How The Best Play Kitchen Can Help Your Child Develop 9 Valuable Life Skills
Do you remember the wonderful adventures you used to go on when you were a child because of pretend play? You would let your imagination sweep you away for hours at a time, only coming back to reality when you wanted to. These days it’s the exact opposite and you’re stuck in reality on a full-time basis, but you shouldn’t forget how special pretend play was for one massive reason.
Pretend Play | Best Play Kitchen
Note: Our picks for the best play kitchens can be found in the 2nd half of the article.
The most important people in your life right now are your children, and you want to do everything in your power to make sure they grow into the best versions of themselves they could possibly be. Did you know pretend play is absolutely crucial in child development, which is why you’re such a fantastic person today? Let’s look at the real life skills they’ll develop and how pretend play will help them achieve each one.
- It will ignite their creativity
- They’ll learn how to cooperate
- Improve their leadership skills
- Become advanced in the art of strategy
- Learn to become more independent
- Enhanced language skills
- The ability to tell better stories
- Always able to be happy
- Random life skills
It Will Ignite Their Creativity
Nobody can deny being creative isn’t advantageous as you grow older, and it isn’t only related to the arts. Being creative means you can write your own music and build unique smartphone apps, but even having the ability to use your initiative when trying to solve everyday problems will help you go far in life. Without creativity, you are left copying everyone else in all walks of life
There are an unlimited number of scenarios your child could come up with during pretend play. If they enjoy cooking rather than being the captain of a pirate ship they could use a play kitchen often, but they’ll still come up with thousands of different things to do with it. Watch your child as they play and you’ll notice they never repeat the exact same thing twice because they always think of new ideas.
They’ll Learn How To Cooperate
Do you know what is said the most when a potential job applicant is asked what their best quality is? They say they’re great at teamwork, which is mostly because they think it’s what the interviewer wants to hear. Teamwork is absolutely crucial in the workplace, and you will never get anywhere if you don’t learn how to cooperate with people. It’s usually why certain individuals don’t have any friends.
Not only will pretend play mean your child will make lots of friends, but they’ll do this by learning how to cooperate with the other children. When you make up stories you can’t decide what happens all the time if you’re playing with other people so you have to learn how to share responsibilities, and also follow along with something even if you would normally do it differently.
Improve Their Leadership Skills
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum your child will learn how to become a leader, and although you hear people talking about natural-born leaders it’s a myth. Learning how to lead people is a skill you must acquire through practice just like anything else, and it happens to be an important one in daily life. You will never make it to the top if you don’t know how to lead people.
Throughout history a number of great leaders have honed their skills on the battlefield, but is a real war any different from one concocted in the mind of a child? The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between the real world and an imaginary one, so whenever your child is helping people and telling them what to do they’re subconsciously developing the ability to lead people.
Become Advanced In The Art Of Strategy
While we’re on the subject of battlefields, let’s talk a little about the art of strategy. To be more specific, how does being great at planning things help in the real world? If someone is always unorganized it’s safe to assume their life is a complete mess. If you don’t have any planning skills you’ll run into disasters like getting into debt due to your finances spinning out of control.
Your child might end up pretending they’re working at a bank or organizing a trip into outer space, but if you look at it more deeply it’s hard to pretend play without planning out what you’re going to do in advance. Once they know how to think things through logically before acting it will stay with them for life as it will be ingrained in their little mind.
Learn To Become More Independent
The world is a rough place, as I’m sure you know only too well. When your child is ready to leave the nest you will be scared stiff if they’re too dependent on you. Everyone in the world needs to be capable of being independent so they don’t need to rely on anyone but themselves. If you’re independent you are a fighter who will do anything to survive in any tough situation.
When your child is still young they cling to you. As they get older they still scream when you leave them on their own. Once your child starts to pretend play you cease to exist, and they visit other worlds where they have to deal with things on their own. Without pretend play a child doesn’t have other options to be independent until they’re much older, so you must make sure they grab it with both hands.
Enhanced Language Skills
Too many people have a small vocabulary because they don’t go anywhere. They do the same things and speak to the same people every day. You’ll often hear certain individuals referred to as ‘worldly,’ and it might not have anything to do with how many countries they’ve set foot in. They’re deemed to be higher up on the social ladder, and it’s because they have enhanced language skills.
Pretend play will give children a huge vocabulary as they’ll have to find ways to explain the different galaxies they visit, the dishes they cook from food sources yet to be invented, and the imaginary people all unlike anyone they’ve spoken to before. On top of that, they’ll also learn how to communicate with other kids and their social skills will increase quicker than others the same age.
The Ability To Tell Better Stories
Whether you’re a marketer selling a product or a politician running for office, your ability to tell great stories is what will hook people in so they’ll listen to you. Our whole life revolves around telling stories, even when it comes to courting someone or standing out when in an interview. Being able to sell yourself, which is done best through stories, will let you go anywhere in life.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes. The only thing running through their head while they pretend play is stories. They’ll always be trying to come up with better ones, not because they understand child development but so they can have more fun. The fact they’re teaching their brain a valuable life skill is something they’ll only reap the true rewards of as they get older.
Always Able To Be Happy
We’re going through a bit of an epidemic at the moment when it comes to issues like depression. Could more people be suffering from the mental illness because they live their life in a state of anxiety as they wait for their next text message to arrive? If you know how to make yourself happy even when you have nothing to do, you’re far less susceptible to falling into a state of mild depression.
This is where young children really excel during their pretend play sessions. They could easily have a great time if they were locked in an empty room. They will also be able to use any objects available to help amuse themselves. Somewhere down the line every adult loses this ability they once had, but if your child can develop it in the first place they’ll always be able to get it back.
Random Life Skills
We’ll throw this one in at the end because pretend play does help develop random life skills. Do you know what people get taught when they join the military? Basic things they need to use to look after themselves, such as ironing and folding clothes, using a washing machine, and cooking food. The majority of society lack these basic skills anyone should have in order to live like an adult.
Your child can learn them accidentally when they’re pretending to pack their suitcase for a holiday, if they wash all their dirty laundry, or if they cook a nice meal. Although I’ve only used a few examples, pretend play will help them develop tons of these random life skills. If you want an even more detailed example of how they’ll pick things up, let’s look at the best play kitchens they could use.
The Best Play Kitchen For Your Child
Even though your child would be able to amuse themselves in an empty room, props are much more fun and they need toys. A great way to get get the benefits we’ve talked about is using a play kitchen, and we’re going to discuss a few of the ones they’ll appreciate the most.
- Plenty of room for multi-child play, including an attached dining area, “stainless steel” refrigerator and toy kitchen appliances that will keep kids busy for hours.
- Three realistic electronic features: grill, stove top and phone.
- Large toy sink has a swivel faucet with push button for preschoolers to pretend wash the play dishes, play food, and even their hands.
- 103-pc. accessory set included (colors of accessories and play food may vary).
- Requires two “AA” and four “AAA” batteries (not included).
- Adult assembly required.
If you want your child to experience a kitchen similar to your one, this is the best play kitchen to get by far. It’s so big there is a roof on top and it would put tiny New York apartment kitchens to shame. To help with your child’s pretend play adventures they will have access to 103 accessories, and it will work really well at helping them become a master organizer.
The dining area attached to their kitchen will allow them to invite you for some pretend food, and if you can’t finish it they’ll learn how to save leftovers using the fridge with an actual stainless steel door. They will also have the chance to keep additional things in their kitchen, as there are lots of storage areas scattered around waiting to be filled up.
- Recommended age: 2 and up
- Dimensions: 47″ h — 50.75″ w — 36.38″ d
- Weight: 50 lbs
- Large enough that multiple children can play at once
- Refrigerator, freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher doors all open and close
- Chalkboard surface on the freezer
- Innovative speckled counter-top design
- Convenient storage space above the sink
- Made of composite wood products
- Packaged with detailed, step-by-step assembly instructions
One of the coolest features built into this kitchen is the chalkboard sitting on the outside of the freezer. Maybe your child will start writing shopping lists so they know what to buy when you visit the supermarket. None of the other kitchens allow your child to write anything down, which is weird because it’s a simple feature that will expand the amount of ideas they come up with during their pretend play time.
All of the main features built into the kitchen open and close, so you know it won’t be long before they learn to close doors instead of leaving them open. There is a towel rack on the side of the kitchen and hopefully their imagination reminds them to clean up after they’ve made a mess. Pegs also allow them to find other things to hang from their play kitchen.
- Doors open and close, knobs click and turn.
- Additional storage space above and below the sink.
- Five-piece metal accessory set, for cooking up all sorts of special fun.
- Removable, easy-to-clean sink.
- Includes: Microwave, oven, cordless phone.
- Smart, sturdy construction.
- Made of composite wood products.
- Packaged with detailed, step-by-step assembly instructions.
The Vintage model is actually almost identical to the Uptown Espresso model, so if you’re going to decide between them it might come down to which one looks the best. This one still has the pretend kitchen phone they can call people on, which is a perfect example of an accessory they can use to expand their vocabulary. Let’s see if they decide to start taking orders from customers before you try to order something.
During pretend play children do have a habit of making a mess all over the place, and if you need to help them clean up you can pull the sink out to give it a good scrub. It’s good to know because you can’t even begin to imagine the amount of concoctions they’ll come up with in there. Although the kitchen isn’t huge, there is room for more than one child.
- Kitchen has 2 age grade configurations:
- Kitchen is expanded and the height is just right for toddlers
- Compacting the kitchen makes it just right for preschoolers
- Electronic cooking sounds.
- Hooks for hanging cups.
- Molded in slots to hold plates.
- Oven, refrigerator and microwave doors all open and close.
- Shape-sorting lid for pot helps develop fine motor skills
- 25 accessories included.
- Requires 2 “AA” alkaline batteries (not included).
- Assembly Required.
This is definitely the best play kitchen for really young children if you want their pretend play life to start early, because it’s a little less complicated than the others and it’s lower to the ground. It will still last for a while because the height is adjustable. One thing that helps your child let their imagination loose is the electronic noises they’ll hear, because it will sound like things are actually happening when they’re cooking food.
They’ll learn how to keep their food fresh using a refrigerator, how to make quick snacks by throwing them in the microwave, and the oven works too if they’re looking to cook something a little fancier. Even though it’s only small they’ve still found space to add accessories like hooks, so there are enough things on it for your child to keep coming up with inventive things to do.
Kids will love this. As they grow, they can continue to fumble around and have some fun. Also, you won’t have to buy a new one next year.
- Dishwasher, oven, microwave, refrigerator and freezer doors all open and close
- Cloth curtains behind the sink
- 4 metal accessories – a pot, a pan and two spatulas
- Removable sink for quick and easy cleaning
- Large enough that multiple children can play at once
As you might have already worked out by the name, the Grand Gourmet Corner Kitchen is the only one that will fit nicely in the corner of any room due to its shape. This feature means it’s a little bigger than the other KidKraft kitchens. Your child won’t have to pretend they’re using real pots and pans, because it does come with real metal accessories to make their imaginary scenarios more realistic.
The size and layout of the kitchen means a couple of children will be able to use it together easily without bumping into each other, so even though it’s not as big as the Step2 model your child will still be able to improve their leadership and cooperation skills. It’s so real even the knobs will click when you turn them on, so they’ll know how to use a real kitchen before they’re tall enough to reach the main kitchen in your home.
So, What’s the Best Play Kitchen for Your Child?
I hope these kitchens have helped you remember how much fun you used to have with pretend play when you were a child. It certainly went a long way to helping you become the person you are today, so if you want your child to gain all of the benefits we talked about earlier by developing their mind more than ever before, please do everything you can to encourage them to use their imagination as often as possible and they’ll reap the rewards when they grow up.