fan of pretend cooking when I was little, so it’s nice seeing my kiddos play the same way! We also LOVE HipKids products!” - Michelle Ooi
Feeling inspired to create your own amazing pretend play kitchen? Take kitchen role play to the next level by engaging children in the sensory excitement of a HipKids play kitchen with play accessories and food. Shop the range today.