15 Best Play Food Sets For Kids In 2024, According To Educators

check_icon Research-backed

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 one of endless fun. This way, you don’t have to worry about them mistaking their dinner for a plaything.

Play foods keep little 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 parent-recommended and best-selling play food options that can spark children’s interest in the kitchen and teach them the fundamentals of cooking.

Top Picks

In This Article

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


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 15,146 independent reviewers on Amazon have acknowledged the product's durability and functionality.

Before your child helps you out with real cookie baking, let them practice their skills with this durable toy designed to stand the test of time. Not sure if this is the right game for you? Check out this review video to know more about this interactive play food set.

Item Weight: 1.46 pounds | Product Dimensions: 13.25 x 10.5 x 3.25 inches


  • Baking essentials play food 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
  • It includes kitchen accessories such as a knife, a spatula, and a baking glove
  • Cookies can be stored in a cardboard box that resembles a real cookie box/wrapper


  • Cookie tray might be slightly wide for the oven
  • Paint might peel off
protip_icon Do remember
Role-playing promotes imagination, creativity, and social and developmental skills (3).

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

Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Set Image: Learning Resources

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The 12,394 positive customer reviews on Amazon are a testament to its quality and reliability.

This plastic toy food set is a tried-and-trusted way to introduce your child to fruits and vegetables. Here’s a video by a reviewer demonstrating exactly how easy it is to use this healthy eating play food set every day.

Color: Multi-color | Material: Plastic | Product Dimensions: 13 x 10.1 x 5.8 inches | Weight: 2.65 Pounds


  • Fruits and vegetables in this set are sorted according to colors to boost color recognition skills
  • 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
  • Suitable for children over 18 months


  • Involves many small pieces
  • May have sharp edges

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

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product boasts 13,516 reviews on Amazon, and many buyers have said they would purchase the product again.

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

Batteries: 3 AA batteries required | Item Weight: 7.89 pounds | Product Dimensions: 17.72 x 15.98 x 8.9 inches


  • 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
  • Ideal birthday gift for toddlers above 24 months


  • 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
share button

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

Item Weight: 13 ounces | Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 2.5 x 16 inches


  • 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


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

Our Reviewer's Experience

"My daughter loves playing with this set, and I am regularly invited to her pretend dessert shop. I am pleased with the scoop function, but the ice cream cones seem slightly flimsy. Still, I feel it is a durable set that sparks creativity."

5. Best Pizza Toy:  Jogo Jogo Wooden Pizza Toy

Jogo Jogo Wooden Pizza Toy Image: Melissa & Doug

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

Item Weight: 1.81 pounds | Product Dimensions: 7.75 x 9.25 x 13.25 inches


  • 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


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

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Although on the heavier side, the thoughtful design, including Velcro attachments on the pieces, has made this toy pizza set simple for tiny hands to maneuver. It has also been durable enough to survive multiple falls."

protip_icon Quick fact
This toy may enhance your child’s speech and language skills as they pretend to take orders and deliver them. It also helps with basic math as they manage the cash.

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

Here’s a tried-and-tested toy pie that can store an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables. This variety play food set features vibrant colors and can keep your child engaged for hours.

Item Weight: 2.25 pounds | Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.4 x 3.7 inches


  • 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


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

"This vegetable sorting toy has helped my son work on his color recognition and counting skills. However, I had to laminate the paper components to enhance their durability. Nevertheless, the sturdy construction has kept the set going."

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

This plastic toy food set includes an assortment of fruits and vegetables and an adorable tote bag to carry the pretend groceries.

Item Weight: 0.8 ounces | Product Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 4.2 inches


  • Includes 16 plastic toy fruits and vegetables that aid in skill-building, each featuring realistic details and a color scheme.
  • The farmers market play food set is 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


  • Might have a slight chemical odor
  • Might be small
Our Reviewer's Experience

"The variety of realistic-looking produce in this set has made it easy for me to teach my little ones the names of fruits and vegetables. Plus, the included tote has been great for storing them."

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


These toy foods from the trusted brand Melisa & Doug 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 in this wooden play food set are divided into four food groups: fruits and vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy. Each of the four durable crates holds food pieces of a specific category.

Item Weight: 2.5 pounds | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 8.75 x 12.5 inches


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


  • Might be slightly heavy
  • Paint may get chipped

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Adding this wooden food set to my little one’s toy kitchen has made his playtime even more fun. Its pieces are very durable, and the size is perfect for his small hands. All in all, they have been a good alternative to the plastic versions."

protip_icon Did you know?
This toy can help teach your child about different foods and their importance in a well-balanced diet.

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

This 115-piece toy food set has everything, from carrots to cupcakes, to provide your child with endless fun and play possibilities.

Item Weight: 1.8 pounds | Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 2 inches


  • The group play food set comprises a wide variety of food items. Each food 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


  • Some pieces might be thinner and more bendable
Our Reviewer's Experience

"What I love the most about this set is it has improved my children's relationship with food. They learn a lot about different vegetables and fruits through imaginative play, which is a plus. The strong plastic makes it apt for little hands to play with. Some pieces have simpler colors, but the details make up for it. Recommended!"

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

Little Tikes Backyard Barbeque Grillin’ Goodies Image: Littletikes

Let your child have their very own barbecue within the safety of their room with this BBQ grill play food set.

Item Weight: 1.1 pounds | Product Dimensions: 12 x 10 x 3.5 inches


  • 20-piece culinary play food 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


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

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

Child bothering you when you prepare breakfast? Get them this breakfast-time play food and kitchen accessory set, and let them make their own breakfast toast every day.

Color: Gold | Material: Holz | Item Weight: 1.3 pounds | Product Dimensions: 7.09 x 3.15 x 4.41 inches


  • Includes a toy toaster and wooden food toys 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
  • The sandwich making play food set is made from high-quality wood and feature child-safe paints


  • Toaster does not automatically pop
  • Slices may get stuck

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

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

Item Weight: 5.64 pounds


  • Comes with seven toy fruits.
  • Each fruit is made from multiple sections stuck together with a hook-and-loop fastener.
  • Makes a suitable picnic basket play food set
  • 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 that wooden crate that doubles up as a storage basket
  • Fruits are made from wood and feature a realistic paint scheme


  • Wooden knife might not be as durable

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


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

Item Weight: 2.15 pounds | Product Dimensions: 11 x 12 x 2.8 inches


  • Toy is shaped like a cake sliced into six pieces. The birthday cake play food set also includes a candle for each of the cake slices 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 vibrant colors that lend a realistic look to the cake


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

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

This colorful dessert party play food set also doubles as a good tool for cognitive development.

Item Weight: 3.52 ounces | Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 3 inches


  • 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 vibrant colors
  • Made from plastic that is durable and sturdy


  • Might have a slight chemical smell
Our Reviewer's Experience

"My kids love to host tea parties and pretend bake sales with these cupcakes. The fun, bright colors have added to their charm and made the set my children's favorite."

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

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

This gourmet play food set is likely to cover nearly all of your child’s favorite foods and grocery items.

Item Weight: 1.21 pounds | Product Dimensions: 6.38 x 5.75 x 4.96 inches


  • The 122-piece grocery 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, making it the ideal birthday gift for kids
  • Tested to meet CPSIA and ASTM safety standards


  • Needs to be washed before each use
  • May not be sturdy
Our Reviewer's Experience

"This food set has brought much joy to my little ones, sparking their creativity in cooking and shopping games. It is a fantastic tool for learning sorting by color, size, and type of food. However, as it contains small items, supervision is important. It is great for imaginative playtimes; go for it."

What Are The Benefits Of Toy Foods?

Toy foods for kids are replicas of food and grocery 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 can also improve the children’s table manners and etiquette. These toys can also be used as props to introduce little ones to the basics of nutrition.

Heather Welch, mom, play advocate, educator, and developer of educational toys says, “Pretend play helps improve children’s language and social skills and sparks their creativity and imagination. With quality play food sets, they can pretend to be a chef, shopkeeper, farmer, cafe owner, host of a dinner party, and so much more. Make sure the toy is safe and devoid of tiny parts. You should also let them understand what is pretend food and what is real food.”

How To Choose The Right Toy Foods For Kids?

When shopping for toy food for kids, consider the following points to ease your selection process.

  1. A pack containing a wide variety of food items is ideal, especially if you plan to present it as a gift for your little one. 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 food for kids with interactive features, such as veggies and fruits that can be fake-sliced into pieces with a hook-and-loop fastener.

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).

Why Trust MomJunction?

Many children love to participate in preparing food but seldom get a chance. So to encourage pretend-play, our experienced writer and reviewer of children’s toys, 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.

The Bottom Line

Toy foods and play food sets allow children to learn more about the meals they eat, where the food comes from, and the effort that goes into bringing the food to the table. These toys also help children learn essential kitchen skills, kitchen safety measures, and table manners. Using toy knives, spoons, and forks can also improve your child’s fine motor skills and pincer grasp. You may choose the Melissa & Doug Slice-and-Bake Wooden Cookie Play Food to engage your children in pretend play, the LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart for its interactive features, and the Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit & Veggie Tote to introduce them to fruits and vegetables. Pick the best play food sets for kids from this elaborate and curated list.

Infographic: Tips For Choosing The Best Play Food Set For Your Child

Food sets are ideal for enhancing imaginative play, be it a toddler, preschooler, or older child. However, choosing a suitable one might be challenging while keeping your child’s interests and age in mind. So, consider the below infographic to learn more about the factors in detail.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Play Food Set (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version


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
3. The Importance of Role Play for Children’s Development of Socio-Emotional Competencies; Lumen Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences

Recommended Articles:  

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.