As a parent, I really like toys that encourage imaginary play. It is believed to excite children and help cultivate their wits and inventive juices. While I have been guilty of using TV as a babysitter before many other parents, it is important to understand the significance of keeping our children’s minds challenged and engaged whenever possible. A favorite toy that helps increase a child’s artistic and innovative side is a play kitchen. But is there a more appropriate age for a child to start exploring the idea of cooking and / or is there an age when the child will no longer recognize the value of a play kitchen?
As with anything, there is never a hard and fast rule when it comes to the development of our children. Still, it was a question I wanted to address because I often come across a similar request on various forums and blogs. Quite often people wonder if their baby might be too young to play with a toy kitchen, but sometimes people ask if their baby might be too old to appreciate such a gift.
So you may be wondering, what is the best age for play kitchens and what are the reasons behind this answer? It can be concluded that the ideal age to fully use and appreciate a toy kitchen is between two and a half and five and a half years. Buying a play kitchen for your child under the age of two is definitely a prerogative but don’t expect there to be much awareness until he is closer to two and a half. Imaginary play is a concept that is developed in children over the age of two and younger children are simply not cognitively ready to grasp this pretend play idea. While they may be fascinated by all the bells and whistles, they literally won’t connect with the imaginative power of a play kitchen until they’re a little bigger.
Okay, but what about kids over the age of five; would they have an attraction for such a toy? At this age, expect them to be more drawn to the idea of cooking with real food. They are ready to experiment with genuine ingredients while creating their own masterpiece. In conclusion, it seems logical that the ideal age to truly appreciate a play kitchen and benefit from imaginary play is between two and five; a limited window perhaps but still a great tool.
As I said, all kids are different and some might actually enjoy a toy kitchen outside of the ages I’ve listed, but for the most part, I think, as a parent you’ll be happier with your purchase if you stick to these guidelines.
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