Toys for Your Future Chef

Cooking is a lot more than getting pots dirty. It’s a hot topic in playgroups and on Pinterest. It’s also a learning opportunity. From color recognition to chemistry, mouthfeel to math, healthy and nutritious meals are on everyone’s minds — if not lips. When your child shows an interest in cooking, tap into that hunger (for knowledge) with these toys.

1. Pancake Pile-Up! ™ Relay Game

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This game is great for breakfast-loving toddlers. Players each select a card, and then they must stack different types of pancakes in the specific order indicated on their cards. Watch your child add the finishing touches with a dab of fake butter (ages 4+).

2. Hello Sweet Potato

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This activity kit encourages healthy eating by combining the premises of classic games like Rummy and Go Fish with playing cards that teach children about nutrition (ages 5+).

3. Clifford Food Science

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Gobble up the lessons of making rainbow ice and exploding marshmallows with this fun and accessible game. It encourages scientific experimentation as well as cooking (ages 3+).

4. Playful Chef Deluxe Kit

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This set comes with a variety of tools to help your child cook up delicious treats. The kit includes recipe cards and child-friendly utensils, such as measuring cups and spoons (ages 6+).

5. Cook It In A Cup

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This set includes six colorful baking cups and myriad recipes for young chefs with a range of culinary experience (ages 6–14).

6. Menu Mash-Up

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Is kiwi good on a pizza? Menu Mash-Up, a combination of the game Apples to Apples and the TV show Chopped, encourages players to match up unexpected ingredients to create wacky meals (ages 12+).

7. Sushi Go!

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For those who’d rather strategize than cook, this fun game encourages agility. Players try to snatch up the best card combinations as the deck is passed around (ages 8+).

Books for Your Future Chef

Start the day with a short stack and a tall tale “Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake.” For those who like potato pancakes, read the late-great Eden Ross Lipson’s “Applesauce Season,” illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (ages 5+). A subscription to “ChopChop Magazine” (ages 5–12) will inspire any young reader/chef.

This list would be incomplete without a salute to the doyenne of TV cooking shows. “Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child” is a picture book biography for cooks of all ages.

Apps for Your Future Chef

ABC Food, a wonderful app for your budding reader, uses food items to teach children letters. The game includes different modes, allowing kids to test their knowledge and review the spellings of many ingredients (ages 3–6). Toca Kitchen is an interactive, text-free game that has kids coming back again and again. With the swipe of their fingers, players bring a kitchen to life by boiling, slicing, frying, and heating food (ages 3–8).

Check out more educational gifts for kids handpicked by Noodle and Parents' Choice!