“ Brand: Belling / Type: Kitchen playset „
I was looking for a kichen for my daughter when we saw the Belling foldaway kitchen on offer at half price. We thought this would be a great toy to have as she could then take it to her grandparents and play with it there as well as being able to store it easily in the house. We bought this for my daughter when she was 17 months old.
The Belling Foldaway Kitchen comes in a cardboard box that is slightly bigger than the folded up kitchen. The reason for the extra space is that it also comes with a kettle and toaster which don't fit in it when folded up. The kitchen was already folded up in the box and so came out very easily with the instructions for creating it. This did take quite a bit of time. If you have an impatient child, or you are slow at this sort of thing, you'll want to have it set up in advance as it took my husband about 15 minutes to get it all sorted.
---The features of the toy:
Once put up, the kitchen has an oven with downward open door and a shelf inside. On top there are two hobs with turning dials to simulate them being on or off. To the right of the hobs is a sink area with a tap that can be pushed down as if to turn it on. Above the hob is a shelf with hooks underneath it where you can hang the utensils. The whole unit comes with 2 sets of knives, forks, spoon,s cups and plates as well as a salt and pepper pot, spatula, large spoon, frying pan and pot with lid. There is also some food including an egg, potato, chicken, beef burger and veg. There is space to the left of the hob for the kettle and toaster to go as well.
The kitchen also has sound effects so when switched on (which is done from inside the oven once it's been erected), you can turn two of the dials on the front to turn on the sound efects for one of the hobs and the oven. They will ask 'what are you cooking today?' and 'do you want to fry an egg?' etc. The hob also lights up when switched on.
The kitchen came with a toaster which you can put the pieces of bread in and push them down like a real toaster; then after about 15 seconds, they pop back up again which my daughter loves! The kettle also has a switch on the side like a real one which makes a noise as it flips back up.
My daughter was trying to play with this before we even got it out of the box as it had a demo mode on it. It was quite simple to put up although not so easy with an excited child trying to play with it at the same time. My daughter really loved this once it was up and started playing with it straight away. She likes putting the food (and anything else that's lying around) into the pots and putting them in the oven and then using the kettle to make a cup of tea for her and then for us. She will press the button on the tap to pretend to get water out and will use the cutlery or put it in the oven which she is easily able to open and close. She is able to turn the dials and loves it when the unit talks to her or makes sounds although I don't think she's yet worked out what causes it. She is also fascinated by the toaster and thinks it's really funny when the toast pops out on it's own. The only thing she struggles with is pushing the button down on the kettle as it is quite stiff and she gets frustrated with this.
I was very excited when we first got this kitchen and put it up as it seemed a perfect size and my daughter enjoyed playing with it. Unfortunately, we did find a few issues with it. The first of these was the stability of it. When it was freestanding in the middle of the room, I did notice that when she closed the oven door, the whole unit moved and if she walked into it, it was a bit wobbly. Putting it up against a wall sdefinitely made it better. Another issue with it it is's durability. My daughter always tries to climb on everything and when the oven door is open she tries to stand on that and I have to be really careful as she would easily break it if she managed it. Also the shelf that goes in the oven bends a lot when she puts the pot with the food in it on to the shelf.
My last and biggest issue is that it is very hard to fold the unit away again. you have to basically take the whole thing apart and we found it very hard to get it all back into the base that it came out of. You also can't fit the kettle or toaster in the base so these have to go separately. The whole reason I wanted this one was so that it would be portable and I feel it really lets me down on this point.
Although this has a lot of good points for my daughter as she is learning fine motor skills turning the dials and taking utensils from the hooks and learning imaginative play; I would not recommend this kitchen as a first choice. The retail price is around £30 although I think I got it cheaper than this, but there are others I would now prefer to try. If you are going to leave it up the whole time and are looking for something relatively cheap then I would get this, otherwise I think I would try a different brand.