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I thought it would be a great idea to write some reviews for the presents we bought for my son last year for any parents or others who are looking to buy presents for children and are unsure of what to buy ;). Last year my son was two months away from turning two and I decided that he was old enough to use and enjoy a toy kitchen. My in-laws then bought this kitchen from Tesco and kept it at their house where my son goes every weekend to play with cousins and he fell in love with it!
I went to Tesco a month before Christmas and managed to get this kitchen for around £18 or so in their sale and was very chuffed with myself - points mean ClubCard prizes and every little helps, after all ;). I was a little daunted with the task of wrapping this toy as it was in quite a large oblong box so my husband suggested we simply set it up on Christmas Eve and stick it in the corner, ready for it's big reveal on Christmas morning.
Upon opening the box we had to assemble the kitchen ourselves, which is fine. It was a case of slotting the right parts into the right slots - technical, I know, but this step wasn't overly complicated or difficult. Once it was set up we then attempted to 'pack it away' into a carry case that is part of the design of the kitchen, with the handle discreetly placed on the bottom of the kitchen cooker. This was a complete faff! It should be a case of fold here, here and here but it was more a case of going on a wild goose chase with the instructions. Eventually my husband did manage to fold it down into a carry case but I couldn't tell you HOW he did it as the whole thing annoyed me too much. As it goes I don't see any need to pack it up and use it as a carry case because well it's not going anywhere and if I need to ever pack it up for storage then I'm sure I'll work out how to fold it all up but as it was just going to be permanently set up for my son to play with this isn't a necessity for us.
Once assembled and put into the corner for Christmas Day (though left neglected until Boxing Day and we'd worked our way to the kitchen over the mountain of other gifts given by family and friends) the kitchen looked a treat. It stands about the same height as my son, with everything at his level so he can play with the tap (not working, obviously), sink, hob and cooker. The tap is removable and comes off pretty easily but is also quite sturdy and won't sustain any damage unless you have a herd of elephants coming to play ;). The sink is just a shallow pretend play feature on the kitchen and works as a nice place to dump the plates, cups, pots, pans, utensils and plastic cutlery that come with the kitchen for 'washing up' pretend play. The hob sits above the cooker/oven and has two hot plates that light up and say various phrases as well as making cooking noises. For this to work you'll need two AA batteries - it doesn't eat up a lot of the battery power but it does get annoying! The hob also has a 4 dial feature that kids will have a bit of fun with, I imagine. The cooker/oven is brilliant, with a removable grill tray and one slot where the grill can sit in. My son has a lot of fun taking this in and out as well as 'cooking' the various plastic bits of food that came with the kitchen and sometimes I'm served up roast chicken, a cooked egg or fried lettuce ;) - I just never know what's coming next!
There are also little hooks for the utensils and cutlery to sit on, just above the hob, and the hooks sit on the side of a shelf where the grey plastic cups can be kept. With this kitchen we also got a few bits and bobs like a kettle that 'boils down' and a toaster with two slices of 'toast' that pop up and out of the toaster...though for the life of me one of the bits of 'toast' has seemed to have gone missing and I have no idea where my son might have stashed it! So they're hardly the biggest or best bits of pretend food, but they do. I'd suggest supplementing what you get with the kitchen with some little pretend play food from ELC or even Tesco because you only get a few bits and bobs with this kitchen. Also supplied with the kitchen were the Zanussi brand stickers so you *could* leave these off if you're not a fan of branding. Usually I'm not but it didn't bother me to slap on a few stickers here and there showing off the brand - after all we're only playing indoors with it and I do like the 'mini me' novelty of this kitchen with the brand stickers on ;).
So...what about quality? The whole thing is made from a durable hard lasting plastic that has yet to show signs of wear and tear on our end after a year of heavy playing, bashing into, knocking down, throwing around and sitting out. In fact this toy looks as good as the day we set it up in our living room so I really have no bone of contention with the quality or build of this toy.
The kitchen itself is a gender neutral mix of greys, dark greys and yellow and the utensils and such follow suit in the colour coding so this could be a present for a boy or a girl as well as something you can keep for a younger boy or girl sibling to inherit. Overall I'd say it was a great gift - an under £30 gift, which is ideal as a main present supplemented with other little things or as a gift to a friend's child or a wee family member. My son loved - and still loves - it as a gift and I found it entirely suitable for his age group but if I were buying it for someone else I'd say the suitable age group would be 18 months to 5 years, depending on the child and what their interests are. The noises get annoying but the batteries can be taken out so this shouldn't ever really be a huge deal and it *is* fiddly to pack up into a carry case, however the pros of the dials on the hob, the cooker/oven and the many hours of fun your child/intended recipient of the gift, plus the decent and fair quality of the product, far outweigh the minor cons of this toy kitchen and on that basis I would highly recommend this.
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and nearly 2 years old - I am always on the look out for toy ideas that they can play with together. This isn't as easy as it sounds! Generally my eldest likes to play with toys that have a million small parts, and my youngest likes to eat and lose them! One thing they both agree on though is the range of plastic and wooden food that we have and the tea set accessories to go with them. To add to this set we bought my youngest the Zanussi Pack Away Kitchen playset for Christmas.
We managed to pick this up half price at Tesco for about £30, which didn't seem too bad at all. It comprises a kitchen playset with oven, hot plate, hobs and sink. Also with our set came a kettle and a toaster. As well as these items, also included were some accessories for the set - saucepans, lids, some plastic food, cutlery and salt and pepper shakers (which make a pleasing rattling sound when shook).
The kitchen unit has some good sound effects and spoken phrases to enhance the role play experience - depending on which saucepan you place on the hob it determines whether you are frying an egg in a frying pan or cooking some soup in a saucepan, and makes the appropriate noises. When the oven door is closed it makes a clicking sound and the voice says "shall we roast a chicken" or some other related phrase.
There is a switch inside the unit that I assume determines the volume and on/off, but I am afraid we never worked out how to turn ours down - it really is rather loud!
The kettle that came with the set has a mechanical switch on the top to make it sound vaguely like it is boiling. The toaster that also came has 2 slices of pretend toast which "pop" out of the toaster when done. Both of these items are fairly basic but serve the purpose, especially when you are two!
The quality of the pans and accessories is good and they feel quite robust. The kitchen unit itself doesn't feel all that stable, so probably not ideal if your little one isn't that stable on their feet yet - I am sure it might topple quite easily if leant on in the wrong way.
The kitchen all dismantles and packs away into itself for a handy means of storage and transportation - ideal for taking to nanny's I imagine for a long weekend!
All in all the quality isn't too bad, the role play potential is quite good and the accessories are fun. However the stability of the unit could be better and the sound effects really are quite loud. Good value for the money and hours of pay opportunities to be had.
Assembled Dimension Units cm
Assembled Dimension Depth 34
Assembled Dimension Height 92
Assembled Dimension Width 56
Assembled Weight Units kg
Assembled Weight 2.5
Batteries Included Yes
Battery Type 2 AA
Colours and Styles May Vary Yes
Electronic Features Sounds
Number of Batteries Required 1
Power Source Battery only
Product Weight Units kg
Product Depth 35 cm
Product Height 56 cm
Product Width 14 cm