10 Best Play Food Sets For Kids – 2020 Edition

Best Play Food Sets - Review Guide Featured ImagePlaying house with a  play kitchen and play food is one of the most enjoyable games to play as a kid.

Having a diverse set of pretend foods in a play kitchen makes pretending more interesting and realistic for kids that want to cook like their families!

Here are the top 10 best play food sets on the market in 2020 so you can easily choose the best play food set for your kids.

Our #1 Choice
Melissa & Doug Food Groups
Our #2 Choice
Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit
Our #3 Choice
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Grocery Cans
Melissa & Doug Food Groups
Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Grocery Cans
Our #1 Choice
Melissa & Doug Food Groups
Melissa & Doug Food Groups
Our #2 Choice
Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit
Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit
Our #3 Choice
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Grocery Cans
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Grocery Cans

Circle number 1 Top Pick

Melissa & Doug Food Groups – 21 Hand-Painted Wooden Pieces and 4 Crates

This 21-piece set comes at an affordable price for wooden play food and 4 fun, sturdy crates for grouping the different food groups.

Pros

  • Diverse set at an affordable price
  • Play kitchen

Cons

  • Paint has chipped off, so this may cause a safety concern for some parents BUT all toys in the Melissa & Doug line conform to CPSIA safety testing requirements

This 21-piece wooden play food set includes healthy foods your children can learn about in a fun way. The 4 sturdy wooden crates allow for easy grouping of each play food type (dairy, produce, grains, and protein), and for easy storage. Feed your child’s imagination while increasing their cognitive development in a healthy screen-free way.

Provide them a fun way to learn the basics of nutrition, early number skills, colors, sorting, and grouping, as well as fine motor skills and dexterity. Test them on making a balanced meal!

The set includes watermelon, fruit, corn, fish, meats, eggs, milk, cheese, cereal, bread, and more. It can be used on its own or with a play kitchen, for ages 3 and older.

Circle number2

Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set – Wooden Play Food

A 17-piece set of fruit, “cut” with Velcro pieces and a wooden knife for “cutting”. Includes a flat wooden crate for easy storage.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Food set painted on inside and out for a more realistic touch

Cons

  • Velcro may become weak after heavy use
  • Paint does chip

A wooden health-food play set complete with 7 fruits – pear, orange, lemon, banana, strawberry, melon, and kiwi – with 17 total pieces plus a convenient wooden storage crate. A play wooden knife is also included for “cutting up” the fruits which are precut with Velcro that give a satisfying crunch sound when sliced!

This fun set is great for introducing the concepts of fractions, parts, and wholes, especially while learning math. Cut the kiwi in half, the banana into thirds, and the melon into quarters/fourths. Best for ages 3-5. A manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.

Circle number3

Melissa & Dough Let’s Play House! Grocery Cans

Set of 10 stackable cans with removable lids for a realistic feeling. Aids in developing sorting, grouping, awareness of different types of food, and color recognition.

Pros

  • Open-and-close food set lids allow children to put things inside the cans
  • Colorful labels have nutritional information for a more realistic look

Cons

  • While somewhat durable, these are made with cardboard which might not hold up after heavy use, especially with teething children in the house

This play food set comes with 10 stackable cans with removable plastic lids that are easy to remove for little hands. Sides are made with sturdy and colorful cardboard with easy labels for identifying different types of foods. Play food in this set include alphabet soup, tuna fish, tomato sauce, peaches, pineapple, green beans, peas, corn, carrots, and sliced mushrooms.

This food set helps your children develop a basic understanding of nutrition, as well as counting, colors, sorting, grouping, and even early reading. Improve motor skills and dexterity with opening and closing the lids, and filling and stacking the cans. Best for ages 3-6, but a 2-year-old may enjoy playing with them as well.

Circle number4

Melissa & Doug Cutting Play Food Set

This 25+ wooden play food set comes complete with over 25 cut pieces of food items, knife, wooden storage crate, and a cutting board for a realistic food-cutting experience.

Pros

  • Will keep many children occupied for hours

Cons

  • Painting is not very detailed. Could be more realistic
  • Comes with one knife, so if you have more than one child, an extra might be necessary, or it’s a good opportunity to learn about sharing!

This wooden play food set is similar to the fruit cutting set but includes a cutting board and a variety of different food items – a loaf of bread, sandwich bread, sliced watermelon, apple, tomato, pepper, cucumber, and a carrot. The Velcro between the pieces gives a nice realistic crunch sound when being sliced.

Help your young chefs develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, not to mention knife and cutting safety. These food items also aid in understanding simple math like fractions, parts and wholes, as well as early counting, colors, sorting, and grouping. Best for children ages 3-5 as pieces might be difficult to cut for younger ages.

Circle number5

Melissa & Doug Playtime Produce Vegetables

This play food set comes with 7 durable plastic produce vegetables for pretend grocery shopping, plus a convenient wooden storage crate.

Pros

  • Made with a quality and durable plastic
  • Realistically painted
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Will hold water if submerged, so it’s better to wipe them down for cleaning
  • Realistic size may not fit will in play pots and pans

This 7-piece produce vegetable set is made with a durable heavy plastic for long-lasting enjoyment. Great for pretend grocery shopping, and then store them away in the included wooden storage crate. Vegetables include a tomato, carrot, red onion, potato, red pepper, cucumber, and an ear of corn realistically sized but still suitable for small hands. Give your kids the chance to play while learning about healthy food items and developing lots of early skills like counting, colors, sorting, and grouping.

After playing with some tasty and fresh-looking vegetables, your kids might be more excited to eat some real vegetables! Compare the real thing to these realistically-painted toys. Best suited for ages 3-6.

Circle number6

Melissa & Doug Wooden Pantry Products

A set of 9 wooden dry food items to add to your child’s play kitchen collection to expand their awareness of different types of food items.

Pros

  • Quality made with non-toxic materials
  • Durable
  • Realistic colorful labels

Cons

  • Paint tends to chip
  • No labels or info on the back of the products
  • Slightly heavy wood could be hurtful if thrown or dropped on a little foot

This 9-piece set of dry foods is made of a quality wood that will hold up for as long as they enjoy playing house! Foods include cereal, crackers, salad dressing, mustard, ketchup, spaghetti, soup, sugar, and tuna fish. These foods provide variety in your child’s play pantry and in the journey of learning about different foods, and can help with early counting, color recognition, and simple reading skills with the easy, colorful, and realistic labels.

This set can also be a tool to teach skills in sorting, comparing, grouping, and determining differences and similarities amongst food packages. Sized with small hands in mind. Suited for children ages 3 and older.

Circle number7

Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit and Veggie Tote

A 17-piece set with healthy veggies and fruits in a durable canvas tote bag for pretend grocery shopping. Sized with small hands in mind.

Pros

  • Durable plastic
  • Great variety of healthy foods to promote healthy eating and learning
  • Soft to ensure safe playing

Cons

  • Smells like paint and plastic even after being washed
  • Paint does chip off
  • Tote bag not made with the best quality

This diverse 17-piece produce set includes a variety of fruits and vegetables that look like they were freshly picked from the farmer’s market. Made with a high-quality soft rubber-like plastic that is crush-resistant for long-lasting fun. A durable canvas tote bag is included which can help kids learn about recycling and improving the environment. These fun sharable toys encourage social interaction and speech development, as well as counting skills, color recognition, sorting, grouping, building vocabulary, and more.

Watch your child’s imagination grow as they pretend to shop just like you and pick out these colorful healthy foods that will encourage great eating habits. Foods include an apple, strawberry, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, berries, lemon, onion, potato, tomato, apricot, pear, plum, grapes, corn, and a banana (16 different foods total). After playing with fruits and veggies, they might want to eat more of them! Ideal for ages 2 and older. A manufacturer’s warranty may be requested from customer service.

10 Best Play Food Sets For Kids - 2020 Edition

Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich-Making Set

A 16-piece sandwich-making set includes “cuttable” foods with Velcro and a play knife, plus a convenient wooden storage crate for easy organizing. Durable and high-quality.

Pros

  • High-quality wooden products
  • Cutting food develops important fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Good variety of foods
  • Convenient storage crate

Cons

  • Paint does chip slightly
  • Storage crate doesn’t have a lid
  • Foods could be painted more realistically

This large set of 16 wooden sandwich ingredients will be fun for any child. Foods are put together with Velcro and then “cut” using the included play knife, which makes a satisfying and realistic crunch sound, for long-lasting sandwich-making fun.

Durable and high-quality wooden pieces will not wear out. The set includes lots of healthy options including 4 slices of bread, 2-piece bun, 5 meat and cheese slices, 2 lettuce toppings, 2 tomato slices, and pickles. Store everything in the included wooden crate which can double as a serving tray or cutting board. Go on a pretend picnic, “order” your favorite from your young chef, or make a real sandwich while your child makes their pretend sandwich and compare!

For every young chef, this set develops fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, colors, number skills, sorting, and grouping. It also encourages healthy eating. Suited for ages 3-5 and a manufacturer’s warranty may be requested from customer service.

10 Best Play Food Sets For Kids - 2020 Edition

Melissa & Doug Prepare & Serve Pasta

Melissa & Doug have done it again with the Prepare & Serve Pasta Set. This fifty-piece food set comes with felt pasta and cooking utensils.

Pros

  • 50 piece set
  • Felt pasta
  • Many fun pasta varieties

Cons

  • Cardboard pasta boxes can be tricky to open for young children

If pasta is on the menu tonight, Melissa & Doug Prepare & Serve Pasta is the perfect set. Not only are felt pasta included, but also there are serving utensils with velcro to pick up the pasta, pasta guide, pasta boxes for storage, and cooking pans.

A cardboard mat printed with a cooktop and sink is included for imaginative play. The pasta types are penne, bow tie, linguini, and ravioli with spinach, meat, or cheese fillings. Butter, cheese, and tomato sauce jars complete the set.

This pasta set is designed for children three and up. However, smaller children might have problems opening the cardboard pasta boxes without ripping them. Children will improve their hand-eye coordination and organizational skills while cooking up a storm.

10 Best Play Food Sets For Kids - 2020 Edition

Imagination Generation Slice & Share Picnic Basket

Who doesn’t love a picnic? Your child will have a blast with the Imagination Generation Slice & Share Picnic Basket.

Pros

  • 34 pieces
  • Picnic basket storage
  • Fun fruit and veggie mix

Cons

  • Only comes with sets of two
  • Not great for many players

The Imagination Generation Slice & Share Picnic Basket has two wooden forks, knives, and plates, along with two drink bottles with cups. The watermelon, carrot, orange, and corn cob can be sliced. The sandwich has triangularly shaped bread, lettuce, cheese, and bologna held together with velcro. And for dessert, there are popsicles!

Everything can be stored in the plastic wicker picnic basket. There are also checkered napkins and a small plaid picnic blanket. There’s plenty to share with this 34 piece set designed for children three and up. The only drawback is that if more children are playing, there are only two sets of utensils. The food is designed to be halved and shared as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Melissa & Doug?

Melissa and Doug are actually a real couple that have six kids of their own. They were both raised by teachers and knew they wanted to develop meaningful products for young children. They started the business out of their house, delivering toys with their own vehicle and taking as much customer feedback as they could to continue improving the products.

Because of their own large family, they were able to test toys at home first and work out as many kinks as possible before sharing with their customers. They started their toy line with textured wooden puzzles, and slowly began developing other meaningful toys including play food, knowing children love imitating adults.

The toy product line named Melissa & Doug has become very popular over the last 25 years and is a trusted brand beloved by many parents and children. All products are heavily tested to ensure safety. Paints and coatings meet or exceed government requirements to limit levels of heavy metals, lead, and phthalates. Results are verified by accredited testing laboratories.

Company employees test new products in their own homes before they’re released for sale to the public. Click here for more information.

The goal of the company is to provide toys that allow for imagination development, open-ended thinking, and encouraging kids to find new possibilities. Kids will develop the ability to create something from nothing and enjoy true “free time” when given the opportunity to just play.

Play reveals passions, promotes creativity, problem-solving, and allows kids to try their ideas without worrying about making mistakes. Toys without screens or batteries provide a welcome break to the sometimes-overwhelming information coming from technology today!

Who are Learning Resources?

Founded over 30 years ago, Learning Resources has focused on providing toys that develop a love for learning as well as critical skills. With products for ages under 2 through 5th grade, they provide fun activities for a verity of subjects from English language learning, to math, science, geography, and ESL.

Learning Resources also takes great care in ensuring toys are safe and exceed safety standards, including being free of chemicals such as BPA, phthalate, and lead. Products are made with PVC and low-density polyethylene. Every toy is evaluated against standards of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Who is Imagination Generation?

Imagination Generation believes that children learn best when playing. Their goal is to create toys that inspire the imagination. Their three lines of wooden toys are crafted from natural solid beech, rubberwood, and bamboo. They are finished with oil or water-based paint and sanded smooth. The edges are rounded to prevent injury and are CPSIA compliant.

All of the toys made by Imagination Generation are designed to meet the early childhood education objectives, including developing fine motor skills, critical thinking capacity, problem-solving, and social interaction.

What should I look for when purchasing a play food set for my child?

There is a good chance that toy food will come into contact with your child’s mouth during imaginative play. Therefore, there are a few safety concerns to take into account when purchasing a play food set. If the items are plastic or have plastic components, be sure that they are BPA, lead, and phthalate-free.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in some polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, which impacts health negatively. Lead exposure can cause weakness, anemia, and kidney or brain damage in children. Phthalates are used to soften PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. Exposure to these chemicals can damage the kidneys, lungs, liver, and reproductive system.

Wooden toys do not contain BPA, PVC, or phthalates. However, be sure that any paint used is lead-free and non-toxic.

Are Wooden Toys Eco-friendly?

Wooden toys can be eco-friendly, depending on the wood used in manufacturing. For instance, rubberwood trees produce the substance known as latex for about twenty-five years. When these trees no longer produce latex, they are typically burnt to make room for new trees. Using these rubberwood trees to create non-toxic toys is a better use of resources.

Bamboo is another sustainable product often used in children’s toys. Bamboo is a renewable resource, regrowing to adult size in three to five years. Products made from bamboo are biodegradable as well.

How Do I Clean Wooden Toys?

Play food and utensils should be cleaned regularly. If they are made of wood, do not let them soak because it will cause water damage. Instead, spray them with an eco-friendly cleaner and wipe down.

If they need further sanitizing, soak a washcloth in a warm, soapy solution. Then ring the washcloth out and scrub the toy. Use a different washcloth to wipe off any remaining soap. Allow the toy to air dry.

Should I Allow my Child to Use the Toy Knives Included in the Set?

Some play food sets have utensils, including play knives. Parents may be concerned that their children could be injured even though the blade is not sharp. Introducing toddlers to proper knife use deters them from incorrect use later. Proper utensil use is a developmental milestone.

Brett Gordon
 

The brains behind The Toy Report. Having clocked tons of time in toys research and online resource development, today, Brett is dedicated to making The Toy Report a trusted space in the world of toy reviews and recommendations.

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