20 Best Play Food Sets Reviewed in 2018

One of the most interesting gifts you can ever give to kids are play food sets. Not only are these helpful in fostering color and shape recognition as well as tactile stimulation, they also provide a very important benefit of introducing kids to the different foods available today. While these are not necessarily edible, giving them the chance to play with these, especially if they already have their own kitchen play sets, can help build appreciation and better understanding of balanced nutrition.

However, as there are literally tens of thousands of play food sets in toy stores, both online and offline, choosing the best one for the age and developmental stage of your child may be challenging. As such, you need help in streamlining the number of toys to choose from.

Now we are proud to present to you our list of the play food sets we guarantee your kids will definitely want this 2018.

Last Updated: June 4, 2018
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This page was recently updated to best reflect the most current, accurate and pertinent information about all products. We specifically researched every product and updated the information for each on our list. We made sure all products are still available at time of update and that they are still of the highest rated and best reviewed products available today.

Our Top 3 Picks

Melissa & Doug Food Groups
  • Melissa & Doug Food Groups
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Healthy Pretend Play
  • Price: See Here
Learning Resources Fruit & Veggie
  • Learning Resources Fruit & Veggie
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Speech Development
  • Price: See Here
Learning Resources New Sprouts
  • Learning Resources New Sprouts
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 20-Piece Set
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used In Evaluation of The Best Play Food Sets


Young kids learn best through play. Our list that we provided above will help kids develop lifelong skills in a variety of ways. While playing with these toy food sets kids will learn the the names of common food items and the food groups they belong in. Kids will also learn about the importance of properly preparing food and serving it to others. The cutting utensils will help kids to develop fine motor skills and pay attention to detail as they safely and properly slice various fruits and vegetables. In addition to that, kids will learn about the names of colors, counting and sorting as well as organizing and storing food.

Gender neutral

One of the best things about our list of play food sets is that they are all unisex, or gender neutral. All kids can enjoy playing with these sets whether they are a boy or a girl. There used to be a stigma that cooking in the kitchen was reserved only for girls and that grilling was only for boys. However, that’s not what real life today entails. Through these gender neutral toys, both, girls and boys can do and enjoy the same things. This is great for parents who have kids of different genders to teach them how to share and play together.


It’s tough to find play food sets that aren’t made of flimsy, thin plastic. But through our research, we did just that as we compiled our list of the 20 best play food sets for kids. It’s an important to for kids to have toys that are made to last. Our list includes timeless wooden toys are designed to stand up against frequent use. The plastic toys on our list are crush-resistant as they are made with hard, durable plastic to ensure years of imaginative, physical and social play to come.

How We Came Up with Our Most Popular List

Understanding the predicament of every parent has been our primary motivation for performing a very exhaustive research into the best play food sets available today. It is very important that we take into consideration the safety of the materials used in the manufacture of such toys. They must be free from lead, phthalate, BPA, and other harmful chemicals. Additionally, the design must be appropriate to the developmental age of children. For example, older kids will require more realistic play food items while younger children will need safer and more rounded play foods because of safety considerations. We also had to consider what other parents and consumers have to say about these play food sets. We want to provide you with a list of toys that have been fully accepted and duly recommended by fellow parents. Lastly, we also had to look at the trustworthiness of the toy maker. This is crucial because a company with a good manufacturing practices certification will clearly be a lot better choice than one that doesn’t have any certification at all. Recipients of specific toy design awards are also counted.

Children and the Value of Play Food Sets

One of the most challenging aspects of child-rearing is getting young children to have exhibit appreciation for a wide variety of foods especially fruits and vegetables. This is where play food sets can help parents by providing kids with the right tools to simulate the planning of meals, the preparation of food, the cooking of dishes, and the organization and setting up of the table. While it is understandable that younger kids will still not be able to really appreciate the concept of good nutrition, older kids will learn about adhering to the different food groups. When played together with other children, it can help foster healthier eating habits by conforming to the rules set by the peer group.

For younger children, the bright colors of the play food sets can help enhance mastery of the different hues. They will also be able to reinforce their mastery of different colors and shapes through the play food items that they are provided. In some types of toys where the food items form part of a puzzle, these help develop early problem solving skills particularly the convergent type.

However, as older kids can play with the play food sets in an open-ended manner, their divergent problem solving skills as well as counterfactual reasoning skills can be developed an/or enhanced. This type of problem solving skill makes use of more complex cognitive processes that are essential building blocks to more complicated experimentation, scientific problem solving, and logic and critical thinking. Playing in an open-ended manner helps facilitate the formation of what-if phenomenon which can help enhance children’s ability for prediction.

On the physical side of child development, picking up the different types of play foods require control of smaller groups of muscles. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and spatial intelligence. For older kids, playing with these foods on a make-believe kitchen can help strengthen leg and arm muscles as kids will have to make use of larger groups of muscles to move about and cook and prepare their make-believe dishes.

Regardless of age, the mere fact that play food sets help children act out their fantasies can help in their emotional development. This can become the basis for the development of a healthier self-concept, boosting their self-confidence, and help establish more trusting relationships with their parents, their siblings, their friends, and other persons in their lives.

Play food sets are clearly one of the best gifts you can ever give a child. With our list of the 20 best play food sets for kids, we are confident that your kid will love you more when you give them one or all of these toys in our list.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are these toys BPA-Free?

A: Through our research we discovered that yes, the majority of the items in the food sets are BPA-Free. BPA, or Bisphenol A is harsh chemical that is used in epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics. BPA can have a negative effect on our health. With BPA-Free toys you can rest in knowing that your kid isn’t playing with toys made of toxic, harsh chemicals such as lead and phthalate. It’s always important to check with the toy manufacturer to find out what type of materials the toys are made of.

Q: Are these toys washable?

A: Yes, all of these toys are easily washable. For the plastic toys, to wash them, we recommend that you take the following steps:
Start by spraying them down with your favorite eco friendly cleaner and wiping them off with a hand towel to remove all dirt and debris.
Fill your sink or a bucket up with a warm soapy solution to allow the toys to soak for a few minutes.
Afterwards, scrub them gently to sanitize them well.
Lastly, rinse and air dry.

Q: How should I clean and sanitize the wooden toys?

A: For wooden toys, you should not let them soak for the fact that it may cause water damage. To remove dirt and debris from the toys, lightly spray them with your favorite eco friendly cleaner, and gently wipe them down. To properly sanitize them:
Allow a wash cloth soak in a warm soapy solution.
Ring the wash cloth out and gently scrub the wooden toy.
Use a separate wash cloth to rinse any remaining soap off and allow to dry.

Q: Are the toys appropriate to use in a childcare center?

A: Yes, the food sets listed above are appropriate to use in a childcare center. They are safe, durable and very educational. Kids in childcare centers will enjoy these fun toys and can use them as supplements to go along with lessons such as math, reading and culinary arts. They can also just use these toys to have lots of fun, as they promote imaginative, physical and social play. The food sets on our list will also encourage kids to share with others.

Q: Are the cutting toys magnetic?

A: No, the cutting toys are not magnetic. However, they are easy to stick together and take apart as Velcro is glued onto the pieces. The Ice Cream Scoop Set by Melissa and Doug is the only magnetic toy set on our list.

Q: Are these toys safe for outdoor use?

A: Yes, these toys are safe for to play with outdoors. The food sets on our 20 best play food sets for kids list are all crush-resistant and durably made. However, we don’t recommend leaving the toys outdoors for a long period of time as the vibrant colors may become faded from the heat of the sun. In addition to that, the wooden toys may become ruined if left out in the rain for an extended amount of time.


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