Play Kitchen Buying Guide

Play Kitchen Buying Guide

At first glance, a play kitchen may seem like nothing more than a toy. In reality, though, it can teach children many important skills and lessons. While using play kitchens, kids’ imaginations run wild. At the same time, they learn how to get along with others and strengthen many other key skills. Without a doubt, a play kitchen is a great addition to any home where children live.

No matter what kind of play kitchen is used, kids learn a lot about sharing while playing with one. When a child has a play kitchen, other kids will want to play with it too. Whether they are siblings, cousins, or friends, everyone will have to share in order to have a good time. This may be tricky when very small children are involved, but each interaction strengthens the sharing skills that will come in handy in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond.

2. How to Get Along with Others
While sharing a play kitchen, a child will also learn how to get along with others. Parents should encourage children to invite friends over to play. By being exposed to as many different children as possible, a child will learn how to deal with different types of people. This skill will be useful throughout a child’s life, and the earlier it is developed, the better. Whether a child plays with one friend or several, the seemingly simple interactions that take place around a play kitchen will teach a child a lot about getting along with others.

3. How to Work as a Team
Children love to play make believe while gathered around a play kitchen. In some cases, they will all have to work together to make the game work. For example, if they want to pretend to do the dishes, one child will have to wash the dishes while another dries them. Similarly, pretending to prepare a meal will involve a lot of teamwork as well. While watching children play these kinds of games, parents should use positive reinforcement to promote the benefits of teamwork.

4. How to Keep Things Organized
Attempting to explain the importance of organization to a child can be a losing battle. A play kitchen can be used to clearly demonstrate why it is so smart to stay organized. There are many play kitchen accessories on the market today. From toy foods to toy utensils, it’s easy to end up with a huge array. If kids don’t keep them neat and tidy, they won’t be able to find what they need. When a child is unable to find a play kitchen accessory, parents should offer gentle reminders about the importance of keeping things nice and organized. Over time, these lessons will pay off well.

5. How to Clean
Although a play kitchen isn’t going to get as messy as a real kitchen, it will require a thorough cleaning from time to time. Children can’t and shouldn’t use regular household cleaners, but mild dish soap and warm water are perfectly fine. Fill a bucket with warm, sudsy water and have children use sponges and cloths to wipe down the play kitchen. After thoroughly rinsing out an old spray bottle, fill it with water and allow children to use it to clean the play kitchen too. This will make kids feel like real adults, and it will teach them important cleaning skills as well.

6. How to Take Care of Belongings
For most kids, a play kitchen is a prized possession. Right from the start, explain the importance of taking good care of treasured belongings. Tell children to treat the play kitchen gently. If the rules are broken and something is damaged, it will serve as a powerful lesson about the importance of taking good care of belongings. Cleaning and tidying up a play kitchen is a crucial part of taking care of it, so make sure to emphasize the importance of each as well. When the play kitchen continues to look great after a long time, the kids will have a clear example of why it pays to take care of things.

7. How to Take Turns
Taking turns isn’t easy for small children. As kids get older, they get better and better at it. A play kitchen can help small kids develop this skill at much younger ages. When more than one child wants to play with the fridge, sink, or stove, they will have to take turns. Rules should be implemented to encourage children to take turns. If kids are unable to take turns and play nicely with their play kitchen, parents should forbid them from playing with it until they are able to do so.

8. How to Be in Charge
Example of how a child can be in charge while using a play kitchen is by taking the lead during games. In most cases, one child is in charge of deciding who will do what, and this is a great opportunity for kids to learn key leadership skills.

9. How to Count
Even if a child already knows how to count, he can hone this skill with a play kitchen. These may seem like small, inconsequential things, but they can really reinforce a child’s math skills and visibly demonstrate how useful math can be.

10. How to Identify Different Objects
Young kids are often unable to identify basic foods, colors, and other objects. Parents should occasionally play alongside their children while they are using play kitchens. From time to time, point to a toy food or another object and ask what it is. In addition to helping kids learn how to identify objects, this helps them build stronger vocabularies too.

Finding Play Kitchens on ToysMomsLike.com
There is a huge selection of Play Kitchens on http://toysmomslike.com, so finding the perfect option is easy. ToysmomsLike.com also sells Dishes & Tea Sets which are a great accessories for a play kitchen. Pay attention to size information to ensure that the play kitchen will fit in the rec room or other part of the house. All ordered placed on Toysmomslike.com is Fullfilled by Amazon.com so you will never have to worry about ON-TIME DELIVERY.

4 Reasons to Buy a Play Kitchen

Reasons to Buy a Play Kitchen

1. The Benefits of Pretend Play
Child development specialists have long understood the benefits of pretend play, which requires children to use their imaginations to develop and act out stories. One of the major benefits of pretend play is social interaction.

Children learn to communicate because they have to express different ideas while playing the role of a parent or chef. Kids also have to participate in conversations with other children if they play at the same kitchen. Another benefit is that it gets children active. Using a play kitchen requires standing up, moving around, bending over to use the oven, and lots of various motor skills.

Finally, children benefit mentally. Imagination and problem-solving are integral parts of playing with a pretend kitchen. There are many imaginative scenarios that children invent using pretend food and kitchens.

2. A Sense of Ownership
Children understand that their surroundings are controlled by their parents. A play kitchen allows a child to have a sense of ownership. While the real kitchen may be off limits, the play kitchen provides the child free reign. Children who have opportunities early in life to own and take care of things tend to grasp the importance of responsibility at an earlier age.

3. Versatility
Children have many uses for play kitchens. Many people do not know that boys are just as likely as girls to use and benefit from play kitchens. Unfortunately, many boys do not get the opportunity to use play kitchens as many consider it to be more of a feminine toy. Boys and girls both love to play house, but they also love to pretend that they own a restaurant or work at the grocery store.

4. Affordability
Play kitchens are affordable at any price range. Of course, more expensive kitchens tend to have more features and last longer than cheaper kitchens, but any family can find a play kitchen within their budget.

Finding Play Kitchens on ToysMomsLike.com
There is a huge selection of Play Kitchens on http://toysmomslike.com, so finding the perfect option is easy. ToysmomsLike.com also sells Dishes & Tea Sets which are a great accessories for a play kitchen. Pay attention to size information to ensure that the play kitchen will fit in the rec room or other part of the house. All ordered placed on Toysmomslike.com is Fullfilled by Amazon.com so you will never have to worry about ON-TIME DELIVERY.

Grocery Items for a Pretend Play Kitchen Set

Grocery Items for a Pretend Play Kitchen Set

Stock up the play kitchen pantry with produce, dairy, dry goods, and meat items. From plastic fruit to wooden eggs, there are many options for children’s pretend food.

Encourage motor skills with a toy cutting board set, which features a dull knife that “slices” through fruits and vegetables whose halves are connected with Velcro or magnet closures, or teach children how to prepare food with stackable sandwich kits and pizza play sets.

An easy way to quickly collect grocery items for a pretend kitchen is to purchase a toy shopping cart. Many play shopping carts come with food items stacked inside of them, so children can get busy organizing their pantries right away.

A shopping cart gives children a place to store excess food items and adds dimension to kitchen play by teaching children that they must first gather food to prepare.

Finding Play Kitchens on ToysMomsLike.com
There is a huge selection of Play Kitchens onhttp://toysmomslike.com, so finding the perfect option is easy. ToysmomsLike.com also sells Dishes & Tea Sets which are a great accessories for a play kitchen. Pay attention to size information to ensure that the play kitchen will fit in the rec room or other part of the house. All ordered placed on Toysmomslike.com is Fullfilled by Amazon.com so you will never have to worry about ON-TIME DELIVERY.

Toys for Kids who interact very little with other people

Little-Tikes-DiscoverSounds-Kitchen-0

Is your child with autism visually oriented? If so think about interesting visual toys. Motion lamps, liquid timers, and tops often please these kids. Does your child seek to touch lots of things? If so think about toys that are tactile. Good tactile toys for children with autism must be durable and interesting to touch. Some popular choices include massaging pillows, fidgets, and fabric items with lots of textures like the sensory pillow or textured squares.

Cause and Effect Toys: Children who interact very little with other people can benefit from cause and effect toys. These toys teach that our actions can cause something in the environment to change. They also work well for introducing the idea of turn taking and can create opportunities for positive interactions with autistic children and their family.

Developmental Ability
It may be appropriate to give toys that are at a younger developmental age. Some children may be in grade school, but have developmental skills at a preschool level. – A child who is beginning to notice their peers will do better with simple turn taking board games.

Toys Can Help with Social Skills and Language
Children learn through play. Play is essential for teaching social skills and language. We offer a wide selection of social skills games that are fun to play and can help develop this vital skill.

We hope these tips have been helpful for you. If you have any questions about choosing a gift for your autistic child feel free to contact us!

Toys for Your Speech Delayed Child

speechdelayedchild

The truth is that less is more. Your child does NOT need toys upon toys! In fact, too many toys can actually be a big negative. Believe it or not, children can get overwhelmed with too many toys and can end up moving quickly from one toy to another which can actually limit their play (and language) opportunities overall.

Pick Open Ended Toys

What are open ended toys? They are toys that have no beginning, middle or end. They can be used in a variety of ways and allow your child creative freedom in how to manipulate and use them. These toys tend to be the more basic and traditional toys. Which is NEXT on my list!

Go Back to the Basics: Pick Traditional Toys

As mentioned above, the more traditional toys also tend to be more open ended in nature. Here are some examples of open ended, basic traditional toys:

  • Wooden blocks
  • Legos
  • Cars, trucks, transportation toys (they do NOT need to make noise! That is what your child is for. Take the batteries out!)
  • Simple train tracks and trains (we have  wooden set with NO batteries. However, I do have a plastic set WITH and without  batteries to use with clients. Let’s be honest..it *is* fun to watch the trains go around the track sometimes!)
  • Play kitchen and play food
  • Farm Set (no noisy ones!) or other animal sets that suit your child’s interests (dinosaurs for example)
  • Doll House
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Play Dough
  • Dress up clothes
  • Tool Set
  • Tea Set
  • Baby doll/baby blanket

Skip The “ABCs and 123’s”

On the subject of going back to basics…Go take a walk through Target or any big chain store’s toy department. There is this aisle (ok, several sometimes) with shelves stacked high with toys that say things like “Teaches the ABCs!” “Educational!” “Teaches Colors and Numbers!” and on and on.

Use Toys That get Them Moving

It is so important to get your kids moving! Even when indoors. Making forts and tunnelsare great ways to keep them moving indoors, without actually having to *buy* specific “toys” for that purpose. We also have some ride-on toys that we allow in the house (we have tile/hardwood floors) that keep our children moving as well as balls (yes, even inside).

Don’t Forget to Get Outside

You don’t have to *buy* outdoor toys. Heading to the park is great and FREE! But sometimes you don’t have a park near by or it is difficult to get you and the kids there…so here are some of my favorite outdoor toys:

  • Water table (A big bucket will do, or a small pool)
  • Buckets, cups, spoons (again, these can just be from your kitchen…tupperware works well!)
  • Small shovel/hoe for digging
  • Ride on toys
  • Play house– This one is a bigger purchase. We have one and it can provide HOURS of independent, creative play!

 

Choosing the Right Pretend Play Set by Gender

Pretend Play Set by Gender

Play kitchens seem a natural gift option for female children, but they are perfectly suited to males as well. Boys enjoy cooking up fun just as much as girls, and because so many successful chefs are men, parents and educators may wish to encourage imaginative kitchen playtime for boys as well.

Several manufacturers offer pretend kitchen play sets that fit both boys and girls. Some feature bold primary colors, and others are painted blue, black, or gray for a more masculine look.

A family wanting a pretty kitchen in which their princess can bake up royal treats will find no shortage of girlish play kitchens. Several options in shades of pink, purple, and red make finding a female-specific kitchen play set simple. However, neutral patterns are also available.

These are perfect for families who have several children of separate genders who would enjoy playing with a kitchen.

Many colors and patterns have a gender assignment that children recognize very early in their lives, so selecting a white, yellow, or brown kitchen may effectively eliminate the stigma that sometimes accompanies playing with a “girls’ toy” or a “boys’ toy.”

Finding Play Kitchens on ToysMomsLike.com

There is a huge selection of Play Kitchens on http://toysmomslike.com, so finding the perfect option is easy. ToysmomsLike.com also sells Dishes & Tea Sets which are a great accessories for a play kitchen. Pay attention to size information to ensure that the play kitchen will fit in the rec room or other part of the house. All ordered placed on Toysmomslike.com is Fullfilled by Amazon.com so you will never have to worry about ON-TIME DELIVERY.

Making smart Toy choices.

Toys

We hear it all the time, toys for my child are SO EXPENSIVE! And yep! They can be. But we’re here to help. Here are our top tips for making sure your toy choices are spot on.

Does you child love things similar to what you’re getting them? 
We mean are you about to spend $500 on an outdoor cubby house, but your child has never really enjoyed them when you’ve been at a park, play ground or if a friend has one? Then STOP! What does your child LIKE? And we don’t mean what do YOU like. Do they love playing with nuts and bolts? Then yes, invest in a lovely big work bench for them. Do they love playing dress up? No? Then don’t worry about that total doctors set, and see if they like a smaller kit maybe.

Take care of your toys! 
Don’t leave them in the rain, or the sun. Teach your child to respect their things (and your money) by making the pack away after playing. Put things away, keep them clean and they will last longer.

Ask them. 
If your little one is old enough to answer you properly, ask them their opinion. Show them a photo of a few puzzles and say which do you like. Or ask them if they’d prefer new stompers or maybe a sand pit set rather than assuming.

Quality, not quantity.
Don’t buy heaps of $2 toys that will break and cause disappointment. Spend your money wisely. Find toys that are high quality, will last and that little hands can’t destroy straight away.

Give them a range of toys. 
Have heaps of puzzles but no dolls? What about all the toy cars you have, but no art and craft supplies? Do you seem to trip over building blocks, but couldn’t find a sensory game in your house if you tried? Give your child something new (while remembering to take note of their interests) so they start to develop a range of skills.

 

Getting Your Child To Use Their Imagination

PretendPlay

Every small child loves to play. “Playing Pretend”, or role playing, can not only be educational, but also one of the cheapest games a child can play. Creative play such as role playing can not only teach your child about the world, but can also teach you a lot about your child.

What Are the Benefits of Role Playing With Your Child?

1. Playing with your child allows you to better understand your child. Sure, you may always be playing the same thing, but this also can give you insight into how your child thinks and what he or she is feeling. If your child is going through a stressful situation (such as a divorce, a new baby, a death, a move, etc.), pretending may give you insights into how to help your child cope with change. Children rarely “pretend themselves” into stressful situations they have no control over.

2. Role Playing games give your child opportunities for mental growth and learning. Children can experiment and explore new ideas and new ways of thinking in a safe environment that can be ended at any time.

3. Pretending builds problem-solving skills. While role playing, children can be placed into safe situations that require them to make choices and decisions. When you are playing right next to them, they know they are safe. Many parents, teachers, and law-enforcement agencies encourage you to role-play more dangerous situations to teach your children how to react (Stranger Danger).

4. Role playing encourages self-expression and helps them cope with their feelings. For the most part, try to allow your child to determine what goes on during play. Allow them to be the directors and script writers.

5. Pretending fosters their imagination. Television and video games rob children of imagination and independent thinking. Imagination helps us set goals and gives us the hope needed to achieve them.

You and your child can come up with many more ideas for creative play than just the five mentioned. If there is a certain event about which you would like to tell your child (such as Mommy and Daddy’s upcoming split, stranger danger, the new baby, the passing of a pet, etc.), why not use this method? You may learn something you didn’t know through your children’s self expression, plus you involve them in the problem solving. Above all, your child will treasure the time you spend with him or her.

Boys and their #Toys

Toys for Boys

Stumped for ideas on what toys to get for your own preschool-age boy or a friend? We’ve rounded up the best toys for three- and four-year-old boys. From blocks to bulldozers and puzzles to pirates, you’ll find it all right here.

Vehicles

Toys like cars, trucks and trains are extremely popular with the preschool set. Fire trucks, dump trucks, airplanes and construction vehicles will get snatched up immediately for some serious play. Train sets and tracks help kids build their fine motor skills and expand their creative thinking.

Building blocks

Building sets come in numerous shapes, sizes and materials. Choose from basic wood building blocks, interlocking plastic sets, or shapes and tiles that connect magnetically. Developmentally, building blocks are excellent tools that help kids with hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and social skills. Plus, they’re a ton of fun.

Ride-on toys

Kids love doing what their parents do. Driving a car is no exception. On the beginner’s end of the spectrum, put your guy in the driver’s seat with a small wheeled toy that he can scoot around the house on.

Pretend play

Pretend play and role playing are amazing ways for kids to solve problems, learn life skills and understand another person’s perspective. Toys like tool sets, dress-up costumes and play kitchens with play food are all excellent choices to encourage brain-building make-believe play.

Toy figures and play sets

Toy sets like houses, barns or pirate ships are ideal for encouraging imaginative play. Get down to kid level and grab a figure yourself. Take a cue from your kids when choosing which play sets and figures to give them.

Puzzles

Choose puzzles that suit your child’s age and ability level. Boards with latches and knobs are ideally suited for some preschool-age children, while others are ready to work with jigsaw puzzles ranging from 25 to 100 pieces. Just make sure the puzzle is fun and not frustrating!

 

Toys that #Teach

Toys That Teach

When shopping for toys for your children, look for items that aren’t just age-appropriate and entertaining but also toys that will bolster their development and inspire their imagination and creativity.

Birth to 6 months old

Toy suggestions

  • Crib gyms*
  • Floor gyms
  • Activity quilts
  • Mobiles*
  • Safety mirrors
  • Teething toys
  • Large, interlocking rings or keys
  • Cloth toys
  • Soft dolls
  • Stuffed animals (with short pile fabric)
  • Musical and chime toys
  • Rattles

* Remove when baby is 5 months old or is able to push up on hands and knees.

6 months to 1 year old

Toy suggestions

  • Balls (1-3/4 inches and larger)
  • Push-pull toys
  • Busy boxes
  • Nesting and stacking toys
  • Simple shape sorters
  • Pop-up toys
  • Soft blocks
  • Bath toys
  • Teething toys
  • Large, interlocking rings or keys
  • Soft dolls
  • Stuffed animals (with short pile fabric)
  • Simple musical instruments
  • Rattles
  • Squeeze/squeak toys
  • Cloth and cardboard picture books

1 year to 2 years old

Toy suggestions

  • Balls (1-3/4 inches and larger)
  • Push-pull toys
  • Ride-on toys (feet-propelled)
  • Wagons
  • Backyard gym equipment (infant swing, small slide, small climbing apparatus)
  • Nesting and stacking toys
  • Simple shape sorters
  • Pop-up toys
  • Blocks
  • Bath toys
  • Sandbox/sand toys
  • Wading pool/water toys
  • Puzzles with knobs (whole-object pieces)
  • Stuffed animals (with short pile fabric)
  • Dolls and baby gear
  • Play vehicles
  • Kitchen equipment and gadgets
  • Play household items (telephone, lawn mower, workbench, shopping cart)
  • Playhouse
  • Child-sized table and chairs
  • Non-toxic art supplies (large crayons and coloring books, clay, finger paints)
  • Musical instruments
  • Cardboard picture books, pop-up books

2 to 3 years old

Toy suggestions

  • Balls (1-3/4 inches and larger)
  • Backyard gym equipment (swing, small slide, small climbing apparatus)
  • Building blocks and building systems
  • Blocks with letters and numbers
  • Wading pool/water toys
  • Puzzles with knobs (whole-object pieces that fit into simple scenes)
  • Dolls that can be bathed, fed and diapered
  • Dress-up clothes and accessories
  • Hand and finger puppets
  • Kitchen equipment and gadgets
  • Play household items (telephone, lawn mower, workbench, shopping cart)
  • Non-toxic art supplies (crayons and coloring books, clay, finger paints, sidewalk chalk)
  • Child-sized table and chairs
  • Play scenes (e.g., farm, airport) with figures and accessories
  • Sandbox/sand toys
  • Tricycle and helmet
  • Play vehicles
  • Wagon
  • Shape sorters
  • Playhouse
  • Storybooks
  • Stuffed animals

3 to 6 years old

Toy suggestions

  • Tricycle and helmet
  • Bicycle and helmet
  • Backyard gym equipment
  • Construction toys
  • Lacing and threading sets
  • Puzzles (10-20 pieces)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Dolls and doll clothes
  • Dress-up clothes and accessories
  • Props for make-believe play
  • Play vehicles
  • Hand and finger puppets
  • Play scenes with figures and accessories
  • Tape player and tapes
  • Non-toxic art supplies (safety scissors, construction paper, crayons)
  • Simple board games; word and matching games
  • Storybooks

6 to 9 years old

Toy suggestions

  • Complex gym equipment
  • Bicycle and helmet
  • Ice or roller skates/roller blades and protective gear
  • Sporting equipment (baseball glove, hockey stick, tennis racket) and protective gear
  • Simple swimming equipment
  • Stilts
  • Pogo sticks
  • Jump ropes
  • Construction toys
  • Jigsaw puzzles, including three-dimensional puzzles
  • Fashion/career dolls
  • Puppets, marionettes and theaters
  • Doll houses and furnishings
  • Action figures
  • Paper dolls
  • Science sets
  • Model kits
  • Craft kits
  • Magic sets
  • Art supplies
  • Tabletop sports
  • Video games
  • Electronic games
  • Board games
  • Tape player and tapes
  • Books (children’s classics, fairytales)

9 to 12 years old

Toy suggestions

  • Sports equipment and protective gear
  • Bicycle and helmet
  • Ice or roller skates/in-line skates and protective gear
  • Advanced construction sets
  • Jigsaw puzzles, including three-dimensional puzzles
  • Puppets, marionettes and theaters
  • Remote control vehicles
  • Model kits
  • Science kits
  • Magic sets
  • Craft and handiwork kits
  • Art supplies
  • Playing cards
  • Board games
  • Chess, checkers, dominoes and other strategy games
  • Tabletop sports
  • Video games
  • Electronic games
  • Electric trains
  • Musical instruments
  • Books (biography, mystery, adventure, science fiction)