Make-believe play has a tremendous impact on cognitive and language development. Children use higher level, more complex language during make-believe or imaginary play than they yet use in everyday life. In my own research, make-believe is one of my favorite modes of play to look at – kids are just learning SO much! But, make-believe play is also one of those areas that can suffer from gender bias in marketing. “Girl toys” are often promoting of make-believe play while “boy toys” are promoting of active play. Finding toys which promote imaginary play without promoting gender differences can be challenging, especially in the arena of “playing house.”
One of my favorite brands for well-made, gender-fair and anti-racist toys is “Melissa & Doug.” They can be a little pricier but their toys are wonderful. Their kitchen set is wooden, not plastic like most of the alternatives, sturdy, and there’s no pink!
Kitchen sets run quite a range in price, from $40 or so for plastic and pink to near $200 for fancy grown-up kitchen replicates. At $94 this kitchen set falls somewhere in the middle, and is fairly affordable considering the quality of the materials. Because make-believe play is so important, something like a sturdy kitchen set is a worthy investment. This set in particular is an investment to withstand multiple children and all their friends! On Amazon this set is available for Prime shipping – shipping for free in two days to Prime members. As this set is so well-made, gender-fair in color and marketing, and easily available, Fair Play gives it 5 pinwheels.
Check out another Fair Play post for recommendations for play food!