Isn’t it ironic how, contrary to their teenage selves, kids love chores? For example, it’s no secret that little ones would much rather eat with their fingers instead of their forks, but even when they have zero intentions of properly utilizing silver and dishware, they love watching you set the table. Helping mommy and daddy makes them feel grown up, but unfortunately, they aren’t old enough to handle actual household responsibilities. However, investing in toys like plastic kitchen appliances, miniature brooms and play dish sets are great tools to help you teach your tot how to cook, clean and set the table without ever risking their safety (not to mention your fine china).
If your mini-me has taken a sudden interest in all things cooking and dining, adding play dish sets to their toy collection is a no-brainer. Shopping for play dish sets is almost as fun as shopping for your own kitchen staples, only this time around, you’re buying according to a toddler’s taste. Bonus: these faux plates won’t break the bank (or smash into a million pieces when your little one drops and tosses them). From basic bowls and plates to sets that come with realistic drying racks, here are the best play dish sets that teach your child hospitality skills.
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1. KidKraft 27-Piece Pastel Cookware Set
Brighten up their dining area with this super kid-friendly play dish set from KidKraft. The warm pastel colors invite your little one to play, but what keeps them busy is the complete cookware set that includes dishware, silverware and a few key cooking gadgets. Round up your child’s play food and ask them to cook you a feast. They can flip pancakes or scramble eggs in their pan, or let homemade soup simmer in their pot, and serve everything up in plates, bowls and cups. Just don’t forget to teach them the most important step: cleaning up.
2. Learning Resources New Sprouts Serve It! Dish Set
If your child is a natural entertainer, they’ll love throwing pretend dinner parties for their friends and family. The Learning Resources New Sprouts Serve It! dish set can help. Designed to encourage kids to explore their social skills, the set includes four place settings, each including one plastic cup, bowl, plate, fork, knife and spoon. When you receive an invitation to sit down and dine with your little one, teach them proper table etiquette, manners and how to use each utensil. Engage in mealtime conversation, and politely ask for seconds, maybe thirds (trust us, these are some of the precious moments you’ll never want to end).
3. Kidzlane Bright n’ Sturdy Plastic Dishes Set
Dishes are great until they’re covered with crumbs and sauce stains. Unfortunately, part of being an adult and picking out your own dish sets means having to clean them when you use them. That’s why Kidzlane’s colorful play dish set comes with four full sets of plates, cups and cutlery, plus a realistic drainer — so after they have table manners down pat, you can follow up with a lesson on washing and drying.