My little girl has always loved to bake, so a couple of years ago when I saw this on offer in The Early Learning Centre, I just bought it without a second thought. I knew she would love to use it for role playing, and from what I could see it had all the essential items needed for a little pretend baker in the making.
***What You Get***
* A working food mixer with 2 sets of interchangeable whisks
* Mixing bowl
* Measuring jug
* Clear jug
* Measuring spoons
* Weighing scales with removable bowl
* Bun tray with 4 buns
* Rolling pin
So as you can see, there is a good range of accessories to create the ideal role playing opportunities for your little bakers. All the items are made from good quality plastic and some of them actually resemble the real thing, although I wouldn't trust the plastic bun tray in the oven!
The 4 plastic measuring spoons are practically the same as the ones I use, and I do believe they hold the correct amount as labelled on each spoon. The little yellow measuring jug has markings on the side and it holds up to 200 ml, and these markings are also accurate. I think this adds a really nice touch to the set because it would actually allow the child to use these items in a real situation, if parents were that way inclined. My daughter helps me bake, but she is now old enough (4) to use my equipment successfully without breaking anything. However, a younger child may find it easier to use these smaller measuring items in a 'real life' baking situation.
The weighing scales are also labelled with weights, but I have not tested whether these are accurate because I think it's a bit unstable to be putting things in the bowl, but they do act like a real set of weighing scales, in terms of when you put pressure on the top, the arrow indicator moves around the dial.
The most impressive aspect of this set is the food mixer. It is built like a standard hand food mixer, but just a bit smaller (and a lot more lightweight). It comes on its own stand and you can also remove the actual mixer part from the stand, so it can either be hand held or free standing; the mixer part is hinged so you can move it up and down when you are swapping bowls and jugs about underneath the whisks. It requires 2 x AA batteries (which I don't think were supplied with the set), and these batteries power the whisks, and a little red light on the side (which in all honesty I think is pointless but a very young child may find this useful!). To turn the whisks on you have to first turn a dial on the side of the unit to either manual or auto. If you turn it to auto, the whisks will start turning and not stop until you turn the dial back to off or to manual. When the dial is pointing at manual, you have to press the button on the top to activate the whisks. My daughter uses this setting most often because when she is baking, she can just press the button on the top as she pleases whenever she needs the whisks to turn.
As I said above, the food mixer comes with 2 sets of whisks, and these are really easily removed and replaced. You just pull them out, there is a slight click but it is nothing major and my daughter removes and replaces these whisks with ease. I love this about the toy because sometimes items like this can be really hard for children to use without parental intervention, but this is just right.
I've found that everything in the set is an ideal size for little hands, and my daughter is really comfortable with using all the items because it is all so like the real thing, just a bit smaller.
***Time To Play***
This set is not something that particularly gets played with every day, but it is definitely something that both my children really enjoy when they do play with it, and because there are so many items included they can play together quite happily without too many arguments. It goes nicely alongside their toy kitchen, because once they have done all their baking, the buns can be put into the pretend oven. And once they are baked, they usually have some teddies on hand and their other play food and go onto to have a birthday party or a picnic. So although this is a great set in its own right, it also adds an extra element to other areas of play. My children just love to role play, and they have a lot of 'real world' toys such as a kitchen, shop, food, tea sets, birthday cakes...and when they have all this sort of stuff, the possibilities are truly endless.
The thing about it is that all the equipment that they need is there (even the finished product), apart from the actual ingredients, but my kids just love to pretend, and they make up all sorts of concoctions in their little heads and it is interesting to hear what they think would be a nice cake (strawberry & broccoli cake anyone?) Sometimes they don't use the full set all at once, often they just grab the buns and use them for tea parties, or they'll get the jug and use it for pouring pretend drinks, or the rolling pin will come in handy when they have their play dough out. It really is a very versatile set.
We love this baking set, we've had it since my youngest was 2 years old (although it is not recommended for children under 3 years of age), and my kids are now 4 & 6 and they still get a massive amount of enjoyment from it. It is definitely something that stays with them for a few years at least, and as they grow and learn, the more they will understand about baking and measurements, and so it's also quite educational in that sense.
I would highly recommend this set for boys and girls alike (there are no gender specific colours so it's safe for little boy bakers too!)
Available from ELC for £20.
At a Glance Realistic food mixer and accessories, great for creating recipes and baking your own delicious cakes Features and benefits for ELC Complete Baking Set Realistic food mixer and accessories, great for creating recipes and baking your own delicious cakes.The Complete Baking Set is a collection of fun, bright cookware, perfect for play mixing, whisking, and blending. The working food mixer comes with 13 accessories, including a rolling pin, weighing scale, spatula and measuring jug. It has two modes, manual and automatic, and a red light that comes on when it's whisking. The two whisks are easily detachable, and the mixer as a whole can be either hand-held or stand-alone ? it detaches from its base at the press of a button.Quick facts:??Working food mixer with 13 accessories??Switch on to see the red light??Mixer has automatic and manual modes??Detachable whisks??Set includes kitchen scale, spatula and play cakesGreat for your child's development:The Complete Baking Set is a rich source of ideas for your child's imaginative games. Copying how they've seen Mum and Dad cook at home and adding their own spin helps your child understand what really happens when people cook, and means there's no end of cooking adventures your child can go on, from baking cookies for a teddy tea party to being a TV chef. And pretend baking alongside a friend is a great way for your child to practise their social skills.ELC star quality:We love the Complete Baking Set because it's so realistic, with an electric whisk, rolling pin, measuring jug and other utensils just like the ones we have in the kitchen. So your child's baking play can be as detailed as real cooking ? weighing ingredients, rolling out pastry and turning the delicious cakes out of their tin.What you need to know:Contents: 1 mixer with bowl, 2 whisks, 1 kitchen scale, 1 mixing bowl, 1 cake tray, 4 cakes, 1 measuring cup, 1 rolling pin, 1 spatula and 1 measuring spoon set.Batteries: Requires 2 x AA batteries.Not suitable for children under 3 years.For pretend play only. Do not eat or drink food made in this toy.Playing tips:Mix it upLet's scoop, measure and poor pretend ingredients into the bowl. We can put it in the mixer, pick a whisk and switch it on.Play bakingLet pour the play mixture into the cake moulds. Now we can put them in the play oven to bake.Tea party timeLet's share the play muffins. We can offer them to Mum or Dad, or have a teddies' tea party. We can mix up more cakes whenever we like.Great for:Little hands to stir, whisk and enjoyFun pretend bakingPlay cooking with Mum or DadEnjoying ''real world'' pretend playBoosting confidencePlaying with a friend or by yourself.