15 Best Play Food Sets For Kids To Buy In 2022

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The kitchen can be a mysterious and intriguing space for children. Exposing your little one to the kitchen allows them to channel their curiosity into learning a useful new skill, cooking. However, substituting real food with the best play foods for kids can make the experience more fun. This way, you don’t have to worry about them mistaking their dinner for a plaything.

Play foods keep young ones busy while satisfying their desire to prepare food. They can pretend-play to their heart’s content without any messes to clean up after. Gradually, you could get them to help around the kitchen as well.

Here, we list some of the most interesting play food options that can spark kids’ interest in the kitchen and teach them the fundamentals of cooking.

Our Top Picks

Safety Points To Remember About Toy Foods

  • Toy foods are ideal for school-going children: Young children and toddlers may feel tempted to take a bite out of the toy food. Therefore, toy foods are best suited for children who are around four to six years of age and ready to go to kindergarten. These children know the difference between toy foods and real foods.
  • Check for wear and tear: Periodically check for any signs that indicate the child may be gnawing at the toy. Fading of the color at a spot may mean that the child regularly licks or tries to chew it. If they are, take the toy away until they understand that these toys should not be put in the mouth.

Next, we give you a list of the best toy foods that you can consider for your child.

15 Best Toy Food Sets For Kids

1. Best For Teaching Baking: Melissa & Doug Slice-and-Bake Wooden Cookie Play Food

Doug Slice-and-Bake Wooden Cookie Play Food

 

Before your child helps you out with real cookie baking, let them practice their skills with this toy. Not sure if this is the right game for you? Check out this video to know more about it.

Pros

  • Toy set contains 12 cookies and 12 toppings, along with several other baking accessories
  • Each wooden cookie can be fixed with a range of toppings, such as chocolate and white chocolate with sprinkles
  • Baking tray has hook-and-loop fasteners that help keep the cookies organized
  • Toy baking tools include a knife, a spatula, and a baking glove
  • Cookies can be stored in a cardboard box that resembles a real cookie box/wrapper

Cons

  • Cookie tray might be slightly wide for the oven
  • Paint might peel off

2. Best With Cutlery: Play Circle by Battat Pretend Ice Cream Set

Learning Resources Farmers

 

This is a great way to introduce your child to fruits and vegetables. Here’s a video that demonstrates exactly how easy it is to use this product every day.

Pros

  • Fruits and vegetables in this set are sorted according to colors
  • Includes a total of 25 foods in five buckets, with one bucket each for a color
  • Helps teach children about foods and colors
  • Helps improve fine motor skills

Cons

  • Involves many small pieces
  • May have sharp edges

3. Best Ice Cream: LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart

Learn Ice Cream Cart

 

If there is anything that can be more exciting than ice cream, it is an ice cream cart. This video will tell you more about the book so you can make an informed choice.

Pros

  • Includes toy ice cream toppings, a scooper, and cones, all set in an ice cream cart
  • Ice cream cart has functional wheels and a handle that lets the child push the cart
  • Includes a toy syrup container with a pump, which plays music and other tones when pressed
  • Has a toy cash register that counts to ten at the press of its buttons
  • Ice cream scooper lets the child pick the ice cream topping and put them on the top of the cone with a button that helps lock and release the toy ice cream scoops.
  • Can put one or more scoops on a single toy cone

Cons

  • Magnets might not be very powerful
  • Storage might be an issue

4. Best With Cutlery: Play Circle by Battat Pretend Ice Cream Set

Play Circle by Battat Pretend Ice Cream Set

If your child has a sweet tooth, this toy might be for them. The set includes toy ice cream scoops, sprinkles, syrup bottles, ice cream swirls, a banana, sugar cones, and more.

Pros

  • Includes cutlery such as cups, spoons, an ice cream scooper, and a dish
  • Stackable ice cream scoops
  • Non-toxic
  • Easy to grab
  • Makes realistic sounds
  • Syrup bottles have easy-to-open lids
  • Durable materials

Cons

  • May be smaller than expected
  • Scoops may be challenging to stack for some

5. Best Pizza Toy:  Jogo Jogo Wooden Pizza Toy

Jogo Jogo Wooden Pizza Toy

Let your child start their very own toy pizza store with this wooden pizza toy set.

Pros

  • Includes six pizza slices that stick to one another through a hook-and-loop fastener
  • Includes wooden toppings, such as tomatoes, onions, and olives. Toy toppings can stick to the pizza
  • Accessories include a wooden pizza cutter, serving spatula, and a cardboard oven
  • The set also comes with fake money, a menu card, a chef hat, and six fake mustaches for the little Italian pizza baker
  • Helps make pretend play more realistic

Cons

  • Toppings might be too small for some
  • Felt might come apart

6. Best Fruits And Vegetables:  Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie

Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie

 

Here’s a toy pie that can store an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Pros

  • Toy is shaped like a pie with a removable top
  • There are five slots inside the pie with each slot dedicated to a specific color of vegetables
  • Includes two pairs of tongs, which means the child can play with their parent or sibling
  • Toy pie works as a box to store the toys
  • Helps promote fine motor skills

Cons

  • Tongs might be slightly challenging to use
  • May not have enough variation

7. Best Eco-Friendly: Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit & Veggie Tote

Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit

 

Here’s an assortment of fruits and vegetables in an adorable tote bag.

Pros

  • Includes 16 plastic toy fruits and vegetables, each featuring realistic details and color scheme.
  • Made from plastic, which has a rubber-like feel to it.
  • Durable and resistant to crushing.
  • Eco-friendly tote bag made from canvas fabric for easy storage

Cons

  • Might have a slight chemical odor
  • Might be small

8. Best Wooden Hand-Painted:  Melissa & Doug Food Groups – Wooden Play Food

Doug Food Groups

 

These toy foods can help your child understand food groups better. The toy food set comes with 21 pieces of wooden toy foods and four wooden crates to store the toys. The toys are divided into four food groups: fruits and vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy. Each of the four crates holds food of a specific category

Pros

  • The toy set can help the child understand the importance of a balanced diet
  • Each wooden toy is hand-painted
  • The wooden crates are sturdy and are made from high-quality wood
    Easy to store

Cons

  • Might be slightly heavy
  • Paint may get chipped

9. Best Multi-Cuisine: KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set

KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set

 

This toy food set has everything, from carrots to cupcakes!

Pros

  • The set consists of 115 pieces of toy food. Each piece features a realistic color and detail
  • Wide variety of options when segregating the food. You can group them as per color, food group, taste, and so on
  • Includes fake canned food items, beverages, and seasonings
  • The plastic used is free of BPA

Cons

  • Some pieces might be thinner and more bendable

10. Best Barbeque:  Little Tikes Backyard Barbeque Grillin’ Goodies

Little Tikes Backyard Barbeque Grillin

 

Let your child have their very own barbecue within the safety of their room.

Pros

  • 20-piece set contains everything that the child will need to practice their barbecuing skills
  • Set also consists of toy hot dogs, corn, ketchup, and mustard bottles
  • Cutlery includes a pair of knives, spoons, and forks
  • Includes a pair of napkins, which can have a general use
  • The colors of the toy are bright and realistic

Cons

  • Hamburger and buns might not be stacked well
  • May be small

11. Best Child-Friendly: Hape Pop Up Toaster Wooden Play Kitchen Set

Hape Pop Up Toaster Wooden Play Kitchen Set

 

Child bothering you when you prepare breakfast? Get them this toy set and let them make their own breakfast toast every day.

Pros

  • Includes a toy toaster and toy food items like bread, butter, and honey
  • The two slices of bread can be placed inside the toaster.
  • Wooden lever on the side of the toaster lets the child pop the bread as it happens in a real toaster
  • The butter slices stick together with hook-and-loop fastener
  • Other accessories include a wooden plate for the bread and a wooden replica of a honey jar
  • Toys are made from high-quality wood and feature child-safe paints

Cons

  • Toaster does not automatically pop
  • Slices may get stuck

12. Best Toy Slicing: Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set

Doug Cutting Fruit Set

 

Fruits in this toy food set can be sliced to provide an excellent pretend play experience.

Pros

  • Comes with seven toy fruits.
  • Each fruit is made from multiple sections stuck together with a hook-and-loop fastener.
  • Easy to chop with a wooden knife that comes with the set
  • Slices with a “crunch” sound every time the knife goes through the sections of the fruit
  • The toys come arranged in a wooden crate.
  • Fruits are made from wood and feature a realistic paint scheme

Cons

  • Wooden knife might not be as durable

13. Best Birthday Cake:  Melissa & Doug Wooden Birthday Party Cake

Doug Wooden Birthday Party Cake

What can make a party more exciting? A wooden birthday party cake with candles!

Pros

  • Toy is shaped like a cake sliced into six pieces. There is a candle for each of the cake’s slice and an extra candle for the center
  • A sturdy hook-and-loop fastener connects the slices of cake and candles
  • Child can decorate the cake with several wooden toppings
  • Includes a wooden serving knife to pick and serve a slice of the cake
  • Made from wood and painted in colors that lend a realistic look to the cake

Cons

  • Fastener might come loose sometimes
  • Velcro might get dirty easily

14. Best For Developing Sorting Skills: Learning Resources Smart Snacks Shape Sorting Cupcakes

Learning Resources Smart Snacks

 

This colorful toy also doubles as a good developmental tool.

Pros

  • Toy cupcakes come arranged in a plastic pan that resembles a real baking pan
  • Icing on the cupcake is removable
  • Each icing section of the cupcake features a peg that fits into a specific base only
  • Base of the toy cupcake is brown while the icing is in various bright colors
  • Made from plastic that is durable and sturdy

Cons

  • Might have a slight chemical smell

15. Best Realistic: JaxoJoy 122-Piece Deluxe Pretend Play Food Set

JaxoJoy 122-Piece Deluxe

 

This toy food set is likely to cover nearly all of your child’s favorite foods.

Pros

  • The 122-piece set features a wide range of foods, including baked items, fast food, desserts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and canned food.
  • Can be segregated into fruits, vegetables, desserts, fast food, and canned food
  • Each piece of the toy food set is made from BPA-free plastic
  • Toys have a realistic color scheme

Cons

  • Needs to be washed before each use
  • May not be sturdy

What Are The Benefits Of Toy Foods?

Toy foods are replicas of food items such as vegetables, snacks, and beverages used for pretend play. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “playing and pretending allow your child to learn and grow” (1). Simple pretend-play like drinking from an empty cup is one of the activities recommended by the academy (2).

Pretend play using toy foods can help children understand various foods, create an interest in fruits and vegetables, and the benefits they offer; it also improves the child’s table manners and etiquette.

Pretend -play with toy foods can have its unique advantages. Therefore, you must choose the right toy food set for your child.

How To Pick Toy Foods For Kids?

When shopping for toy food products, consider the following points.

  1. An assortment pack is ideal. The more toy foods in a set, the more fun the child can have in their pretend play.
  1. Look for durable toys. Your kid is going to spend a lot of time in pretend play and toys made from durable wood or plastic will serve the purpose for long.
  1. Pick toy foods with interactive features such as veggies and fruits that can be fake-sliced into pieces with a hook-and-loop fastener.

Some of these toy sets may include small pieces of toys and have certain features that make them unsuitable for little kids.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Many children love to participate in preparing food but seldom get a chance. So to encourage pretend-play, our writer, Priti Bose, brings you a list of the best play food sets for kids. She has explored the product descriptions and user reviews of several items before sorting out the safe and kid-friendly options. Go through the buying guide to select the one your little one would love to play with.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What age is play foods best for?

Play food sets are ideal for most toddlers between the ages of two and five years.

2. Are play foods worth it?

Yes, they are great props for their pretend-play sessions. These toy sets can also inculcate in your child an interest in healthy foods at an early age, thus making them less fussy and picky about foods as they grow older.

3. Are play foods Montessori-based?

It depends on the play set you select. For instance, if a play set encourages independent hands-on learning in the form of segregating foods based on color, it could be considered Montessori-based in a broad sense.

4. When should children stop playing with play food sets?

It’s okay to stop playing with food toys by the age of five or six years, as this is when most children experience a gradual decline in food neophobia–fear of new foods (1).

Toy foods and play food sets allow the child to learn more about the meals they eat, where the food comes from, and the number of efforts that go into bringing the food to the table. These toys also help children learn important kitchen skills, kitchen safety measures, and table manners. Using toy knives, spoons and forks can improve your child’s fine motor skills and pincer grasp. Pick the best play food sets for kids from the aforementioned well-curated and elaborate list.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Playing is How Toddlers Learn; American Academy of Pediatrics
2. The Power of Play – How Fun and Games Help Children Thrive; American Academy of Pediatrics

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Priti Bose

Priti Bose is a poet, songwriter and blog writer. She did her masters in English, Public Relations and Advertising from Delhi University. Her creative skills and hunger for details make her do in-depth research on the topics she covers. For MomJunction, she writes on product analysis and reviews, especially for kids' products, toys and gifts. Before her association with MomJunction,...
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