Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... which when depressed by a saucepan being on top makes a sizzling noise. To one side of the hob is a deep fat fryer with a removable tray,... more
Sizzle, Boil and Fry
ELC Sizzlin' Kitchen
Member Name: t4mof
ELC Sizzlin' Kitchen
Date: 28/02/05, updated on 13/04/05 (2142 review reads)
Advantages: Good range of extras, appeals to children of varying ages
Disadvantages: Children can take out the "sizzling" part and drop other toys into the gap
After much browsing through catalogues to see what was available we decided to plump for the Early Learning Centre Sizzling Kitchen. We purchased it from the Early Learning Centre at the Meadowhall branch in Sheffield. We had seen a display model set up and were impressed with the toy.
It stands approximately 4 feet high and working from the top down it has a plate rack, two circular shelves, utensil storage, a sink area, the sizzling cooker, a deep frying area to make chips, a pull out “breakfast” table, a towel rail (or useful handle for moving the kitchen about!), two towel hooks, a dishwasher and an oven. The kitchen has 4 feet lifting the base off the ground. I felt that it came with a good selection of “extras”. These included 4 plates – 2 red, 2 orange – 3 cooking pots – a pressure cooker, frying pan and pan, the obligatory plastic food – a pepper, a couple of eggs, chips, a tomato, carrot and sausages – 4 egg cups, a salt and pepper pot and several knives, forks and serving utensils.
The kitchen itself is colourful and attractive, although I believe the exact colour you get is by pure chance as they seem to make several different versions and of course they are all boxed up.
It does require self-assembly but it is very simple to put together, each part fitting perfectly. It is a very well made toy and has lasted well so far. I also expect it to last for many years to come. As with all these types of toys there are the stickers to carefully place to finish off the look.
So, how does it stimulate and encourage imaginative play? Well of course, the main feature of this kitchen is its sound effects. But there isn’t just one sound effect for cooking. There are 3 different sounds the kitchen makes depending on which pan is placed on the stove. The frying pan makes sizzling sounds, the pressure cooker bubbles and hisses when finished and the pan boils and then beeps to tell you that your food is ready. Each pan has a different circumference which presses down a different button on the stove, hence the different sounds. It’s all clever stuff. But I actually do think this feature makes it stand out from other kitchens I have seen as it encourages children to understand which pan makes which sound. And another plus point is that the sound effects aren’t too loud and don’t go on forever. After a few seconds it makes a noise to tell you the cooking has finished and is then quiet. A blessing for parents (until your little one decides it would be fun to imitate the sounds!). The worst part of it is that the part that makes the noise can be removed leaving a large hole for little hands to put all the plastic food down. All the food then collects inside the kitchen only to fall out the bottom when it is moved.
The doors to the dishwasher and oven open so your budding chef can put his casserole onto the tray to cook and then put his dirty pots and pans into the dishwasher, with which a rack is provided. Or, if he so chooses, he can use the sink to wash smaller items. The oven and dishwasher both have knobs that click as they turn.
And just in case Jamie Oliver II needs some inspiration in the kitchen, it comes complete with recipe book. Although, don’t get excited. It comes with 6 pages packed full of recipes – except there are actually 3 recipes – page 1 is in English, page 2 is in Dutch, page 3 is in French… you get the picture. It’s quite a nice addition though, especially if you’ve got children who might be just starting to read. The three recipes use the ingredients that are provided with the kitchen so everything is to hand.
In summary, I feel that the Early Learning Centre Sizzling Kitchen is an excellent buy. The purchase price is still £50 as it was when we bought it back in 2003 although the ELC had a sale on when we were buying and it was reduced to £40. The recommended age is 3+, however Jacob has been playing with this since he was 20 months old and I never had any worries with him playing with it. There aren’t any tiny pieces that a younger child than 3 may choke on. The only problem was the height at first as Jacob struggled to reach the plates in the plate rack at the top. But this was only for a short time and he soon grew and can now use the kitchen fully.
I think the age is there as a guideline for children to get the most out of the toy. Since Jacob has got older he plays with the kitchen in a much more imaginative way - waiting for food to cook, preparing 3 course meals and doing the washing up. When he was very young he would just shove anything into the dishwasher or oven. One word of caution, the kitchen easily tips if you have younger children in the house who use anything to stand up against, as we have recently discovered!
So all in all a good value toy and something that is still one of the favourite toys in our house over 2 years after buying it.
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