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For Christmas, we decided to give our two youngest children (aged 2 years 7 months and 16 months at the time) a play kitchen. My eldest (aged 8) had one when he was a toddler but it was a cheap plastic version which easily came apart and was very flimsy. After some searching we finally bought this red retro style, wooden kitchen. I wanted a wooden one as all the kitchens I have seen at playgroups have been made of wood and considering the amount of use they have they always seem to withstand it and stay looking good.
It arrived flatpacked and was very heavy. My Mum & Dad kindly offered to have it at their house so we could hide it and my lovely Dad built it, with a little help from yours truly. This was a blessing, we didn't have to spend Christmas day building it and there were many, many parts! It took my experienced Dad (he fits normal sized kitchens for a living) about three hours to complete. All parts have little numbered stickers on them which correspond perfectly to the instructions. There was also a shrink wrapped fixings pack included containing all screws, hinges and the all important alun key. A screwdriver is also needed for the hinges.
The main body is wooden, with all wooden pieces finished in a bright, glossy red except for the oven shelf which is in silver. The feet, handles, phone, sink and cooker knobs are silver plastic and the tap and end bar are chrome. There are no stickers, the details look like they have been transferred on. When built, it stands 90cm high, 83cm wide and 29cm deep so it is a large toy. The plus side is that it is comfortably big enough for two children to play with together which is what we wanted it for and also all the cupboards on it are a decent enough size to store any other toys you may buy to accompany it. I also usually find teddy bears, cars, dolls etc stashed away in there too! There was also a metal pan, a ladle and a red and white striped apron included. Kidcraft do sell other accessories seperately, take a look at the website for more details (www.kidcraft.com), but I've found that most of the other makes go just as well, such as Melissa & Doug and Bigjigs although a baking tray we have is too long for the oven by an inch.
When Logan and Ruby uncovered (I cheated and put a sheet over it rather than wrapping paper!) the kitchen it was an immediate hit. Over eight months later and it is still played with daily, maybe more now than at the beginning as Ruby is getting older. We have had problems with it however, all the cupboard doors have loosened, the screws just loosen from the hinges no matter how hard we tighten them. All the doors have catches so when the doors loosen they aren't aligned which frustrates my children as they can't shut the doors. My two were on the younger end so they don't really have the strength to cause too much damage. I did email Kidcraft about the problem, but after a couple of weeks and no reply my dad changed the hinges to slightly larger ones and added a bit of wood glue to the screw holes and we haven't had a problem since. I did get a reply from the company not long after, asking for photos and telling me they had never had a problem before. I had to leave it there, as we had fixed it and I hadn't taken any photos when it was broken.
Apart from that, the kitchen still looks good. It's easy to clean, I usually just give it a dust over, but it has had to be washed down a few times when the kids have got play & reality confused, I often find half eaten apples and grapes in one cupboard or another! My daughter recently had her second birthday and it was so cute watching her copy me 'making a cake' I was quite impressed as the plastic sink is removable, so she was using that as her mixing bowl. That part has got quite a few scratches on it, but I expect wear and tear like that with the use it gets. The apron that was included had been put away though, at the moment it is too big for my two and they trip over it, I'd say it would fit age 5+.
We paid £126 for the kitchen last November from Amazon, but I had been watching it for a while, saving my vouchers from Dooyoo and it had previously been £175. Even though we have had problems I would still recommend it because 1. I seem to be the only person who has had a problem, 2. the problem was easily and inexpensively fixed and 3. my kids and their friends just love it. I know it has plenty of years of play left and there are so many lovely items you can buy to accompany it such as pizzas, birthday cakes, eggs & milk etc. It's great for their imagination and it encourages them to play nicely together.
Has anyone else noticed that their boy has been quicker to play with a toy kitchen than a little girl? If so this might be an ideal kitchen for your child.
I had spotted a similar kitchen to this one in the Early Learning Centre for around £130, so when i spotted this one at £90 in Costco i knew i could not turn it down, so Santa brought it for my children last christmas. It is currently available online for around the £130 mark if you shop around.
Why do i like it?
Well, for a start, i feel it is quite a unisex purchase. Some kitchens seem totally aimed at girls or boys through their colour, but this seems to have universal appeal with the contempory red design. Also, when i started looking for a kitchen for them, i knew i wanted a wooden design, and not some plastic flimsy thing.
This design has a fridge freezer section, including what looks like a water/ice dispenser on American style fridges. It also has a microwave which has a silver turntabler, and an open display cupboard at the top of the structure.
The main part has a cupboard under a sink. The bowl of the sink is removable. There is then a cooker section which has rings on a hob, and a shelf in the oven to divide it into 2 sections. The oven has dials which turn around and click to look totally realistic.
The set came with a little pan and a silver utensil, plus a red apron for the child to wear.
The set came in box, which we hid until Christmas eve. It was quite a large box and weighed approximately 23kg. The dimensions of the kitchen when built are:
L 83cm x W 29cm x H 90 cm
My husband became a bit frustrated when assembling this, as it was in a lot of parts, and although he has an engineering degree it did take him about 3 hours in total to assemble. This is a big downside to the kit.
We all however, really love the kit once assembled. It is first of all a beautiful toy that looks really realistic. We have got other fruit/veg/pans from other sources that add to the role play, and i made some apron, oven gloves and tea towels to go with it to expand it.
It does take up a lot of room. Out house is a 3 bed semi. We dedicated the box room as a play room and it takes up about 3/4 of one wall, so you need to make sure you have room for it if you buy it.
The kids always want to play with it. It hasn't been put aside like some of the other toys, so i am quite happy to have spent so many pennies on it.
I would like to think it came with some more accessories, as i am sure that it is more popular from having extra food and pots/pans.
A lovely toy for your favourite boy or girl. Suitable between approximately 18 months and 5 years old.