“ Brand: ELC / Type: Kitchenwares „
As a mum who likes to cook and make healthy meals for my family my children often see me in the kitchen chopping and cutting lots of different vegetables. As a result of this my two little girls who are 3 and 4 often want to help me cook. Though I do let them help as much a possible some times as all busy mums I do not have the time to let them help me as it seems to take ten times longer.
I thought if I got them some play food to go with their toy kitchen they would leave me alone for 15 mins to let me get on with dinner, after looking around most of the play food on the market is either just one piece or a box/tin. Then I discovered the Early Learning Centres range of food that you can cut up and I they where just the thing I was after. The crate sells for £12
I decided to buy the Early Learning Centre Crate of Vegetables.
What do you get
A very strong green crate which holds all the vegetables I have stood on this crate many a time (not a size 0) and it has never broken, have hurt my foot a few times. I really must tidy up my kids toys more often.
You get 12 vegetables in the set a carrot, a cucumber, a cabbage, an onion, an avocado, an aubergine, a pepper, a tomato, a cauliflower, a corn on the cob and broccoli. The vegetables are very strong once again been stood on a few times and never broke. The vegetables are bright in colour and look like they should do.
With the set you get a plastic knife, which you use to cut the vegetables in to pieces. Each vegetable gets in to 2 or 3 pieces and they join back together. This is done by Velcro and the Velcro does not seem to loose it sticky ness after lots of use.
I really like this set my children play with it loads and give me the time I need to make dinner, it also teaches them hand eye co-ordination and about healthy food .
My toddler daughter loves to cook in the kitchen with me, but there are times when it is just not safe for her to be underneath my feet. Because we have an open plan living area its very difficult to keep her out without some sort of barricade, which never holds up to the might of a determined toddler. So we invested in a toy kitchen from a second hand shop and went looking for bits and pieces that we could buy to make it more interesting for her. Our first step was the Early Learning Centre and this is what we returned with.
Early Learning Centre
The ELC are one of my most trusted retailers of childrens toys. Most of their toys have identified educational value and they keep the noises and flashing lights down to the bare minimum. A trip back to the UK is never complete without a trip to an ELC store (as they dont deliver abroad-aaaarrghhh) and our car or suitcases are usually brimming by the time we get back. Their prices are very reasonable and the quality of the toys is usually superior to other brands - bits are less likely to come off after ten minutes or so!
They say that this toy helps your child enjoy their imagination, helps them learn how to make friends and develops their social skills. Quite a task for a plastic carrot!
The vegetables come very well packaged (a scissors job) in the green plastic crate you can see on the picture. This crate is a nice strong replica of a vegetable display crate and could be used in a play shop or supermarket as well as in the kitchen. We are not quite at that level of imaginative play so we use the crate to store magnetic letters and it works well as a shallow storage box too.
You get 12 plastic vegetables with this set, made of good quality thick plastic. Other sets of plastic fruit and vegetables are made of cheaper plastic with airholes and they bend and break under pressure. I have been responsible for the squashing of more than one plastic banana, but have bruises on my feet from accidentally standing on the potato from this set last night! The vegetables are: a floret of broccoli, a potato, a corn cob, a cauliflower, tomato, pepper, aubergine, avocado, onion, a cabbage, a cucumber and a carrot. Some of these are instantly identifiable as the intended vegetable but I have to admit to being stumped momentarily by the potato and the cabbage. They all have a lovely tactile quality to them, the outer textures have been well replicated and they have a definite pick-me-up-and-use-me quality.
Also included in the set is a chunky grey plastic kitchen knife, just the right size for little hands. As each vegetable is cut in at least two pieces (in the case of the cucumber three pieces), and joined together with strong Velcro circles, the knife is used to sever these bonds and create the impression of chopping and cutting. This has to be my favourite feature of these vegetables and my daughter loves standing at her kitchen chopping her vegetables while I chop mine in my kitchen. Some of these are difficult for little hands to do, I have to help with the broccoli and the cauliflower occasionally, but overall they are a challenge that provides a nice sense of achievement on completion for children of about 2 years old. Older children (the recommended age is 3-8 years) will find more use for these as a part of more advanced imaginative play.
I really like this crate of vegetables, as it is strong and sturdy and likely to last until Olivia has grown out of this stage. It teaches her about the different types of vegetables and has lead on to discussions about healthy eating and living. As she became more comfortable and familiar with these vegetables in her kitchen, she became more likely to eat their edible versions that came out of my kitchen, expanding her palate and her vocabulary at the same time. She also likes the fact that she can create meals for us, albeit inedible plastic, which I feel is setting her up for a longterm healthy relationship with food.
Its interactive quality sets it above similar plastic vegetable sets and whilst they are not quite in proportion to each other and the real article, they are close enough to make it a more realistic experience.
I would definitely recommend these to anyone with a child between the ages of 2 and 8 (although the upper age range is dependent on the interests and character of the child) as these have been one of our best buys for Olivia.
***Price and Stockists***
The ELC are the main stockists of this product. You can buy instore or online (www.elc.co.uk) for £4.95 delivery.
This crate retails at £10.
Plastic crate with 12 cut-and-play vegetables and knife.