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For Christmas this year my eldest son got a lovely little cooker from Father Christmas. He is nearly three years old and in the last year we have noticed how fantastic his imagination is. He has a cheap set of pots and pans he has been using to pretend cook with. He has the frying pan on the imaginary hob and shuffles the pancake in the pan while the soup if bubbling away. So we knew he would absolutely love a cooker for Christmas and we weren't disappointment he was so excited when he opened it all his other toys were pushed to one side.
We live in quite a small house and with two little boys we are pushed for space when it comes to bulky toys. So when I suggested a toy cooker my fiancé wasn't impressed until he saw the compact little thing. This cooker measures in at 49cms in height, 30cms in width and 23.5cms in depth. It is perfect for any small house. Due to the size this isn't a cooker your child stands at they will need to sit on the floor with it or as my son does have it on a table. My son has no problem with this and still gets lots of enjoyment out of it. I love it too as it can be tidied away, perfect for any parent at the end of the day.
Although the cooker is extremely small for a play cooker it doesn't skimp on any detail. The cooker is made from wood; I seem to be a sucker for wooden toys I just feel they are so much nicer looking. The cooker is held together with tiny screws which are visible one of my only faults with this cooker. On the back of the cooker there are nine miniature screws on view which is fine if you have it up against something but in my case we don't always. This doesn't seem to affect my son's enjoyment with it though. The cooker is a lovely pale blue colour. All the colours are nice and pale making it look traditional.
This cooker is basically an oven with a hob above. All the bits are realistic on the cooker which is great for my son as he watches his daddy cook all the time and is quite happy he has the tools like daddy. The oven door drops down to reveal a good size oven for the size of the cooker with one shelf inside. The door has a magnetic catch at the top of the door to hold it closed. The force isn't too strong so any small one could open with ease. The door has a long thin handle across it to open it with. Above the door are four knobs for the hob. These twist round to reveal a red coloured strip above to signify the hobs are on. Making playing that bit more realistic for my son. The hob has four small rings on it, again these look very realistic and the thought has gone into the look of them with the silver strips over them making it look like a gas hob. The splash back has a small strip of checkered in red and yellow like tiles. Above this is a clock face. The clock can be moved round to put whatever time your little one fancies on it. Either side of the clock is two hooks to hold utensils the cooker comes with. On the left hand side of the cooker is a long thin handle like the cooker door to place the oven gloves over. From the first time I saw this in a local wooden toy shop I loved the look of it and my son was instantly attracted to it playing with it (the toy shop encourages the children to have a go with the toys, I not a bad mother honest).
As I have mentioned you do get a small amount of accessories with the cooker which is handy. You get a small saucepan with lid, a frying pan, a ladle, spatula, pizza cutter, wooden spoon, and a small selection of wooden food, a pizza split into six pieces, toppings for the pizza, gingham oven gloves and a tray for the pizza. The tomato is a Velcro cut and plays one and the wooden egg is brilliant. It opens into half to reveal a small felt fried egg! I was a little disappointed with the pizza but then it is a free accessory. All the accessories fit the cooker perfectly.
This cooker is pretty much assembled when it arrives there are just a couple of bits to do. Both handles need screwing in place. We did this on Christmas Eve as the year before we were fed up of all the bits that need assembling on Christmas day. The oven door handle is easy enough to screw on but the handle on the side is more trickery as you have to screw it from inside of the small oven. This is a little difficult and you do need a small handled screwdriver. Apart from that it is already made up.
The cooker is recommended from three years plus which although it doesn't come with any small parts it is wooden and painted. As we have found out from my youngest son who is sixteen months banging it on the floor will course some of the paint to chip.
My son loves his cooker and has played with it every day since he got it. Ask him what his favourite Christmas present was and he will say his cooker. I think it is great for his creative play and I am quite happy for him to play with it all day. The only thing I have tired off is the amount of food he has made us and we must try! But I love to see his enthusiasm for this toy it makes it all worthwhile.
The price of this cooker ranges from shop to shop. In independent shops you will pay as much as £70. Currently (Jan 2011) Amazon has it for a bargain price of £50 which I would say is a great price. The cooker is a lovely little item which does come with a fault or two but for a wooden toy your not paying over the odds.