Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen

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Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen by twopluscute

I feel like Captain Obvious writing this: Little ones love to mimic their parents and enjoy assisting with the house chores. In order to let their skills and independence grow, it seems best (at least to me), to offer them their own version of the adult ‘toys’ to practice and play until they are experienced – and older – enough to work with the adult versions of their toys.

We wanted for our daughter to have a kitchen set that would be interesting and economic at the same time. There are fantastic miniature kitchens in the market but they often come at a price that is – well – unfriendly. On the other hand, parents have made beautiful DIY kitchen sets, even from cardboard.

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Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen by twopluscute

 

We went the middle way and we didn’t regret it. We found the Deluxe Toy Kitchen (with 22 accessories!) when it had a sale and we bought it asap. Cost? Under thirty dollars brand new. Score! The Cute loved it! One burner sizzles, one burner bubbles, both burners light up when in use, has a ‘timer’ switch and all buttons rotate and click.

Keeps our daughter interested in her toy kitchen for longer periods. Most importantly, it keeps her away from mommy’s oven – which is in any case rarely used – while it hones her skills and imagination with pretend play.

 

our toy kitchen and how to choose the right play kitchen by twopluscute

 

Appliances include an oven, a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a dishwasher. The faucet rotates, the wicker baskets are removable and now house a few of her – unused – baby washcloths (to use as kitchen washcloths) and her measuring cups. Seriously, that little kitchen has it all and it’s darn sturdy, too.

 

Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen by twopluscute

 

The accessories we added, where all things we already had in our adult kitchen or around the house. Garbage bin, basket, cloths, measuring cups, whiskers, – all from dollar store – leftover Easter eggs (we make a lot of omelettes on that kitchen), and a handpainted wooden wall decoration of a cook that my mother sent over. There mom, see? I found a place for it!

Want more frugal ideas for your child? Check out these dollar store ideas for budget savvy toys.

 

Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen by twopluscute
The Cute exploring her toy kitchen.

 

What to keep in mind when you buy or make a toy kitchen:

– Make sure any accessories are age appropriate. You do not want your toddler swallowing small parts!

– Buy or make, a sturdy kitchen. The little ones will invariably lean on the kitchen and collapse it or fall.

– If you make the kitchen, remember to use safe materials. No chipping paint, no splinters, no toxic colors.

– Aim for some realism. Kids like to imitate real life (possibly because it is what they see and know), especially when younger.

– Seek plurality in the experience your toy kitchen can provide. Buttons that click and rotate, noisy burners, opening and closing doors, drawers to fill with items and so on.

Mind the height, so your toy keeps being useful for years to come. Think of whether you want the kitchen to last for years so, your baby doesn’t overgrow it soon. When we bought the toy kitchen, our baby was at the height of the burners. A few months later, she was already overseeing the sink area and could stretch to reach the microwave oven.

Mind the width. Depending on your space, you may need to be conscious on the width of your toy kitchen. Ours is really narrow (yet securely stable) which makes it easy to place in every room of our house. Currently resides in our nursery where it happily color coordinates.

– The dreaded assembly. In general, it is very easy to assemble a toy – any toy. However, if you do not want to fiddle with numerous small parts, take the assembly requirements into account before you buy.

– If your dream play kitchen is above your budget, be a little patient and keep an eye for discounts, coupons and seasonal offers.

Update: Crystal mentioned in the comments another factor: 

– The design, colors and look. If you plan on living with the toy kitchen for a long time, it may be to your visual pleasure to pick something agreeable to your taste. Just like with the adult version of a kitchen. You may want a modern high end look or you might be into romantic older days and vintage.

The little ones won’t mind either way.

 

A little note: Boys love kitchen play, too. Perhaps even more so than little girls. If you are concerned about gender orientation, get your kitchen in boy-ish colors like the Ultimate Cook Kitchen in blue and grey or Cook ‘n Grow BBQ Grill and let your little guy become a legendary (and esteemed) chef like Michel Roux.

Let them have fun. 🙂

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Our Toy Kitchen and How to Choose the Right Play Kitchen

  • May 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm
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    We have this play kitchen for our son. We got it in neutral colors but it looks the same and has all the same accessories. We’ve added play cooking utensils from Ikea, pot holders from the dollar store and a child sized apron that I got from Hobby Lobby for $2.

    Reply
    • May 4, 2015 at 11:07 pm
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      Malorie, I was looking for a child size apron! Only $2 at HL?
      I know where I will be this weekend. 😀
      Thank you for commenting and for the apron tip. And good job on getting your son a kitchen, I bet he is a super cool little chef.

      Reply
      • May 14, 2015 at 11:08 am
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        He plays with his kitchen everyday. He loves his apron and used it a lot during the holidays when we made cookies.
        I used the 40% coupon from my HL app when I got the apron.

        Reply
        • May 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm
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          Thank you for the extra tip for the coupon, Malorie!
          I find it so very cute when the little ones help us with baking. I can’t wait until my daughter is a little older so we try baking together. 🙂

          Reply
          • May 14, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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            He just turned 3. He helps stir the mix and then decorate after the cookies are cooled.

  • April 23, 2015 at 12:21 pm
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    I chose our play kitchen for storage space and then moved it to my daughter’s room a year later to make room for more kids. It sticks out like a sore thumb because the colors don’t match her room. I wish i had thought about that more.

    Reply
    • April 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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      That is a very good point. Visual clutter can be very upsetting. I am going to edit and add the “pick colors you can live with” idea.
      Thank you Crystal. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 22, 2015 at 10:25 am
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    I can vouche for the love of kitchen play amongst boys. I teach preschool to 3 and 4 year olds. Many of my boys take their turn in the kitchen! Great post. Pinned 🙂

    Reply
  • April 20, 2015 at 10:25 am
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    Wow! You got that kitchen at a really good price! Kids (boys and girls) love kitchens. I am so glad that more parents are letting their boys have a kitchen. K was insistent he have a kitchen at age 2. He still plays with it and likes to make what daddy makes. H is the chef in the house because he LOVES to cook.

    So, what does Cute have on the menu today? 😉

    Reply
    • April 20, 2015 at 11:06 am
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      Well, The Cute is busy wetting the floors around the house. I am busy mopping. The dreamy life of motherhood, hehe. 😀
      So far I fail at potty training but I am implementing a new strategy today. Hopefully, it will yield results. Meanwhile I have really clean floors, lol.

      I can picture the awesomeness of watching your two guys cooking together. Makes me smile. 🙂

      Reply
      • April 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm
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        Oh, no! Hmmm…you need a UV light. lol 😉 It took a while to get k potty trained. He knew how, he just did not want to. He was in pull-ups forever because he did not want to wear big boy underwear. lol Finally, I told him that we could not buy anymore pull-ups and once they were gone, that’s it. Dude, wore that last pair for a week! He is strong willed, determined, and prefers to do things when he is fully ready. He had to start wearing underwear because that last pull-up got very clumpy from everyday use. It took over an hour for me to convince him to put on the underwear. Sigh.

        Good luck with the potty training!

        Reply
  • April 19, 2015 at 11:33 pm
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    I think you are so right! I made the mistake in the past by buying items that I should have just got from our own kitchen. They like the real thing for sure!!! Such a great post friend! Nicole

    Reply
    • April 20, 2015 at 10:59 am
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      Thank you Nicole, you are very kind. 🙂
      I was thinking about you a lot yesterday – was digging out (trying to) a hole for a tree and was wondering how strong experienced gardeners like you must be. Lol,
      Seriously. =]

      Reply
  • April 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm
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    Πολύ ωραία είναι. Η δική μας είναι πιο μικρή και έχει πιο λίγα πράγματα. Πάντως της αρέσει πολύ.
    Μπράβο για την επιλογή

    Reply
    • April 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm
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      Είπα να πάρω μια και καλή ένα κουζινάκι και να κρατήσει μερικά χρόνια. Για αυτό είναι ψηλούτσικο. Μην ξεχνάς πως ήταν και πάμφθηνο (αλλιώς θα της έφτιαχνα κουζίνα από χαρτόκουτο, χεχε). 😀

      Reply
  • April 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm
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    Absolutely love the way you done the kitchen. She does well with her cooking. Very bright and cheerful.

    Reply

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