The best toys for early speech and language development are those that create opportunities for language that is rich and meaningful in context. Look for toys, like a pretend play kitchen, that inspire children to request, show, share, role play, problem solve, ask for help and make plans.
You can also use the opportunity to focus on basic kitchen vocabulary including nouns (plate, cup, fork, knife, apple, bread, chicken, etc), verbs (cut, pour, wash, dry, stir, bake, freeze, etc), opposites (hot/cold, wet/dry, big/little, full/empty, etc.).
The imagination and creativity that a pretend play kitchen can inspire are endless. This toy can be transformed into a pizza place, a bake shop, a science lab, a juice bar, a dollhouse, etc.
When several children are playing at a kitchen together they need to work on turn taking skills. Older kids can role play-who is the cook? what is the recipe? who is serving?
Children can practice picking up small pieces of food (many kitchens come with accessories including food, utensils, and dishes, but you can buy them separately as well, see below) and then placing them onto plates or in cups. Some of the foods are meant to be "cut" through velcro with a plastic knife. Many kitchens have knobs that can be turned and buttons to be pressed too.
Talk to your child about different food groups and non-food groups. Sort the items in your kitchen. For example, all of the cutlery can go into one basket, the dishes can go into a cupboard. All of the fruits can go into the red bag and the vegetables can go into the green bag. Categorization is a skill all children need to have in order to expand their vocabularies and organize their thoughts to form logical sentences and make decisions.
Shop Some Of Our Favorite Pretend Play Kitchens + Accessories Below.