Ever since my daughter was small, my husband and I would try and include her in the preparation of our meals. We would hold her as we stir-fried simple foods for dinner, have her stand on a stool by the sink and help us to clean vegetables, have her stand on a stool and watch us chop vegetables, wash rice, or have her help hold the mixer as we made batter for cookies and cakes. She absolutely loves helping in the kitchen, and while sometimes it is more of a chore to have her underfoot, we love that she is interested and engaged and wanting to help.
Perhaps due to this, my daughter has been enamored with kitchens. She LOVES the play kitchen at her daycare and can spend hours prepping food, having the other children “try” her concoctions, and cleaning up. I started to get an inkling of how much she enjoyed them at home when she would play with her stir-fry kit from Melissa & Doug and add her crayons into the bowl to make a “soup”. I find it so interesting to see her make her imaginary food and then have us all try it. It’s incredibly cute and I want to promote her imaginary play as much as possible.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to a friends birthday party and they had the most compact and adorable play kitchen that I’ve seen to date. I loved it immediately because it was simple and compact, but didn’t impede a child’s personality. My daughter was stuck on this thing like a no other. We couldn’t even get her to leave to come out and sing happy birthday to her friend! Instead, she sang as she “cooked” up a concoction. It was ridiculous yet so cute. What really sealed the deal is that shortly after, my daughter had a birthday party and got this great cutting fruit set (shown above) that she kept playing with but had nowhere to put it. I resolved to myself to look for play kitchens for her. The only problem, which is so familiar to anyone living in NYC, is that everything boils down to space. We just didn’t have room for anything very large. While I could have purchased her friend’s kitchen, I just couldn’t bring myself to spring that much money on a play kitchen that I don’t know will get that much use. Also, I just kept looking online and thinking “I could make one of these, why should I buy one?”
So, from my various pinterest and online forays, here are my three favorite play kitchens for compact spaces. Plenty of inspiration to get me started!
Brio Play Kitchen – $120.06
Alex Toys Play Kitchen – $88.00
Corcorico Cardboard Play Kitchen – $27.00