I've been meaning to post about our wooden play kitchen for a while now.
We love it.
It was a joint gift to my 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl when they had birthdays over the summer. I deliberated and saved up quite a while before purchasing it. The grandparents contributed. I think I finally was galvanized to buy it when I read about and saw the picture of Soule Mama's wooden play kitchen in her book The Creative Family. It is the centerpiece of our play room. A constant favorite for our kids as well as their friends.
I shopped around a while before finally purchasing our wooden play kitchen from Heirloom Wooden Toys. There are a few cheaper wood play kitchens out there, but I wanted one made of all or almost all solid hardwood (not plywood or particle board). Also, many mass-market wood play kitchens had pretty mediocre user reviews (flimsy, poorly made, pieces don't fit well together, etc.). Our exact model of play kitchen is no longer available, but I also considered purchasing this wooden play kitchen by Willow Toys, which is very similar to ours and 100% solid wood, which I'm sure we also would have loved. If you want a wooden play kitchen with a hutch (shelf above), consider this one, this one, or this one. So many great options!
For us, it was a big-ticket item, but since I purchased it, I've seen several plastic kitchens that cost even more, and don't have any of the quality, aesthetic appeal, and open-ended charm of our wooden play kitchen. It's true you can often find plastic play kitchens at garage sales or on Craig's List for next to nothing, but I personally think most plastic play kitchens look kind of grimy after 6 months, and I also really didn't want to bring an additional 10 pounds of plastic, used or new, into our play room.
Heirloom Wooden Toys also has a lot of great play food and play kitchen accessories. I reviewed one set by Plan Toys in this post. I favor the wooden and fabric variety, particularly because my children tend to put play food right in their mouths, despite my many admonitions not to ("Just pretend to eat it!"). Heirloom Wooden Toys currently has a coupon for 15% off everything in their warehouse, including lots of play food and kitchen accessories (coupon code LASTMIN2011, good through December 22).
To keep our play kitchen always exciting, I rotate our play food and play dishes every couple of months (when I rotate most of my kids' toys). I plan to post all about our favorite play food and kitchen accessories in a few days.
What is your child's favorite toy for pretend play?
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Heirloom Wooden Toys and receive a small percentage of purchases made via links in this post. I purchased our wooden play kitchen from Heirloom Wooden Toys with my own money and received no compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.