I’ve been searching for a pretend play kitchen for Emily who will be 3 1/2 when Kaitlin turns 8 on July 30 (don’t know where the time’s gone). Kaitlin is becoming more independent in her play. She’s moving further away from wanting to spend time with Emily and toddler play. Emily loves to cook. Her favorite is to make purple pancakes…and pretend she’s Mommy or Daddy (he likes to cook, too.) A new, updated pretend play kitchen will provide an opportunity to develop Emily’s creativity and imagination. Who knows? Maybe she’ll be the next culinary arts star of her generation!

A pretend play kitchen is also a great way to develop communication and social skills with her dolls, friends, and family. Children will naturally learn to share, take turns, and to pretend to be mommy, daddy, grandma, or grandpa. (Be aware, sometimes, we learn our “not so nice” mannerisms by watching young children emulate us.)

Pretend play kitchens also advance learning of colors, shapes, fine motor skills, manners, and healthy food groups. For some, play kitchens can be the beginning to a hobby or career in the culinary arts. Pretend play kitchens are so much better for children than a DS pretend cooking game!

What you should consider when deciding on pretend play kitchens is the developmental age of your grandchild, height (remember your toddler will grow fast – find one that will fit for a while), and available storage space. Pretend play kitchens come in many prices, sizes, shapes, and decor styles.

In my searching I found PlayKitchensGuide.com. This site has just about every play kitchen and accessories in one place to help in searching for the best play kitchen.

In August 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) made a number of changes to consumer product safety laws in the USA. Be sure to check to see if the pretend play kitchen you choose has this approval.

Creative pretend kitchen play activities:

Mommy and children – create a healthy meal for stuffed animals and dolls
Hostess and guests – plan and prepare refreshments for a tea party
Chef – watch culinary arts shows together, then child pretends to be the chef – mommy or sister/brother can be the assistant or waitress/waiter
Grandma/Grandpa and grandchildren – make cookies and decorate (use real dough or playdoh)

Extended play:

Prepare a meal and shopping list, “drive to the store”…then do pretend food shopping with a shopping cart, food items, and cash register…”drive home”, put groceries away…rest with a fun activity…prepare the meal and enjoy it together! (use real food or pretend food…it’s up to you) ENJOY!