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Who's for dinner ?
Chad Valley 104 Piece Play Food Set
Member Name: thehonesttruth
Chad Valley 104 Piece Play Food Set
Advantages: Large selection of items, no wasteful packaging
Disadvantages: Not of the best quality and durability, water gets in during washing.
My daughter, like many little girls, has a toy kitchen in her bedroom . Her kitchen didn't come with a lot of food when purchased (in fact, although it came with various utensils, the only food included was two portions of chips) so I decided I would top up the food every time I had a spare few quid.
As well as buying a few quality individual items - the sliceable pizza from ELC comes to mind, I also decided to buy a cheap bumper pack of food to bulk it out quite quickly, and paid 9.99 for this 104 piece set from Argos.
Arriving in a sturdy cardboard box (which might be worth retaining for storing the play food if you have nowhere else) the food was then divided into two see through plastic bags. I was glad that this was the extent of the packaging, as many products I have purchased before have been over wrapped, or stuffed with polystyrene beads, resulting in a mess of packaging that then became an issue to recycle. Most of the food is then ready to play with right away, although the cardboard packets do need a little assembly - mainly just slotting tabs into holes, easily doable by an older child, but parents may need to help with younger children. There are 12 such boxes to assemble, and the card is a little thin and flimsy - sensing that these particular items would not last long given the amount of bashing they were likely to recieve from my daughter and her friends, I elected to only construct two of them at a time, replacing them with others as and when needed .
The rest of the set is made of plastic . There was a good mix of items, but I found that the claim to have 104 pieces was a little misleading, as the two part ice creams had each part counted as an item . It's not really like anyone eats the cone just on it's own is it ? Although, the fact that the ice cream itself was seperate did enable it to be served up as scoops in a bowl .
I do feel however, that counting each of the 24 crisps as an individual item was a bit of a cheek . Who eats a single crisp in a sitting ?
The rest is a good mix though - fruit and veg, some tinned goods, a bottle of oil, some cakes, a chicken leg, a burger, pizza , sausages, and something I think is supposed to be meat . Personally, if I were to be really picky, I would have liked a little more variety, and the inclusion of some other foods - fish fingers, perhaps a whole fish, maybe a chicken . But, you get what you pay for at 9.99.
The quality is not great . Whilst other play food sets (admittedly much more expensive) that I have purchased have been solid, and able to withstand toddler bites, being stamped on, being thrown etc, these are made of thin, air filled plastic, and will dent, scratch, and dirty easily. As each of the pieces has a small hole in it, presumably from the moulding process, washing these often leaves a little water inside, which I really dislike as it just seems unhygeinic. In addition, when stood on (as my daughter inevitably leaves all this on her floor) the items just get squished and dented, and no amount of poking and prodding will make them look new again . This has resulted in several items being damaged to the point of uselessness and thrown away .
The cardboard boxed items - cereals and the like - have not stood the test of time, being flattened to within a inch of their lives very quickly . I find the inclusion of these items rather silly if I'm honest - I have plenty of old cereal boxes at home, so why pay for mocked up ones ?
With all my moaning out of the way though, my daughter does enjoy playing with these, cooking up meals with her friends and all pretending to eat them . For sheer bulk of items, this kit is good value for money, and certainly as a started set to go along with a new play kitchen I would recommend it . However, I do think it lacks durability, and damages easily, and if you want a toy that will last for ages, in terms of quality as well as enjoyment of play, I would recommend spending a little more on individual items, and building up your food collection gradually .
4 stars - a good kit, at a good price, but lacking a little in quality .
Summary: Okay as a starter kit, but better quality is out there, for a price
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