Best Play Food Sets for Kids (The Young Connoisseurs) in 2017

It’s been proven that children develop their skills faster if they have something to stimulate their senses. One of the best toys that you can get your child is a play food set. It will introduce them to the different kinds of food. They will also be able to associate these foods to their correct words such as assigning the word “apple” to a toy object that looks like it.

Your child can also learn the importance of a balanced diet for proper nutrition. You can teach them, with the help of a play food set, how a certain food fuels their body. Moving from baby food onto actual meals is often a daunting task for young ones. Easing them onto the idea while giving them the basic information that they need to grasp why they have to do it is crucial for their healthy physical growth.

There are a lot of play food sets which makes it hard to determine which one of them are going to be appreciated by your kids. To help you decide faster, we have curated 20 of the best sets available today. We have no doubt that your children are going to love these!

Picking the Best Play Food Set for Your Kids

1. Melissa & Doug Food Groups

Suitable for: Kids at least 3 years old

This play food set by Melissa & Doug presents you with four tidy wooden crates and an assortment of colorful yet realistic foods. You can place the different foods onto the crates so your child understands the difference between the four main food groups. You have a variety of grains, dairy products, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

What's Great About It: The Food Groups play set provides your child with the essential objects required for them to learn the importance of grouping foods. Though attempting to be realistic, the toys are vibrant enough that your child will be able to associate the different colors to different foods. With your assistance, your child can also learn what these foods are called.

2. Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit and Veggie Tote

Suitable for: Kids at least 2 years old

Nothing says healthy like the Fresh Picked Fruit and Veggie Tote food play set. The bag comes with a selection of fruits and vegetables for your child to choose from all in attention-grabbing vivacious color. From apple, banana, berries, grapes and plums to cabbage, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, potato and tomato, your young one will be introduced to a lot of healthy and natural foods.

What's Great About It: Not only are the foods in this toy set colorful, they also differ in texture, shapes and sizes. This gives your child the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. This play food set will also help with your child’s color recognition and name-association to the various fruits and vegetables.

3. Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Food Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 2 to 6 years old

The introduction of the Munch It! Food Set by Learning Resources to their New Sprouts line is the perfect addition to your child’s play set. Included in it are common food items like cereal, yogurt, bread and cheese. You also have juice, hotdog, cookie, bagel, muffin and other food toys that your child can mix and match. The play utensils can’t really interact with the bowl-placed foods, but this will let your child differentiate what’s actually edible to what’s a toy.

What's Great About It: If you want to introduce your kid to the idea of using utensils, then this play food set is perfect for that. You can teach them how you would eat a hotdog compared to how you would eat bread and cheese.

​4. Learning Resources New Sprouts Dinner Basket

Suitable for: Kids aged 2 to 10 years old

The Dinner Basket food play set by Learning Resources features a bowl for your child to place the assortment of prepared meals and a vibrant basket for the natural foods. For a make-believe dinner time, you can let your child interact with a baked potato, a steak, a grilled chicken, an ice cream sandwich and a glass of milk. You can also let your child arrange the various fruits and vegetables based on the nutrients they give.

What's Great About It: Your kid will be able to learn that there are different processes that food have to go through. Just because they can eat a tomato as is does not mean that a steak can be consumed the same way. If you want to teach your kid the differences between a wide variety of meals before you get them ready for the real thing, then this is a great food play set for them.

​5. Little Tikes Backyard Barbecue Grillin’ Goodies

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 15 years old

Your kid might be wondering what you do whenever you go out for a weekend barbecue. They don’t have to anymore with the Backyard Barbecue Grillin’ Goodies food play set. Your child will be able to experience a barbecue party themselves as they play with sliced burger patties, buns, hotdogs, hotdog buns and corns all at a pair each. They can even add ketchup and mustard to top it off.

What's Great About It: Your child will be able to pretend play being at a barbecue party with the added authenticity of the tong, spatula, cutleries and plates provided with the food play set. We highly suggest that you play with your child since the food play set needs a minimum of 2 persons to start the fun.

​6. Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich-Making Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

Allow your kids to let their imaginations run wild with Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Sandwich-Making Set. Your child can add as many ingredients as they want to make their sandwich taller. One thing to comment on is the variety of fix-ins, but that doesn’t really matter when you only want to teach your child the basics of fixing themselves a sandwich.

What's Great About It: The pieces of this food play set are very colorful that they will immediately grab the attention of your child. You can use the provided wooden knife to guide your child to slice the foods across to give them the idea that preparing a meal often involves dividing pieces into smaller bits for easier consumption. This will greatly enhance your child’s understanding of meal prep and the logic behind it.

7. Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Grocery Cans

Suitable for: Kids at least 3 years old

With how fast we often have to move, it is essential that we teach our children a backup plan just in case they do not have enough time to prepare a full meal. The cans provided in the play set teaches your kid that meals can already be prepared for them. Other times, they can simply open a can of food and add it on top of something they’re already cooking. You have a variety of canned foods including mushrooms, tomato sauce, green beans, pineapple slices, alphabet soup, peas, sliced peaches, sweet pitted cherries, corn kernels and tuna fish.

What's Great About It: Your child will not have a tough time trying to remove the lid since it comes off very easily. You can teach your child how to read the labels on the cans as well so this food play set is great for children already developing their vocabulary.

​8. Step2 101 Piece Play Food Assortment

Suitable for: Kids from ages 2 to 8 years old

If you want to expand your child’s play through from distinguishing meals to actually learning how they are prepared, then the 101 Piece Play Food Assortment set by Step2 is perfect for you. It comes with an expansive collection of food toys for your child that makes learning more fun and interesting. From fruits and vegetables to a vast collection of pastries, bread and meat, your child will not grow bored of this food play set any time soon.

What's Great About It: Though there is not much variety to the designs of the foods included in the play set, there are so many things that your child can do with multiple pieces. They can stack them together, mix them to prepare their own meals or you can even associate a game for them to be able to memorize or at least associate certain colors and food names to the food toys in front of them.

​9. Learning Resources Farmers Market Color Sorting Set

Suitable for: Kids from ages 3 to 6 years old

Color association will be a lot more interesting with the Farmers Market Color Sorting Set. This food play set by Learning Resources gives you five baskets with what should be placed in them. You can teach your child the fruits and vegetables in accordance to their color varying from green, red, orange, yellow and purple. It comes with about 25 produce-type foods for your child to interact with.

What's Great About It: All of the food toys are colored very vibrantly which makes them enticing to play with. Your kid will be able to learn five different colors, but if you think they are ready to improve their vocabulary then you can assign names to each of the fruits and vegetables too.

​10. Melissa & Doug Fridge Food Set

Suitable for: Kids from ages 3 to 5 years old

Preserving foods and beverages is one of the most important things a child should learn when learning about their meals. This Fridge Food Set by Melissa & Doug showcases a variety of consumables that are often found in the fridge. The common milk, yogurt, ice cream, orange juice, waffles, cheese, bologna, butter and frozen veggies are all found in this food play set.

What's Great About It: With this food play set, you can teach your child that if they do not necessarily have to consume their foods as soon as they receive them. They can always store their meals in the fridge for later consumption without having to worry about it getting spoiled. Your child will also be introduced to the concept of cold, chilled and frozen foods with this play set.

​11. Learning Resources New Sprouts Bushel of Veggies

Suitable for: Kids from ages 2 to 10 years old

Learning how to eat healthy is an important lesson to teach your child early in their life. The New Sprouts Bushel of Veggies features all of the vegetables that are required for a diet full of nutrients. You have a variety of vegetables that look very convincing and realistic will still maintaining the vibrant and colorful aura that will catch a child’s attention during playtime.

What's Great About It: All of the vegetables included in this food play set feature different color, texture and shape. This is good for your child’s sensory skills. You can also expand your child’s vocabulary by teaching them the name of all of the vegetables or at least associating them to the basic colors.

12. Melissa & Doug Cutting Food

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

Teaching how to chop and slice might sound like a scary activity especially for your young one, but the release of the Cutting Food play set by Melissa & Doug makes it easier and a lot more fun. Your child can pretend that they are slicing the different foods in the set with the toy wooden knife. All of the food toys are pre-cut and held together with Velcro which makes chopping them piece by little piece a lot easier.

What's Great About It: You can eliminate the stigma that comes with using sharp objects while teaching your child how to hold one properly with this food play set. This is an important skill to learn early on so your child has the basic idea in one of the aspects of preparing a meal while they improve their motor skills during playtime.

​13. Learning Resources New Sprouts Garden Fresh Salad Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 12 years old

Teaching your child how to eat with a healthy diet in mind is important for their better physical growth. The New Sprouts Garden Fresh Salad Set presents an opportunity for your child to experiment with an assortment of vegetables. The food play set comes with a big bowl for mixing accompanied by 5 smaller ones for serving and a tong to sort all of the food pieces.

What's Great About It: The usage of the tong to place all of the food pieces around is great for the motor skills of your young one. Your kid will also be able to learn how to be creative with the placement of food in accordance to the serving size.

​14. Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

You can desensitize your child from the fear of slicing and shopping food with the Cutting Fruit Set. It comes with a child-friendly wooden knife that they can use to cut the various food pieces into smaller parts. These foods are already pre-cut so the toy knife will only have to glide through them. There’s not much room for creativity with the slices but this is great if you only want to ease in the basics of meal preparation to your developing child.

What's Great About It: This food play set will help with your child’s hand-eye coordination. They will also have a basic idea of how certain fruits are cut and what’s inside of it after it’s been cut into a smaller portion.

​15. Melissa & Doug Wooden Pizza Party

Suitable for: Kids at least 3 years old

Who doesn’t love pizza? Your child can now place their own toppings on their pizza slices with the Wooden Pizza Party food play set by Melissa & Doug. The set gives you 6 pizza slices where you can put more than 50 ingredients of varying foods. Your child can also exercise their motor skills with the spatula and cutter which are both wooden and safe. It would’ve been better if the pizza box wasn’t made of wood to give it a different texture, but it wouldn’t matter as much due to the lighter color.

What's Great About It: One of the best pizza food play sets that your child can get as a gift. It is incredibly safe and realistic enough for role playing sessions for when your kid wants to slice their own pizza for their mini party.

​16. Melissa & Doug Felt Food Pizza Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 7 months

This food play set by Melissa & Doug introduces the youngest of children to the much more complex shapes of different pizza toppings – 40 to be exact. The Felt Food Pizza Set has four slices of pizza that your kid can interact with all with their own unique decorations filled with bright colors.

What's Great About It: Young and developing children will be able to learn that there are shapes beyond the basic ones their learn from preliminary toys. They will also be able to associate different colors to the varying toppings.

​17. Learning Resources New Sprouts Cookout Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 2 to 12 years old

Any kid that wants to be a chef when they grow up will love the New Sprouts Cookout Set by Learning Resources. It packs 2 sets of dinnerware along with plastic cutlery. You have an ice cream sandwich, chips, vegetables, 2 hotdog sandwiches and condiments. Your child’s imaginative skills will be developed and their concept of meal preparation will be expanded onto the dinner table.

What's Great About It: This food play set is great for pretend play before, during and after dinner. Your child can learn different words while not being limited to a certain type of food. You can mix and match the food around and teach them new words along the way. They will also be able to emulate how, for example, a hotdog sandwich is pieced together from the buns and hotdog.

​18. Small World Toys Living Peel ‘N’ Play Playset

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

Food preparation might be something that your kid wants to learn more about. The Living Peel ‘N’ Play Playset by Small World Toys gives them a chance to explore what goes on in the kitchen and, more specifically, the chopping board. The vegetables included in this food play set are already pre-cut and can be sliced using the plastic knife with the chopping board. The vegetables all come in vibrant colors and different textures.

What's Great About It: Your young one can learn how to associate colors to the different vegetables. They can also be introduced to the varying shades of colors since the greens on the foods are unique from each other ranging from light to dark. Your child can learn how to handle a knife safely at a young age so they are desensitized to the act when they do attempt to learn how to cook later on in life.

​19. Melissa & Doug Wooden Pantry Products

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

Your child can learn more about the rarely accessed, at least for them, section of the kitchen. The Wooden Pantry Products toy set lets your young one experiment with the placement of the different packed foods and condiments such as ketchup, cereals, crackers, tuna, canned soup, salad dressing, deli mustard, spaghetti and sugar. The toy pieces have fine textures showing that they are of high quality wooden materials.

What's Great About It: If your child already has a food play set, then this is a welcome addition to it. This will add countless more hours of fun playing and learning time with a lot more experimenting for your young one.

​20. Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Scoop Set

Suitable for: Kids aged 3 to 5 years old

Does your child love ice cream? The Ice Cream Scoop Set by Melissa & Doug will be a perfect addition to their food play set. It comes with 2 ice cream cones, 4 scoops of ice creams of different flavors and 2 magnetic scoops to scoop them up. The flavors vary from chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mint chocolate chip.

What's Great About It: Your child can practice their hand-eye coordination as well as their color recognition skill with this food play set. Running the magnetic ice cream scoop is a unique experience that not many food play sets offer.

    Sandra Cobain

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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