If I had known how much fun Alexandra was going to have in her kitchen, I would have tried to create this special area for her a lot sooner. Giving up an entire room to create a play area for their children isn’t an option for everyone, but we were lucky enough to be able to do it (although it took a lot of work! see my original post here). The final piece of the puzzle was making room for a play kitchen that Alexandra’s aunt scored off of a Facebook yard sale group for a fraction of the retail price. We had to make room for it, though, which meant giving my mom our sideboard/filing cabinet that I’ve had for 10 years. (Which meant driving my husband insane because he had to figure out how to fit it into our vehicle and get it to NY. LOVE YOU HUBBY!)
The logistics were worth it, though, because this new little area we were able to create for Alexandra was worth every bit of blood (literal), sweat (lots), and tears (oh yeah) that it took.
The seafoam green rack was a rolling storage rack I’ve had since college (eek!) that I spraypainted. It helps to keep a lot of the stuff – particularly her plates, cups, silverware, and baking set from IKEA, neat and tidy, especially when I ask her to help clean up. We also got a set of three storage tins from IKEA that wrangle other bits and bobs.
We absolutely love Melissa & Doug products! We have two of their food sets, as well as their set of pots and pans that were a Christmas gift from my friend Season. Alexandra has enjoyed banging on those for a long time, and now she gets to put them to some use. We also have the fabric fruits and veggies from Ikea.
I asked Alexandra to cook for me, but she informed me she was cooking for Daddy. It appears he’s getting a veggie stew with crushed tomatoes.
All in all, this is the best little kitchen setup I could hope for. I had already done a lot of research on play kitchens as I thought it would make a great gift for her second birthday and this one was on our shortlist. We are so lucky her aunt found this one and bought it for her. It has already provided hours of entertainment. Here are some of our favorite items that made our playroom kitchen space so fun.
KidKraft Vintage Kitchen – White So a little bit more about this kitchen. I can’t say anything about the assembly as we got this all put together, but it had apparently been used for a few years and it has held up beautifully. There are very few scratches and it’s lightweight enough that an adult can move it. A huge plus is the amount of storage it has. All of your kitchenware can easily be put away in the cabinets and refrigerator. The height is perfect for Alexandra (who is 21 months). If your tot is a climber, I would recommend anchoring this to the wall.
Smart Cookie Chef’s Apron Set – 6-piece Kids Chef Hat and Apron with Cooking Accessories This set could not be cuter. I often wear an apron while I cook (because klutz) so it’s yet another way Alexandra gets to mimic me while she learns. She loves using the oven mitt and if I’m in the real kitchen making dinner, she’ll often run to her kitchen and grab it, along with a spoon, to “help” me. I actually ended up using some 3M hooks to the left of the fridge to make a place to hang these. Whenever she’s done playing, she dutifully hangs them up, ready for next time.
Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Pretend Play Kitchen Set for Kids (8 pcs) You might be tempted to cook with these yourself, but don’t! They do, however, go in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. The set used to live in our real kitchen to keep Alexandra occupied while I was cooking. I may or may not have used her colander in a pinch for rinsing herbs. They actually come with an adorable little stand to keep them neat and tidy.
Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Grocery Cans Play Food Kitchen Accessory – 10 Stackable Cans With Removable Lids I cannot say enough about how adorable these cans are! I think what I love most is that they have so many functions. They are colorful, have the picture of the food, and the lettering is big and clear so we have been teaching Alexandra the names of foods along with how to spell them. She loves prying the cans open and hiding things inside as well as throwing these (literally) in her shopping cart.
Melissa & Doug Fridge Groceries Play Food Cartons (8 pcs) – Toy Kitchen Accessories These are absolutely perfect additions to a play fridge. The fact that the cartons open and mimic the look of the ones Alexandra sees in our real fridge is perfect. She actually brought me the OJ container yesterday just before lunch and exclaimed, “JUICE!” and pointed to her cup. The learning goes on and on!
Little Tikes Cozy Shopping Cart We got this super adorable shopping cart as a gift from our friends Corey and Tim for Alexandra’s first birthday. When she was learning to walk, it was super fun to see her throwing her blocks in the cart and going “shopping” in the house for CDs, remote controls, dog toys, etc. Now, it has the very important purpose of actually holding some of the food for her kitchen. Invariably, one of her dolls always goes for a ride. Again, this makes cleanup super fun because she loves pushing the cart around.