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After watching my son play happily everyweek with the toy kitchen at playgroup I knew he would enjoy one at home, after days of searching the web I decided on the Little Tikes side by side kitchen. When i purchased this in Nov 09 it was selling for £49.99 half its RRP in Toys r us. The main reason I picked this kitchen out of the many available on the market was because it looked very sturdy and durable, my son has just turned 2 and is like a bull in a china shop with most of his toys so I needed this to be able to take his rough play without braking! When this was delivered it came in a fairly large box and was in a few pieces inside complete with instructions which might aswell been wrote in a different language as I found them rather hard to follow and a screw driver to assemble, once I got it fitted together it also needed its stickers put on. It definatly is well made my son can lean against it without it tipping or wobbling over, it has came with a tea towel, a phone and enough plates and food to get any little one started. It takes 3 AA batteries to make the on top cooker make cooking noises, for the money this is retailing at I would of expected the phone to have made a noise aswell? There is not alot of room for storage, the fridge and cooker inside arent very big so the food and plates etc has to be stored seperatly. All in all, I would reccommend this toy at the price I paid but I wouldnt say it was worth its full price of £100, it is perfect for little ones getting started, like I said my son is not very gentle and its standing up well to his play.
My twin sons turned 3 in November, and ever since starting playgroup back in January they have absolutely loved any type of roleplay toys, especially kitchens, hoovers and prams so one of their main presents for their birthday had to be a kitchen. My mum and I browsed online as it was her who was buying it for them to find the perfect kitchen and we came across the Little Tikes Side By Side kitchen which is suitable for children aged 3 years plus. We knew it was right for the twins as it is named 'side by side' kitchen and on the toys r us website it pictures two children playing either side of it. This was a Huge factor when trying to find a kitchen as I needed one that was not too big but large enough to accomodate two children playing with it at the same time with a bit of room as I knew my boys would definitely play with it together most of the time. This for us was a winner without even reading anything else, also it is a Little Tikes product which is a reputable brand when it comes to children's toys. This particular kitchen is priced at £99.99 but we were lucky enough to buy it on offer for £49.99 (November 2010). I could see on the picture shown on the website the design of the kitchen and it resembled a kitchen brilliantly which is just what I wanted. The kitchen comes in many pieces in a large cardboard box, which also includes well needed instructions. You also need a screwdriver to help put some parts together securely, and this doesn't come included I'm afraid. Two people are definitely needed to put the kitchen together as it can take quite a while, some parts are quite fiddly and others are too bulky for just one person. Each piece just clicks into a place, but to ensure the kitchen is safe and sturdy this is where the screw driver comes in. The screws which come with the kitchen have to tighten the larger parts together, creating a strong and safe plastic kitchen. Although the kitchen is plastic, and surprisingly light, it is a brilliant quality. It is a thick, durable plastic, one which I find is easily recognised as a Little Tikes plastic as so many of their toys and products are made of the same material, hence the good reputation! Once put together, the assembly doesn't stop there as there are stickers provided to finish off the overall look of the kitchen making it even more realistic for a child. The kitchen is a perfect size for young children, especially the age range it is reccomended for. The actual dimensions, provided by the Toys R Us website are 73.7 (l) x 35.6 (w) x 98.1 (h) cm. Everything is in easy reach, acceptable height and there isn't too much travel to do to get to other side of the kitchen. In fact the kitchen is fairly compact yet it has quite a bit too offer. Not only does the kitchen look the part, especially with the finishing touches from the stickers creating a 'window scenery' and the making the hobs look a bit more real but it works like a proper kitchen too. With a cordless phone attached to the one side one child can call their playmate who's cooking on the hob on the other side of the kitchen, only to ask him/her to take the chicken out of the oven, situated beneath the hob. Of course this cooked food has to be plated up and luckily there is a cupboard over the other side of the kitchen which can hold plates or cups. Once your lovely, plastic meal is finished with your child/ren can then wash up in the sink, make sure they fill it up with the tap though. The towel situated on the towel bar at the front of the kitchen can help with drying them dishes up too. If of course it's too early to be playing like this it's a good job there is a built in coffee machine on the kitchen work top which has a coffee jug underneath it, for good, quick coffee making. As you can see this kitchen, despite it being somewhat small and compact, especially for it's original price tag has it all, it even has realistic 'oven' and hob sounds, such as boiling water on the hob just to make the role play for a child even more exciting and imaginative. The kitchen work top is modern and trendy with a what's described as a 'Faux-granite' finish. The kitchen not only offers plenty of play and imagination but it comes with accessories to help too. Such as the towel I've already mentioned, the coffee jug, a frying pan, cups, plates and cutlery and a few bits of food. There isn't loads of accessories but what is provided is again good quality plastic, strong and durable, and enough to get any child started. Since November this kitchen has been played with every single day, it has cooked many play meals for me, and I just can't get away from the chores because the twins even have me washing up in this kitchen too lol! I know I've mentioned twice about the kitchen being quite small really for the price yet at the same time it is big enough for my two 3 year olds to play comfortably and enjoy each aspect of the kitchen in their imaginative role playing games without any squabbling or fighting. I would certainly reccomend this kitchen to anybody looking to purchase one for their child/ren. Although I think the original price tag is a bit hefty, if you can find this on offer it is definitely worth it. It offers a lot of fun and play which is what all children enjoy.