The days of flipping imaginary pancakes on a plastic griddle or popping mini brownie treats into an Easy Bake Oven are practically over, experts say. Kids’ kitchen toys these days are high-end, trendy, and mimic what mommy and daddy use in the kitchen — or even what they see on the Food Network — according to the Wall Street Journal. Plastic pizza and fried chicken is being exchanged for mini Keurigs and veggie burgers. Independent toy company Melissa and Doug, for instance, will be releasing a realistic rotisserie set later this year.
“Childhood is about preparing for real life and mimicking what you see your parents and adults doing around you,” Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa and Doug, told The Wall Street Journal.
Parents are also demanding more gender-neutral branding, because, as anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past half a century knows, the kitchen is not just the domain of women anymore (and toy kitchens shouldn’t be just for girls). Master Chef Jr. judge Graham Elliot says he has seen just as many boys as girls on the show, which likely has contributed to this shift in play attitude.
“Hopefully parents are open-minded enough to say, ‘Yeah, maybe his dad always wanted him to be the football quarterback, but he’s going to be the quarterback of pastry chefs, instead,” Elliot told the Wall Street Journal.
Are your kids showing some gastronomic potential? Before getting them into a real kitchen, we suggest getting them started by making imaginary kale smoothies in this juicer for tykes, or creating their own sushi rolls (complete with plastic wasabi).