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Young children, from toddlers through to school-age, are often big fans of make believe play. Interactive, educational toys that allow them to use their imagination to pretend to be grown-ups are useful to have in the home, at nursery or in playgroups.
There’s a broad range of toys available to buy. We like wooden versions for their longevity and craft but plastic, felt and plush food toys are alternatives. One big benefit of these smaller toys is that they can be very affordable, with sets from high street retailers being pocket-friendly and collectable over time.
Wood is usually more expensive than plastic so expect to pay more. Some larger food-themed toys like trolleys and stalls can be very pricey – we’ve kept our list as low-price as possible with toys selected across a range of price points and chosen for their value for money.
Lots of wooden toy sets come with small accessories so aren’t suitable for babies and younger toddlers – always check the age recommendations before buying. Lots of our recommendations are for 3+ but we’ve included options for younger kids too.
Read on to discover our top wooden play foods toys, sets and accessories. For more like this including kids baking set and kids cooking set ideas, visit our reviews section to find 400+ buyer’s guides including reviews of toy kitchens and high chairs.
Wooden play food sets
Wilko Let’s Pretend fruit and veg box
This cheap-as-chips set comes highly recommended by BBC Good Food team members’ toddlers and young children. In fact, the entire range of Let’s Pretend toys is great value for money and as attractive as similar versions from more expensive brands. This wooden play box set contains fruit and veg with a cutting knife. Each piece is connected by velcro, allowing children to ‘chop’ for themselves. With a recommended age of 2+, it’s a good option for younger toddlers.
Available from Wilko (£8)
Melissa & Doug food groups set
Melissa & Doug are market leaders in wooden play food. The US brand is teamed with the American Academy of Pediatrics to place education at the heart of their incredibly broad range of play-pretend toys. We like this beginner’s set of core ingredients featuring four crates including fruit & veg, grains, meat & fish and dairy. It’s recommended for children aged 3+.
Bigjigs sandwich making set
This multi-material set has a wooden board, bread and utensils but the filling options are made from felt. Kids can set up their own sandwich bar and fill the ciabatta roll with egg, cheese and salad, meaning it’s ideal for kids who like to ‘make’ and serve food to others. Bigjigs is another reliable brand in the world of wooden educational toys with a broad range of play pretend toys.
George at Asda wooden sushi set
A decent wooden toy for £10 is good value in our books, so we applaud George for this affordable set for the modern mini foodie. While the wooden toy food market is flooded with fruit, veg and cakes, this set offers a point of difference. In the slimline wooden box, you’ll find sushi pieces, soy sauce, wasabi and chopsticks. The small parts mean this is only suitable for kids over 3.
Available from George (£10)
JoJo Maman Bebe Blend & Make wooden smoothie set
Set up a juice bar in your front room with help from this fruity kit. Children can prepare the fruit then add it to the blender before operating it using the dial. Add a splash of milk for the perfect consistency then ‘pour’ into the cups. A set that encourages imaginative play and the consumption of your five-a-day.
Available from Jojo Maman Bebe (£28)
Bigjigs wooden biscuit box
All of our favourite biscuits are represented in this box of brightly coloured iced and decorative sweet treats. Little ones will love dishing them out to their friends and toys. If your child has a kettle and teacup, be sure to encourage them to put them into action, too.
Wooden shopping trolleys
Le Toy Van Honeybake wooden shopping trolley
Wooden trolleys tend to be expensive, usually around the £50 mark. It’s difficult to find one for much cheaper, although supermarkets like Aldi do occasionally stock special ranges at bargain prices. Metal or plastic trolleys will usually be cheaper than wooden (if you want to go down this route, the John Lewis metal Waitrose shopping trolley is easier on the pocket at £25), or you could repurpose wooden pull-along trucks like this Mula toddler truck from IKEA (£22). This Le Toy Van trolley is an investment but comes with a detachable fabric bag and mini chalkboard.
Le Toy Van (£59.95)
Early Learning Centre wooden shopping trolley
If you’re looking for a baby walker with a difference, this useful wooden trolley from Early Learning Centre might be the one. It’s also a shade more affordable than a lot of wooden trolleys, especially when you consider the accessories and features; there’s a shape sorter, row of beads, rotating cogs and spinning character discs. It’s suitable for 12 months-6 years, although we think this will go down a storm with babies just finding their feet.
Early Learning Centre (£39.99)
Wooden cake stands and tea sets
Melissa & Doug wooden tea set
When it comes to design flourishes, Melissa & Doug can be relied upon to provide vintage panache. This kitsch tea set is no exception. As well the good-looking teapot and cups, it’s the thoughtful accessories that really make this set. There are teabag tags stored in a caddy, a wipe-clean order card plus the mandatory biscuits to serve on the side.
Bigjigs wooden cake stand
Children who like to play the host with the most will be able to throw an afternoon tea party at any time of the day. The two tiers can be loaded with the nine wooden cakes, including macarons, Battenberg, doughnuts and cupcakes. As this is a set with small parts, it’s suitable for older pre-school kids rather than young toddlers and babies (3+).
Wooden toaster toys
Berry breakfast set
Kids will love the popping mechanism of a toy toaster but this set has much more to play with than that. There’s an eggcup complete with eggs that can be split in half to eat, plus butter that comes conveniently portioned into slices. Great Little Trading Company has plenty of matching accessories to level up from this starter set – their designs are tasteful and classic.
Available from Great Little Trading Company (£18.75)
John Lewis & Partners wooden toaster
The number of accessories included with this toaster make it excellent value for money. Find the mandatory bread, butter, plate and knife, plus a bonus egg and pots of peanut butter and jam. John Lewis also sells pots, pans, tea sets and cake stands for reasonable prices if your child is keen on increasing their kitchen range.
Available from John Lewis & Partners (£12)
Wooden market stall
Le Toy Van Honeybee wooden market stall
If your child spends a considerable amount of time playing chef, you might consider a market stall set-up to provide an anchor for their play and an alternative to a more expensive toy kitchen. You can expect to pay upwards of £60 for a wooden version with racks, shelves and, sometimes, accessories, although you may have to buy the food in addition. Le Toy Van is one of the higher-end toy brands which is reflected in the price, but accessories including a fruit tray are included with this two-tier stall with striped canopy.
Le Toy Van (£69.95)
All Mama’s Children (£64.95)
Kids ice cream trolley
Jojo Maman Bebe toy ice cream cart
This mini cart serves as an affordable and space-saving alternative to ice cream trolleys, which like market stalls can take up valuable space. The cart comes with cornets and toppings and can be pushed around on its wheels, bringing a new dimension to the play.
Available from Jojo Maman Bebe (£30)
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This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.